How to keep Safe & Secure your Smartphone?

Hello Guys, I am back with my new article on Smartphone Safety, If you are Smartphone user then you need to know about Smartphone Security and How can you Secure your Smartphone. If you any issue and query mention in comment section.

Smartphone security is not a new concept in itself, but its scope is changing everyday. While smartphones were used as a mere means of communication in the past, they are being used to store everything from important work-related details to Personal information.

If a potential vulnerability causes your smartphone data to be compromised, then it might turn out to be a potential catastrophe. They say prevention is better than cure. There are many ways how your smartphone’s data might be hindered. If you use a smartphone, it is a smart idea to stay updated about the kinds of potential threats and the preventive measures against them.

Theft Proof your Mobile Data

Taking preventive measures to theft-proof your mobile data saves you much trouble later Because Smart Phones data is too sensitive. We have many confidential files, password etc in our Smart Phones so we need to stop Malware makers and phishers on their tracks by taking these preventive measures into account:

  • Lock your mobile
    As simple as it sounds, locking your smartphone is one of the most basic things that you can do to ensure smartphone security. If your phone gets lost by any chance, a simple PIN lock can prevent someone from immediately doing any harm to your personal data. It gives you the time and the chance to block your details or block access to other important data. Locking your Phones data is as simple as setting a PIN code, pattern lock, password or Fingerprint lock.
  • Password
    A password is a strong and secure way to lock your phone. Passwords can be difficult to guess, and it can help ensure that your personal data remains personal. However, typing a wrong password into your mobile phone several times a day Smart Phone automatically lock. Use passwords only when you need the highest level of security.
  • PIN
    A PIN code can turn out to be a simple alternative to a password. It can be shorter, easier to remember and easier to type in several times a day. Using a 4 digit pin is a good solution, as there are 10 thousand different combinations. Just make sure not to choose something password like 1234 or 4321. 
  • Pattern Lock
    A pattern lock allows you to draw a pattern using a grid of nine dots. You can create a huge combination of patterns, and it is easier to enter multiple times throughout the day. However, patterns are only as secure as the kind of pattern you create. Another con of using a pattern lock is the fact that someone can easily remember your pattern by just looking over their shoulder. Patterns are recommended only if you have nothing to worry about.
  • Fingerprint Sensor
    Every smartphones have not fingerprint sensors. However, all new models of smartphones being shipped nowadays have fingerprint sensors embedded in them. A fingerprint sensor is by far the most secure and fast means of unlocking your phone. The only problem is that not all smartphone have a proper placing of the fingerprint sensor. Fingerprint sensors are hence the most recommended means of locking your smartphone. Use a PIN code or password only as a backup.
  • Add protection
    Use the security features that come in your Android/ iPhone devices. Apple(iPhone) device users can turn on the “Find My iPhone” feature in iCloud, which might come handy in locating a missing device and erasing important data using an activation lock feature and same thing you found in Android devices. Android device users can turn on the “Find My iPhone” feature in Android Administrative Function.
  • Set strong passwords
    Be it your social media accounts, or your banking login accounts, setting a strong password everywhere is mandatory. Your password should be a unique combination of letters, numbers and special characters and it should be difficult to guess. Do not use the same password everywhere, and use a password manager to keep track of all your passwords. If you want to add some extra security layer on your account you can also start Two Step Authentication Security System.
  • Use apps from the Google Play Store or the Apple Store
    Apple Store and the Google Play Store continuously remove fraudulent apps from the marketplace. Rarely we have found, Google and Apple do fail at protecting the influx of fake apps that seep into the Google Store and Apple Store unknowingly. We can said that the Google Play Store and Apple Store are safer than ever now and downloading apps from these stores are comparatively more secure than downloading bogus apps from unreliable third-party applications.
  • Use device encryption
    Encrypt your Android / iPhone to encrypt the data in your Smart phone. Encryption differs greatly from a simple PIN or password. Even if a hacker gets in through the lock screen, your personal information is rendered useless/unreadable unless they have the encryption key. The downside to encrypting your mobile data is that it takes you longer to log in to your Smart phone. However, using device encryption takes security one step further and is usable when you have extremely vital/confidential data in your smartphone. 
    If you are an iOS user, setting device encryption is as simple as setting up a Password(Passcode) to lock your device. The option can be found under Settings > Passcode.
    If you are an Android user, note that The lock screen and device encryption are separate entities but related with each other. You cannot encrypt your data without turning on the lock screen. To enable device encryption, plugin in your device, set a strong password and navigate to Settings > Security > Encrypt Device. Once you encrypt your Smart phone, you cannot turn it off without factory resetting your phone.
  • Use a Virtual Private Network
    Use a mobile Virtual Private Network to ensure that the free Wi-Fi you use when you have that sip of coffee on the way to work does not come back to big bite you. However, make sure that you do not use a free VPN service as they usually don’t work.
  • Use an Anti-Virus Software
    Always use a suitable, paid, anti-virus software to prevent malware from attacking your smartphone data. Some smartphone security anti-virus software also offers the feature of phone tracking, which might not work as expected, but are good-to-have as extra features.
  • Delete unused applications
    Constant security updates of apps make the apps secure. However, not all apps regularly release patches, hence stagnant and unused apps might turn out to be an open door for a possible attack. Delete unused apps to reduce the chances of an attacker entering your phone to obtain confidential information.
  • Turn off unused connections
    Turning off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when not in use does not only save your battery life but it can also prevent your smartphone from possible attacks. Open network connections can be used to attack you Hence, it is advisable to turn off all connections when they are not in use.

