Posted by Admin on June 19, 2016
With technology rapidly advancing every single year, it is becoming harder than ever to keep our details safe on devices connected to Internet. Even today, Verizon reported a massive data breach whereby 1.5 million customer's information was stolen. Also today, our beloved Google patched 4 vulnerabilities that were exploited by exploiters to take over computers. Google Chrome version 49.0.2623.108 is the latest patched version so you must update to it if you have not done so, already. The increase in popularity of both iPhones and Androids mean that our mobile devices are now used for more than just phone calls and text messages. The app market is now more expansive than ever before meaning that we can shop, bank, and complete many other tasks no matter where we are in the world. The following is our follow-up to the popular 8 expert cell phone security tips we posted earlier.
Although this is fantastic news as far as efficiency goes, it also means that the security risks are high and the shocking truth is; there are more pieces of malware being created with every passing day. The iPhone has long had the upper hand over Android as they have placed intense focus on exactly what apps make it to their store; something that Android doesn't do quite as well. Secondly, Apple being the manufacturer or the hardware and the creator of the software running on it, sandboxes apps to not be able to access other parts of the phone software and data than the areas the app has been authorized to access to perform its function.
However, creators of malware are starting to focus their attentions on mobile because they know just how many people they can target. According to a recent survey, nearly 95% of all Americans use either an iPhone or an Android device. Just recently, WireLurker, a dangerous piece of malware for iOS devices, was found attacking devices in an attempt to skim important information, send spam emails or even to freeze the phone completely until a fee is paid. With so much crucial data stuck in these phones and computers, many pay the price to get it back because the loss may be priceless!
As these sorts of dangerous attacks could affect a high percentage of the population, we have some top tips to ensure that your vital information, such as card numbers, doesn't end up in the wrong hands. Following these simple tips will allow you to stay as safe as possible online whether you bank, shop, or complete any other activity.
You may currently see a password as a bit of a hassle if no-one is likely to look at your phone but it serves a more important purpose than to just stop your kids from spending all your money on the new must-have app. A password will stop the possibility of someone installing spyware onto your device. Once installed, spyware can easily track your phone calls, text messages and even your media such as photos and videos. Of all the phones scanned in the US last year, 0.24% of people had spyware that was targeting them specifically. Although this percentage may seem relatively small, it is still a significant amount of people considering just how many people are using smartphones nowadays.
Another point to consider when deciding whether to set a password or not is if you were to lose your phone. Without a password, whoever ends up with your device will have access to almost everything with a quick swipe on the screen. When deciding on a password, try not to use something simple like 1111 or 0000! You need to make it nearly impossible for anyone to gain access so choose a mix of numbers that mean something to you so you won’t forget.
How great is it that we can now look after our bank accounts and buy products online with a simple tap on the screen? Fantastic, but this also comes with a risk. Firstly, if you're banking at all, you should be using the bank's official app as this provides the best security. Apps are encrypted and will protect your information. It also saves you clicking on a potentially "fake" link when on a browser. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is to log out of whatever you use, whenever you are finished, as this will immediately cut the possibility of any hacker accessing your financial information. Although it may seem annoying to constantly type in your password, those few seconds each time could save you a lot of problems in the future.
Public Wi-Fi is fantastic if you are out and about and need to access the internet for something urgently, but you should always be careful and choose one that has a password. A password means that the network is secured and hackers will not be able to view web traffic, passwords, emails etc. If you're in a public place like a cafe or restaurant and the Wi-Fi is asking for a password, an employee will happily give it to you if it is for public use. You can stay safe in the knowledge that you are using a secure connection.
If you simply cannot avoid an unsecured network (if you go travelling, for example), there are encryption apps available, such as "Freedome", which will help to keep you safe.
The app market is dense with music apps, gaming apps, fitness apps, and the list goes on. You will also find security apps like "Lookout" and "Avast Free Mobile Security". Whether you think you have a harmful app or whether you just want to check the health of your device in general, using one of these apps will allow you to do so and can provide peace of mind. Be sure to check and confirm they have a lot of reviews (especially positive reviews).
Security apps now do more than just scan apps though, you can also find your device when lost, set an alarm or message if somebody finds it and even back up or delete important information online. This means that if your phone does end up in the wrong hands, they will find nothing but a blank phone reverted back to factory settings.
Whilst Apple is quite good with checking the apps that get onto the store, Android have been criticized in the past for a lack of strict control and this can lead to adware on your device. We sometimes scan the store looking for a new game or a flashy new app and proceed to download it without knowing that we're also downloading adware at the same time. The most common way this is conducted is through advertisements. Those innocent looking ads could actually land you in a world of trouble.
For this reason, it is wise to read through exactly what the app is requesting from you in the shape of "permissions". If you find a clone of a popular game and it wants to access private details, it is probably best to leave that one well alone. Sometimes it can be too late though and you may have already downloaded the app! What should you do then? Delete it as soon as possible and think about downloading a security app to assess the damage.
This is a no-brainer but very easy to overlook and forget. This is perhaps the simplest tip of all here, but one that is often missed! The truth is, if you want to protect your phone, you should install any updates that are available as soon as possible. This doesn't just apply to your device updates but updates to your apps too. The manufacturer of your smartphone, your cell phone service carrier, and the company / companies running software on your cell phone are working hard to detect security problems and fixing them or patching them in their code, but you need to install the patched/updates in order to benefit from all the work that they do. True, it may use your precious data (especially if you have limited and needed amount in your plan), but it is better to pay a few bucks than risking data breach if you think you may forget by the time you reach your home or work wi-fi.
This is an option that is available to Android users only, and became even more important recently as "NotCompatible C" was discovered. This allowed hackers to remotely use someone's mobile phone without permission. Many operations would see the hacker purchase a number of tickets through the unsuspecting victim's phone with no trace to them whatsoever. The source of this malware was traced back to certain websites and emails so checking the "disable app downloads from unknown sources" option in the settings can easily prevent this from occurring.
Although some hackers can be extremely clever in how they infiltrate your device, one of the leading causes of mobile phone problems is still poor choices when it comes to downloading apps and files. Firstly, jailbreaking your device will instantly leave you open to problems as you are effectively removing a layer of security. However, if you have carried out this change to your device, you should avoid downloading anything from third-party sites or stores at all costs. Malware is far more common in these markets and so if you are unsure, install a security app to help you along. As we said in the early stages of this article, hackers are finding new ways of getting apps on the relevant stores so only using trusted developers could also prove to be a highly beneficial decision.
"Ransomware" is a term that is doing the rounds of late and for good reason as it is becoming more common as time goes on. As the title suggests, ransom-ware can effectively take charge of the phone, often because it has been allowed administrator access. It can then freeze pertinent parts of the software until a fee has been paid. The most common type last year was a "message from the FBI" where people were shelling out hundreds of dollars to regain access to their device.
If any app that you are unsure of asks for this type of access at install, decline it immediately and search the internet to see if it is safe. Once given access, it can be extremely hard to take it away and you could face a screen freeze, loss of data and even your notifications being read. This option is only available to Android users and should be considered carefully as Android does provide the "less safe" store of the two.
Hackers are coming up with new ways of hacking devices and gaining access to your information but with some careful steps, you can protect yourself from any problems. Be sure to take as many of these tips on board so you and your device can remain private and you won't have to go through the hassle of fixing any dangerous problems that may arise! Please feel free to leave your comments if you liked ideas provided here, and share your ideas if you have more to combat data breaches in our mobile devices. Thank you!