Privacy and Tips

With increasing reports about security vulnerabilities in cell phones and other mobile devices, mobile carriers are releasing new devices with extra privacy features built-in and ready to use. However, because of the awareness of vulnerabilities that has been available to the public for so long, there’s no need to get rid of your current phone as precautions can be taken to step up the privacy on your current Android, iPhone or Windows phone.

iStock_000027999374_SmallPasswords

Password protecting your phone may take longer to unlock every time you need to answer a text message, but the increased security will keep other people from accessing the contents of your phone. Given today’s model phones, the possibilities for various passwords are almost unlimited, spanning across PIN number access, pattern unlock codes and character passwords. Even things such as Facial Recognition or iPhone’s Fingerprint Scan can prove to keep the security on your device protected.

Encryption

When your device encrypts its contents, all of the information is coded and scrambled so that, without a master password, remains unrecognizable by someone attempting to steal sensitive information. Fortunately, an iPhone and iPad will encrypt the contents held on it with a provided PIN number. This is still something that can be accomplished with an Android phone but requires some extra steps to do. Navigate to Settings, then Security and select “Encrypt Phone”. You will then be asked to enter a six-digit passcode, taking around an hour for the encryption setup process to complete.

Technology in the handsNetworking

There are many ways your mobile device could be vulnerable when connected to the Internet. However, with a few added precautions and attention to small detail, your device and identity can remain safe and anonymous. Most mobile device users can’t help but get excited when the “Open WiFi Network” notification comes across their device’s screen. Without thinking about it, they connect to it and start browsing without thinking about the possibility that another user could potentially access their device and steal or view sensitive information.

One of the best ways to remain anonymous and guard against this risk is by using a VPN (Virtual Private Network). They are relatively easy to set up and information can be found in many places online. A VPN keeps your online activities blocked from others who may be trying to break into someone’s system and can even reroute where your activities are coming from, keeping highly experienced hackers from figuring out who you are.

The second is to turn off network connectivity on GPS, Bluetooth, WiFi and Cellular Data when not in use. Not only does keeping one or any combination of these turned on drain your device’s battery, but it allows malicious apps, bugs or thieves to have a bigger opportunity in accessing sensitive data on your device or even seeing where you’re located at that point in time!

Software

Countless downloads within the iPhone App Store and Android Play Store occur each day. Though these companies that provide our mobile devices also monitor who publishes what to these marketplaces, it seems that each year a new virus or security threat to these devices is released. The best way to guard against this and more is by following phone users best practices (LINK TO PHONE USERS BEST PRACTICES) and only downloading “trusted apps” and utilities from the App Store and Play Store. It’s always convenient and preferred to have access to free apps, but each app used on your device requires certain permissions from your mobile device in order to function as intended.