Mobile Threats and Scams

Mobile threats and scams have become a rampant problem as smartphones are in the hands of every average person in this time. There are some common types of fraud committed through mobile devices that one should be aware of:

  • Phishing
    Phishing is one of the easiest ways for scammers to steal personal data. You get a message, asking to enter your login information. This information is then used to make purchases through the app to which you revealed the information. The same login information can also be used to gain access to other apps that you use since a normal user has the same login credential across several applications.
  • Vishing
    Vishing is much like as phishing and is its telephone equivalent. It involves the act of calling unsuspecting users by appearing to be a legitimate business. Scammers then extract useful and important information by making the victim think that they will profit. For example, a scammer might call you by pretending to be your bank and asking you for your PIN, or call you as an IRS agent asking for your tax details.
  • Fraudulent websites
    A smartphone has a smaller screen than that of a desktop computer. Hence, it is difficult to differentiate a fraudulent website from a real one in a smartphone than on a computer. The difference in the logo, quality, and display of the website is un-noticeable in a smaller screen. The use of phony websites and information tampering using fraudulent websites are thus more common on a smartphone.
  • Subscription fraud
    Fraudulent users gain access to a person’s information and use it to sign up for an expensive subscription. This kind of fraud falls among the most common mobile frauds.
  • Stolen devices
    If your smartphone gets stolen or lost and found by someone, fraudulent users can use the device to make purchases through apps.
  • SMS Fraud
    SMS fraud usually involves sending SMS on behalf of a user, without his knowledge. The SMS is sent to make a purchase, which the user is unaware of. The payments received by the purchase then benefits the fraudulent user.
  • Phantom apps
    Fake apps of well-known companies can also prove to be a big scam that lures users to pay fraudsters unknowingly. For example, a phony version of Google Wallet was released in 2014, that tricked users to paying money for cheap cars.
  • Drive-by downloads
    The malware installed into your phone without your consent is referred to as drive-by downloads. Visiting the wrong website can generally trigger these drive-by downloads to be installed in your mobile device and after installation causing harm later.
  • Viruses and Trojans
    Viruses and Trojans attacks on your mobile devices by attaching themselves to legitimate programs and later hijacking your smartphones system. Viruses and Trojans can also send premium, costly, text messages.
  • Network spoofs
    Network spoofs are fake access points set up by hackers to look like Wi-Fi networks. They are set up in high traffic locations with names like “Free Wi-Fi” or “Hotel’s, Coffee House Wi-Fi” to lure users into creating accounts to log in. Most people generally use the same login credentials to log in to several places. The same username and password obtained from this account are used to gain access to the duped user’s email and other important details.

