Over the recent years, the global smartphone market has seen a tremendous amount of innovation from the reinvention of folding phones, bezel-less screens to swiveling cameras. The focus of many leading smartphone manufacturers has shifted from making general-use mobile phones to unlocking new technological possibilities with handheld devices. Based on what we have seen recently, we can expect the future of smartphones to be shaped by more groundbreaking inventions and full-fledged use of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT).
In spite of the advancements in smartphone technology, concerns over privacy and security issues have not been addressed. The smartphone companies that make some of the most secure phones have yet not made it to the mainstream mobile market and have a very limited market share excluding Apple. Apple which ranks top among mainstream market phones on the scales of security may not be entirely secure for your privacy because of the involvement of third-party software in the ecosystem that you may download over the internet.
What Are The Aspects Of Smartphone Safety
The applications and software you use on your mobile phones may be extracting tons of data from the activities you carry out over these platforms. The information may be in the form of your identity, location, work history, and bank details, etc – and any kind of mismanagement of such details and information may result in great harm for you. The number of cyberattacks is growing at a fast pace across the globe and you must already be prepared to turn them around. It is very important that you take important measures to keep yourself away from the radars of hackers and snoopers while using your smartphone.
There are certain methods you can adopt to be safe online. For complete protection against online threats, as a user, you need to have all 3 aspects of the smartphone fortified. The aspects include:
Your phone must have a strong set of security devices inside to offer you optimal protection. Smartphone security hardware such as face recognition sensors and biometrics should be a-grade in order to provide you maximum protection during use.
Operating System Factors
The majority of your online protection is dependent on your operating system or operating software (OS). Some OSs provide you inbuilt security software and features such as encrypted backup and system defender that not only secure you online but also maintain the smooth flow of your online work.
Application Software Factors
The software you download from over the internet has to be secure in order for you to protect your personal information. A lot of third-party application software that runs on your smartphones steals the important data that may get you in trouble. so it is very important to download only credible software and files from credible sources.
What Can You Do To Protect Your Phone From Online Threats
The number of cyberattacks has been on a constant rise parallel to the rise in the smartphone market. These attacks are often intended to steal your private information, understand your pattern online, and take unethical financial advantage, etc. Let’s run through some effective ways that can help you protect your personal information and details online:
Keep Phone Updated With Security Patches
You may observe that your phone manufacturer keeps introducing system updates from time to time. They also release security patches on a regular basis such as in the case of androids that roll out security patches every month. Apple does not have a specified timeframe for security updates and they typically release patch updates in under a month. The security updates help strengthen your system protection and also enhance the performance of your device.
DNS Over TLS
DNS over TLS, or Domain Name System over Transport Layer Security, is a security protocol that allows the encryption and wrapping of DNS queries and answers through the TLS. When you search for a specific website online, the DNS discovers the IP address corresponding to your URL and sends you to the site. This process is generally unencrypted, but with the introduction of DNS servers such as Cloudfare – the process takes place securely over the internet via TLS. You also have the Private DNS option which automatically converts the DNS connections to DNS servers for secure operations over the internet.
Turn Off The Sensors
Sensors have imparted a set of features to smartphones, but the sensors also bring along additional safety concerns. Certain sensors such as face unlock sensors are not very secure. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS are some of the sensors that can extract your data and you must have them turned off when not in use. Since other sensors such as microphone, accelerometer, and magnetometer cannot be disabled in versions earlier than Android 10, you should carefully use them and allow permissions to only authentic websites.
There are two kinds of encryption available for smartphones: full disk (FDE) and file-based (FDE). The full disk method uses a less secure method to encrypt your file with one key while file-based encryption uses different keys to secure the file. When you store important files on your smartphone, you must use smart encryption methods so that they cannot be retrieved and understood. Not only will this keep your data safe, but also ensure that even people with access to the file cannot tamper with it.
Get Virtual Private Network Services
The virtual private network (VPN) is one of the most ideal options for anybody who does a lot of work on the internet. The VPN allows you to encrypt your data traffic in such as way that even your Internet Service Provider (ISP) cannot track your online activities and retrieve your details. Besides encryption, the VPN also helps you reroute your traffic which may help in eliminating data throttling and bandwidth throttling. Not only does the VPN secure your information online, but the service also ensures a better and more effective performance by eliminating unscrupulous websites and results that may cause harm to you and your system.
