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Your Guide to Mobile Device Security: How To Protect Your Smartphone From Malicious Hackers

The Dangers of Mobile Devices

Mobile devices are becoming a major security risk for companies and individuals. They are a vulnerable target for hackers and thieves, who can steal information or infect them with malicious software. Many times these devices are being used at work and at home, this means they have valuable data on them that malicious hackers would love to have. Spreadsheets from work, pictures for blackmail, emails and text that you have sent and/or received, the wireless network names you have connected to and much, much more is available on a compromised device.


In order to mitigate the risks of mobile devices, it is important to take measures such as installing antivirus software on the device, using strong passphrases, maintain physical security, updating your device and patching apps. Below are some tips to get you started on the secure path.


Security and Privacy Tips

A cell phone/mobile device is a great device for many reasons, but it also has its drawbacks. One of the most important things to remember is that your data may not be safe on your phone. There are a few steps you can take to protect your data and make sure it doesn't get into the wrong hands.

The first step is to enable the lock screen. This will make sure that no one can access your device without unlocking it first.

A second step is to enable encryption on your device, which will protect all the data stored on your phone or tablet.

  • For both iPhone and Android this is an automatic process as long as you set the screen lock above. For android users that have external micro SD cards - those need to be encrypted manually through your Settings > Security > External SD Card

Next, make sure to regularly update the operating system and apps. New vulnerabilities are always discovered, and vendors work to patch their applications and software as soon as they're available. (the exact steps to find this might be slightly different per model)

  • Android users can look for it under Settings > About > System update

  • For iOS, users can check for system updates under Settings > General > Software Update

Try to minimize location access. Location services or settings, which is usually part of the quick settings feature of iOS and Android, allows apps and websites to use information from cellular, Wi-Fi, GPS networks, and Bluetooth to determine a user’s approximate location, which could be a cause for concern. When allowing permission for location access for iOS devices, it is recommended to only select While Using the App instead of Always, as it prevents a malware-ridden app running in the background from stealing a device’s location information.


Be aware of the networks around your device. What do you mean? Your phone is rather powerful when it comes to communication - that was it’s main function at first. Now your device could be connected (and probably is) to many different types of networks at the same time. When you are sitting in your home, you could be on 3, maybe 4, networks at the exact same time. Your device would be on your home wifi connection, it’s always connected to you cell phone provider through 5G or LTE, and quite possibly you have Bluetooth on, so that is yet another radio sending/received information.

Why does that matter you ask? This allows a possible attacker to have access to many networks at once just by compromising one device. The malicious hacker could go after a weakness in your Bluetooth, use that weakness and access your wifi in your home - without the wifi password. Think of it like this. Let’s say a bad guy is “hacking” an office camera feed, but instead of having access to just 1 camera they find, with one “hack” they have access to entire building. Now they can see all the traffic flowing and compromise at will.

If you are not using Bluetooth or wifi, you can simply turn them off to be more private and secure. Remember airplane mode turns off all radios, even cellular.


Wrapping it up

We all used mobile devices all around the planet, which is another big reason for them being popular attack vectors. By doing your due diligence for your mobile device; Use Screen Locks, Update and Patch, Physical Security, etc. You should be able to use your device like you want, when you want. Go forward posting those social media arguments and opinions on FB and Instagram with confidence!!

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