Smartphones are incredible devices that only keep getting better and better as their technology develops. These pocket-sized devices have become miniature computers that are powerful enough to do just about anything you need them to — from gaming to streaming videos and even working while you’re on the move.
However, one thing that we never honestly think about is a smartphone’s privacy risks. These little devices contain just about every single piece of information about us. Sometimes even more than we know — for example, your phone keeps track of your “significant locations” (ones you visit most often), they also track the time that you arrive and leave, and they give a calculation of the total amount of time that you’ve spent at a specific location.
Now, this is not necessarily a problem as such, after all, smartphones are personal devices. It becomes a problem when you factor in cybercrime. Hackers can steal your smartphone’s data, and if you’re not using the correct cybersecurity measures they can even eavesdrop on incoming and outgoing data. Keep reading to find out what information a hacker can steal from your smartphone, and how you can stop them.
Why Smartphones Put You at Risk
Smartphones are incredibly useful devices. They’re small enough to carry around with us anywhere we go, making them incredibly convenient. On top of that, you can do just about anything with a smartphone these days from watching movies to listening to music.
However, one other thing that our smartphones are good for is handling our sensitive data. This includes banking information, personal details, and even the login credentials of our accounts. As convenient as it may be to have all of this packaged into one small device, it does pose a huge risk to our privacy and security.
The reality is that it only takes one security breach for all of that information to be stolen. For example, a cybercriminal can steal your personal information and commit fraud and identity theft. There’s also the risk of the hacker breaking into your device’s password manager and stealing all of your login credentials.
There are two main ways that this can happen. The first is through unsecured networks which hackers can use to “listen in” on your device as it sends and receives data. This virtual eavesdropping is most commonly found in areas that have public WiFi hotspots such as airports, hotels, and restaurants. That being said, there is a way to protect your device while being connected to the convenient and cheap internet access points — we’ll go into detail about that later.
The other threat that exists is a common one. One of the most frequently used forms of cyber attacks — is phishing scams. Phishing has been around for decades and in its most basic form, it involves fraudulent emails that urge you to interact with a link. Once you interact with a link, there’s a risk of malware (such as viruses, spyware, or ransomware) being installed on your device. You could also be taken to a fake website that has been set up by the cybercriminal. The website will have a keylogger installed on it, and anything you type into the website will be copied and given straight to the hacker.
Phishing in general has evolved massively over the years, but when it comes to smartphones, you’re vulnerable to an attack from just about every direction. Phishing scams have been used in text messages, social media links, emails, and even on the internet — disguised as icons and images.
Since our smartphones contain a huge amount of crucial information about us, we must keep them as secure and private as we possibly can. Taking risks with your data is simply not worth it, and investing in the right cybersecurity tools will ensure that you don’t fall victim to a devastating cyberattack.
Cybersecurity Tools For Smartphones
Finding the right cybersecurity tools for your device can be a daunting task. There are so many to choose from, and then there are different brands to consider too. As long as you follow the one golden rule, you’re going in the right direction — avoid free cybersecurity tools as they have drawbacks that will affect your privacy and security compared to premium cybersecurity tools.
The first cybersecurity tool is an essential one. Premium antivirus software is the best tool to have in your arsenal on any device. Antivirus software will constantly scan your device for any viruses or malware, and if any have been detected they can be removed from your device too. It’s always a good idea to invest in antivirus software that has extra features. Some antivirus software is capable of scanning emails, links, and websites for potential phishing scams, and this will act as an extra safeguard against cyberattacks — remember, prevention is better than cure!
Since your smartphone is a small and mobile device that you can carry around with you anywhere you go, it’s always a good idea to ensure that it’s protected when it comes to unsecured connections such as convenient public WiFi hotspots. The tool you need for this task is a premium VPN. A VPN will encrypt your internet connection, which means that no one can see what you are doing on your device. Not even the government or your internet service provider will be able to keep track of your internet traffic, making this tool ideal for security and privacy.
VPNs have got another feature that’s helpful when travelling. A VPN can connect to a secure server in another country, which will mask your physical location and trick websites into thinking that you are accessing them from elsewhere. This is the perfect solution to bypass internet censorship and geo-blocking.
Finally, investing in a secure password manager is always a good idea. If you want to make sure that your accounts are secure at all times, you must use strong and unique passwords for all of your login credentials. Password managers act as virtual vaults, with one master key being randomly generated as an access code — only you have access to this master key.