When we think about all the good that our cell phones do, we often tend to neglect the bad. We have the convenience of having the world at our fingertips, but with that ease also comes the drawbacks. Cell phones can pose various risks when it comes to security. Understanding some of the more common risks can help to keep you safe and protected online and in real life.
How much do you really look at that free game you just downloaded from the app store? While it may seem innocent, some apps are being used to gather your data and mine it. What can happen is that you see a cool, free app in the app store. When you download the app, you see it asks for a lot of stuff, it wants access to your photos and contacts and all sorts of stuff. Without thinking you accept all of the permissions and the next thing you know, your data is being stolen. This is not to say do not get free games and apps, it means be careful and conscious about what apps are able to access.
Phishing is a term that nowadays, people are fairly familiar with. Phishing occurs when a person or reputable company is impersonated in order to gain login information or bank information. You know those messages you get randomly from someone you never talk to saying that they cannot believe they saw those pictures you posted, followed by a FaceBook link? Phishing scam. That email from Microsoft saying someone logged into your account but when you click the email it is a slew of random characters? Phishing scam. The easiest way to protect yourself from being scammed this way is to never click a link in a message like that.
A common thing people tend to find themselves doing is connected to unsecure wifi networks. It happens to the best of us, we are mindlessly on our phones and we want our stuff to load quicker, so we connect to that coffee shop wifi, or that Taco Bell wifi. While convenient, unsecure wifi networks pose a sizeable threat to you and your phone. Unsecured networks make it very easy for hackers to get into your accounts that you are using when on unsecure wifi. Hackers use the network almost as a bridge to get to your information. The best advice is to not use unsecure networks, and if you do, stay off of apps for things that contain information you do not want to be shared.
While most people know to stay away from popups, it is important to know that popups can disguise themselves as trusted websites. Much like phishing, ad fraud poses a threat to your security because it is a way for hackers to get your password. Never login to a site you are not certain is the intended site.
As already explained, it is important to stay away from unsecured wifi networks because they are easy to get into and make a simple way to steal information and data. Another way people achieve this is by setting up a fake network, or network spoofing. People will make a fake, official looking unsecured network for people to join, only to steal their information. Never join a network you do not recognize in order to protect yourself from network spoofing.
It can seem like the internet and the world is a dangerous place, what with hackers and internet criminals. The best course of action is to educate yourself and others on the ways that you can stay safe online, whether it be on your smartphone or a laptop or desktop. Stay aware, and stay safe out there!