Mobile phones play a central role in our lives today, carrying out more and more functions, including more and more services and benefits. This trend, far from having ended, continues to develop alongside the growing digitization of information and the increase in information processing, storage, and transmission capacities.
However, mobile phones became a huge area of dispute for companies and governments as important and growing resources are allocated to them not only for economic interests but also for social control, espionage, and mass surveillance.
With that being said, it is totally possible and necessary that we spend some time and take certain precautions to increase our levels of privacy and security in the use of our phones, to the best of our ability, without necessarily affecting our personal relationships and policies.
This can’t be magically fixed with a tool, it starts with a safer set of best practices for using the tools we have.
1. Take care of the use of social networks:
It is from our mobile phones that we make the most use of our social networks through which we publicly share an enormous amount of personal information. This is often necessary for our social and political relationships.
Precisely for this reason, the first thing we should take into account when it comes to protecting our privacy is our social networking safety since it is the first thing that those who want to have more personal information and details about our environment will use.
If you receive any friend request or any suspicious links from an unknown person, we recommend checking their identity with PhoneHistory. This website reveals a caller or texter’s name, address, personal details, current carrier, city, state, and much more.
2. Lock phones and keep them updated:
The problem with phones is that if anyone has physical access to them due to forgetfulness, loss, or theft, they will also have access to much of our private information.
One of the most basic measures is to lock the phone, where the option to do it by password is the most secure one. Although the lock can be useful in many situations, it is not enough if the phone falls into the hands of those with advanced knowledge.
Therefore, what is recommended for private or sensitive information that we want to protect is to encrypt the contents of either a folder, a memory card, or the entire phone, as nowadays most phones allow it. Getting used to encrypting our contents and saving them in a cloud can be a good practice to avoid losing our information.
Not using easy passwords, or using the same one on several accounts is also very important. But above all, the most important thing is to enable the two-factor authentication that most applications and social networks have today.
Another of the most frequent recommendations is to keep the operating system and applications updated since such updates usually provide security fixes to software. Besides, you have to be very careful and distrustful when installing applications or downloading files from unknown sites or people that can infect your mobile devices.
3. Take care of the location:
One of the most important aspects to consider that is often overlooked and underestimated is location tracking for mobile devices.
We are not referring to the location by GPS, but to the method known as cell phone triangulation, this is the most common method used in police investigations that often appear in the media. It has been used worldwide for many years, but its implications are often underestimated.
4. Messaging systems – WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal:
Voice calls and SMS messages from our phones are not made securely, so we need to look for some alternatives to protect our communications.
The most massive form of communication that we have today are messaging apps, such as WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal, and others, and there is a permanent debate revolving around the level of security of this or that messaging system.
However, today, the most common risks do not involve the possibility of violating encryption systems. But, rather the possibility that attackers may gain access to our accounts through different means.
To avoid this, perhaps the most important thing is to enable the two-factor authentication that most applications have today and not use ‘easy’ passwords.
5. The problem of shared documents:
Nowadays, documents, spreadsheets, as well as personal, private, or sensitive photos and videos are used more and more in the cloud, that is, on the servers of companies, such as Google and others.
All this material is often private and we share it all the time online from our phones. The main security threats, which we may face in the cloud, are data loss or theft. Although cloud service providers have greatly improved their security systems, the use of such services is still fraught with risks.
There are privacy options to determine who can access these documents on your cloud. One of the most common errors is to assume that the privacy of our data will be protected with the option that only those who have the link to it can access it. This gives a false sense of privacy because it is assumed that no one will be able to know the said link.
However, nothing is more untrue than this. The link to shared documents often travels publicly through networks without any protection as well as in the history of browsers, so anyone with the ability to observe network traffic can monitor these links and try to access them.
If the privacy settings of the documents allow anyone to access the link, this information will be exposed to a large number of people and organizations.
That is why you should always configure and control the documents with sensitive information that you have shared so that they can only be accessed by certain accounts – it is also possible to do it for email groups, but do not allow anyone with the link to access it.
Another good practice is to systematically delete all documents containing personal, private, or sensitive information from our clouds once we no longer need them.