Smartphones and Security: Protecting Yourself in 5 Easy Steps
Many people remain unaware that smartphones face even greater security threats than home computers. Viruses, hacking and theft can put sensitive personal information at risk. An article published in The Star Press during early 2012 warned that hackers frequently obtain account information and credit card details from smartphones. This also happens to the users of home and business computers.
However, the many integrated features of a smartphone make it even more valuable to hackers. It’s possible for them to listen in on your telephone calls and take pictures with the phone’s built-in camera, according to The New York Times. Some hackers can even monitor your personal conversations when the phone appears to be off. Over 1 million smartphones have already been hacked.
Fortunately, you can follow these tips to minimize smartphone security risks:
1. Use care when downloading smartphone applications. It can be very hazardous to download apps that were designed with ill-intent or negligence. Pennsylvania State University warns that such applications may cause serious harm to users, devices and cellphone networks. They can steal private information or make your smartphone more vulnerable to hacking. A study conducted by PSU in 2010 found that two out of three well-known apps transmit private data without user consent. Some retrieve the user’s phone number or location.
One way to find safe applications is to obtain them from reputable companies. You should know who created an app before using it. Some apps have lists of permissions that you can view before starting a download, according to The New York Times. Carefully inspect these lists and see if they make sense. For example, a card game shouldn’t have permission to take pictures or check your current location. (continue reading…)