In addition, there are multiple kinds of VPN for you to choose from as per your specific requirements. You may be having hurdles in finding the ideal VPN for your iPhone since the device is not compatible with every software – in that case, you can go online to find the best VPN for iPhone and iOS that will get your job done. Express VPN is one of the best VPN services available that allow you to surf over the internet smoothly and also maintains top-class privacy.
Stock Security Center App
If security is your first consideration in a smartphone, you must have important and authentic security-enhancing applications. The Stock Security Center is one such app. The powerful application allows you to manage each aspect of your phone’s security from one place. For example, the DTEK security app does a complete diagnosis of your phone’s security status and gives you the control to conveniently manage the security settings of your phone. In addition to that, you can also use authentic antivirus apps that will help you strengthen your smartphone’s firewall and keep trojans and viruses away.
Download Apps Only From Trusted Stores
If you are an android user, your marketplace for apps is Play Store, while if you are a part of the iOS ecosystem, you should ideally get apps downloaded from the app store. The apps available in trusted stores are checked for security before they are given a place in the app list.
Make Use Of Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a great way to create a double layer of protection for your device and files, etc. Since it requires an extra step, most mobile phone users do not prefer it. However, it can really make your phone 50% more securer if you think technically. The addition of an extra barrier to entry implies that the hacker has to do one more complex procedure to break into your device or document.
Backup Your Data
You can easily set up your smartphone in a way that you are sure even when mishappenings come to pass, you are not in so much trouble. One way to achieve that is to back up all your important data such as crucial company documents, photos, and personal details. In an unfortunate case even when your phone is lost, you can still retrieve all your data with just a click of a finger and a few authentication steps.
For an Android phone, make sure “Back up my data” and “Automatic restore” are enabled in the settings and then sync your data with Google. If you are an iPhone user, you can back up your data to iCloud. Similarly, an android user can turn on ‘Back up my data’ and ‘Automatic restore’ to do the same.
Do Not Respond To Spam And Phishing Emails
You must have observed that you often get uncalled-for emails that get automatically landed in the spam folder. This may happen because someone is trying to gain access to your important information. There have been instances where big companies have suffered severely at the hands of hackers who employed phishing mails to carry out their unethical practice.
You may get enticing fraud emails especially when you are working for big corporations whose confidential data mean great value to hackers. You should never respond to such messages and immediately report these emails to the organization that you are working for.
Know What Your App Is Asking For
You must be using a string of apps on your smartphone. The apps that take you to places, apps that help you order foods, and the apps that let you pay anyone anywhere in the world. These apps often ask you to allow them access to some of your more personal apps and services such as location, contacts, and photos, etc. You should keep a constant eye on which app is using which permission to determine whether it is safe or not. The rule of thumb is that you should refrain from allowing any kind of access to non-authentic apps and the ones that are authentic apps such as Google Maps should also have limited access. You can always revoke the permission you have granted in case you feel if it is no longer needed.
The above-mentioned methods are highly crucial in maintaining your online security and protecting your personal information from hackers and system viruses. However, there are several general smartphone habits that you can develop to ascertain your online safety. These habits will help you keep your phone safe every day and without much effort:
- Your phone should be locked when not in use, especially outside your house. An unlocked phone is like an open treasure for people who are on the lookout to steal somebody’s data.
- You must use your passwords secretly. When you are using a subway to commute and there are people all around you, it is ideal that you hide your screen as you enter the password or any other important detail.
- When you receive a file from any individual, you must run a virus check on that particular file before downloading it. It is so because the file may contain harmful viruses that may harm your smartphone.
- Change your passwords regularly and everywhere – from your device, email, to your social media apps.
- If you get a phone call asking for your confidential smartphone details, you are supposed to report it as soon as possible.
The territory of a smartphone’s use has broadened from just making some phone calls to even detecting earthquakes. In such a scenario, keeping details secure has become one of the top priorities not only for phone users but also for manufactures and software companies. This is an ongoing process, there have been great improvements, but a lot yet needs to be done. The continuous innovations in the smartphone industry will hopefully take us to the fearlessly secure smartphone experience in the future.