smartphone surveillance, smart phone passwords, smart phone security

How to Increase Your Smartphone Privacy

“Your smart phone is probably the most personal device you own, containing private messages, sensitive banking information, personal photos and other data that can leave you vulnerable if handled carelessly.” ­— Catalin Cosoi, Bitdefender Chief Security Strategist

Internet users are spending increasingly more time on their cell phones and less time on their computers, with mobile usage expected to more than double in the next few years. According to Gartner Research, “by 2013, more people will use mobile phones than PCs to get online.”

Cell phones are also being used as a convenient way to store photos, phone contacts, and video, and many apps are able to collect information about where you are located, how you use the app, what other apps you use, and some are even able to access a list of your contacts.

Who’s vying for your personal information? Hackers, government agencies, and businesses alike have a vested interested in being able to access private information you store on your phone.

Smartphone privacy 101: make sure you password protect your smartphone. Is locking your phone enough? Not with a piece of hardware, called the Robotic Reconfigurable Button Basher, that’s on the market for about $200. It automatically punches 4-digit PIN numbers that cracks your phone’s security code in under 24 hours making today’s hackers more efficient and potent.

What can a diligent smartphone owner do to further protect their privacy? There are many options.

Erase Your Device Remotely

If you want to be prepared in case you lose possession of your iPhone, use iCloud in conjunction with Find my iPhone to protect your personal data from the prying eyes of a hacker.

You are able to play a sound on your phone in case it’s in ear shot or draw attention to your phone. Can’t hear your phone? Plan B: you are able to remotely lock your phone, if you neglected to do so, and send a message to your phone with a number where you can be reached.  The number can be called without the caller unlocking your phone. Still no luck? For peace of mind, remotely wipe out your phone.

Protect Your Photos and Videos

Keep your images on your iPhone locked away with Private Photo Vault. You decide which images you want to protect from potential snoops. You will be required to enter a password to access these private photos.

Choose Permissions to Allow

Currently, when you install an app, you are presented with a list of permissions, and you are required to agree to all of the permissions to access the apps. It’s all or nothing. Much to the chagrin of many app developers, change is in the air as some developers are creating  solutions to allow you to pick and choose which permissions to accept.

Scan Your Phone for Potential Privacy Leaks

Clueful, for Androids, scans the apps on your phone, looks at the information the permissions request of you, and then categorizes individual apps as being from low- to moderate- to high-risk.  For example, apps that are actually viruses would be identified as ‘high-risk’ as well as those that allow your information to be sent to strangers.

Smartphone internet security is currently a hot topic in the news and will become increasingly important moving forward. We will stay on top of the latest in how to protect your private information, both online and offline, so stay tuned.

 Photo Source: Flickr


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