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8 Ways to improve smartphone security

‘Here are 8 ways to improve smartphone security.

The fast pace set by smartphone manufacturers to bring out new devices could be causing them to lose integrity when it comes to security threats with new smartphones. A report by Kaspersky shows that security threats have increased steadily since 2010 with as many as 3.5 million threats being found across 1 million devices. At one point the security firm was processing approximately 360,000 malicious files per day with 78% of these being on smartphones. The company mentioned specific threats that all smartphone users could be vulnerable to. Here’s what you should do to avoid them:

  1. The first threat that users should be aware of is data leakage. Nowadays smartphones come with both expanding and extendable memories. Because of this, people use their smartphones to store a lot of data. Most data leaks happen accidentally, for example, riskware apps that gain permissions at an extensive degree and then send it to advertisers. To avoid this, users should only give permissions to the point where the app can perform the crucial functions. Android and iOS have have put measures in place to make you familiar with the different degrees of permissions.
  2. Users should also be aware of unsecured WIFI connections. Sitting at a restaurant, its difficult to resist connecting to Wifi that is not secure. Its not unusual for even inexperienced hackers to access your email, banking apps etc. To stay safe, users should rather use their cellular data when in a public place, instead of connecting to unknown networks.
  3. Hackers are sometimes able to set up fake access points at locations like coffee shops, libraries etc. These places are easy to rig with hackers who set up networks that ask users to sign up with their email address to connect to the internet. This is called network spoofing. Because of this, you should never give your real email address or password to access a network.
  4. Phishing threats are more common on smartphones because they’re always in power-on mode. Because users are always checking social media apps, chats, etc. they are more vulnerable due to the fact that the data being shown on screen is less compared to bigger screens. This makes us more likely to click unsafe links. Users must be aware of what unfamiliar email links look like on their smartphones.
  5. Spyware could be even more threatening to users than malware, because it is often caused by someone close to them. Could be family, friends or even colleagues who want to keep track of where you are. Users should always have antivirus and malware detection set up on their phones.
  6. When app developers use weak encryption algorithms, this is known as broken cryptography. When this happens, hackers are able to find vulnerabilities left by the developers due to time restrictions or negligence. Bad encryption is usually what causes cracked passwords. Although, cybercriminals are also able to use back door tactics such as altering app functions such as text messaging in order to gain access to a phone. To protect yourself, you should avoid using apps that share data or that have dubious encryption levels.
  7. When mobile apps make use of tokens to ensure seamless mobile device transactions, this is called improper session handling. Apps can make use of tokens to find and validate other smartphones. While secure apps generate a new token every time a session starts, some will share session tokens. This puts the transaction at risk to malicious hackers who then mimic real users. Remember to always end a session, whether its accessing your student email or office intranet.
  8. Text Phishing incidents are becoming more of a problem as criminals try to fool users into installing malicious files by clicking on unsafe links. Avoid all such links that you receive via SMS or WhatsApp, even from brands that you know. Be sure to use the tips mentioned above and you should be safe from most security threats to your phone.

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