While our cell phone is typically our right-hand man, it’s also got some pretty personal info stored inside including photos, financial information, passwords, and current location. In fact, people are often not even aware of how much information they’re handing over and to whom every time their mobile device is used. If our trusty iPhone 6 seems like a safe haven, we can find out how it’s selling us out all day long.
Who Can See Your Data
When credit card details are saved on a secured smartphone, we assume that it’s, well, secure. The scary reality is that there are more people peeking in on our data than we thought. In fact, who can access that information from our phone without us even realizing it is absolutely amazing. Those with the front door key include:
- App developers
- Wireless carriers
- Mobile advertisers
- Phone and OS developers and manufacturers
Benedict Arnold Software & Apps
Pretty scary huh? Well, if that thought was unsettling, just wait to hear which apps and built-in settings are selling us down the river too.
- Location tracking: When location tracking is turned on (which is usually is), our whereabouts are constantly being recorded. Slowly, this application pieces together a user’s daily routine, where they are and at what times. For the right person, this can be damaging information, say a burglar who wants to break into our house when they know we’re not home or a stalker who wants to follow us to our favorite diner.
- Wi-Fi network connect: Many smartphones’ settings are set to automatically connect to open Wi-Fi networks. But this is the hacker’s playground, and it is asking for our information to be stolen.
- Apps permissions: Many apps will ask for permissions that are unnecessary. What’s worse, hackers will create apps with viruses built-in so they can access the data stored on a smartphone once the application has been downloaded.
Staying Safe in an Unsafe Mobile World
Thankfully, there are a variety of ways in which we can protect ourselves. Here are a few of the best practices that the security sector recommends smartphone owners use to keep smartphone activity safer.
- Put a lock screen on the phone. Close to 40% of smartphone users don’t enable the lock screen function. This is the first and most basic security step to take.
- Install an app that will track and sweep the phone if it gets lost. This way, personal data can’t be stolen even if the phone is.
- Install an antivirus app for protection.
- Use a VPN to access the Internet with maximum protection. A provider like NordVPN or ZenMate allows for surfing the web, making purchases, accessing online accounts, and interacting with friends without being recorded, eavesdropped on, or hacked.
- Check what permissions apps are asking for before downloading them. A weather app doesn’t need to access phone contacts, and a coloring app shouldn’t be asking for location.
Now that you know the threat is real don’t sit by and let your personal information get hacked. Get on the security bandwagon, and be smart with your smartphone today!