How to spot Fake Android Apps?

One of the major mobile scam on trend nowadays are fake Android apps that act as masters of disguise and cause harm to your personal or important data. Copycat apps are released extensively on a daily basis. It is difficult to keep track of which app is genuine and which is not. It is too important for every smartphone user to know how to spot fake android apps and ensure their smartphone security.

  • Research 
    Before you download an app, do some background research on the number of downloads, app details and the number of reviews/comments that the app has. In some cases, lesser reviews might be an indication of a developer just starting out. In other cases, it might be a scammer intent on tricking you into downloading their malicious app.
  • Read reviews/Comments
    Short and vague reviews or very less number of reviews are often the sign of malicious apps. Some reviews/Comments can also give you an insight into the pain shared by other users who have been duped by the app.
  • Notice details
    Notice all details like the images and design of the app. If they look unprofessional and shoddy, it is probably a fake Android app put together to dupe unknowing users.
  • Watch out for clones
    Most malicious and fake apps are the clones of the more popular apps. Examine the name of the developer and read reviews/Comments carefully in order to differentiate between the original app and the fake one.
  • Read the documentation
    Good developers usually push out some minor description of what the app does. Read the documentation carefully to figure out if the app has just been pushed out to lure customers, or if it has actually been created with care.

How Free are Free apps?

Everyone loves free stuff or things. However, everyone also knows that not many things are actually free. The internet is full of free things to offer. How free are free apps? Have you paused before downloading a free app? Do you ever pause to realize that when you download a free app, you give something in return, i.e., your personal information or some details?

Why is your personal information important?

Information is a commodity. Facebook, Google and many app/websites offer free services but collect, sell and analyze user data on behalf of advertisers. The information we share for free is monetized in a big way. When using an app for free, you are giving away your valuable information in return.

Every time you download a free app, you generally share:

  • Your browsing history
  • Your SMS app
  • Your contact list
  • Access to your camera
  • Access to your phone’s app activity
  • Access to manipulate your cookies

This data is analyzed and used to deduce the advertisement content of products that you are most likely to purchase.

How do free apps earn money by using your personal data?

Since it’s established that free apps are not actually free and take up your personal information in return, read on to find out the ways how free apps earn money:

  • Online games
    Applications like WeChat (a messaging app in China) earn money through their online games which require purchases to unlock these special features.
  • Advertisement
    Online advertising is a big business, and it is driven by the personal data that you share with the free app. Most free apps also earn money through advertising the products that you are most likely to purchase.
  • In-app purchases
    Some applications allow the user the download the application for free, but require money to unlock special features like Truecaller and many apps.
  • Add-on services
    Many free applications like LinkedIn earn by offering add-on services. They obtain revenue from providing a platform for these add-on services.

How to protect yourself from free apps?

A huge percentage of top free Android and iOS apps have found to pose some risk to the users. Every Smart Phone user need to know ways to protect yourself from free apps and prevent your personal data from being used.

  • Be careful of what you install
    You might be asked by app to grant various permissions. However, when you are granting permission to a free app, make sure you review the permissions first. For example, if you download a calculator, it does not make sense for the calculator to access your photos, contacts and other mobile data. Sometimes, just some common sense can save your personal data.
  • Stay updated
    Install your mobile updates as soon as they are available. Updating can be a gruesome process and can hamper your activities, but the updates are usually packaged with security updates that are essential in ensuring safety against unauthorized access of data. So always update your Smartphone apps when you found updates of your apps.
  • Check your installed applications
    You might have at some point in time, given unnecessary permissions to some free apps that you have downloaded. Review the installed applications and the permissions provided to them from time to time. Changing and reviewing application permissions can prevent the misuse of your important or personal data.

Note:- Always update your Smartphone Security and apps for new security patches. If you have any query mention in comment section.

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