When was the last time you used your phone? It was probably just a few minutes ago, or you might be using it at this very moment. Phones have taken an important place in our everyday life, so much so that we wouldn’t be able to function properly without one. But how much do you trust your phone and do you really think that all of your personal information stored on this tiny device is safe?

Thanks to technological development, mobile phones got smaller, more advanced, and much more useful. Now, not only you can make calls but you can take photos, record videos, listen to music, make a video call to the other side of the world for free, etc. Nevertheless, their multi-functionality is both a good and a bad thing.

In the past mobile phones served mainly for calling someone or sending them a message. Over time ,with the creation of smartphones, we have started using our phones for everything. We store photos there, personal videos, important documents, we even have our every account connected to this device. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, there is an app for everything, even one for accessing our bank account. When you think about it, our whole lives are tightly connected to our phones, be it an Android, iOS or something else.

With so much at stake, you need to realize the importance of your mobile’s security and learn everything you can to protect your private information.

Let’s start with the basics.

Some settings affect your privacy

Bluetooth

First things first. Don’t leave your Bluetooth on. This feature that we have in every phone has security flaws, and two of them are quite serious and can result in data theft.

The first one is Bluebugging, and it happens when the attacker accesses your device through Bluetooth and spies on you and steals your information. The other one is Bluesmack, which is a DoS attack that overwhelms your phone with malicious requests, causing it to stop working.

What these two attacks have in common is the way the attacker gets to the device. It’s simple, the person only needs to be within a few yards of a device that has Bluetooth on.

Rooting

It’s a process that allows you to access the operating system of the device and lets you modify the software codes or install different software that normally isn’t allowed.

By doing this you also remove the safeguards on your operating system placed there to protect you. Both iOS and Android phones have strong safeguards that won’t allow an app, possibly malicious, to access data from another app. Without them, your phone gets much more vulnerable.

Permissions

You’ve probably noticed, but your phone constantly asks for your permission over an app as soon as you install and open it. It’s usually a permission to access your camera, your GPS or microphone. Depending on the app, before allowing something, always ask yourself why the app would need a permit for something like that. For example, if you are downloading a game, why would it need the permission to read and modify your messages? You could be downloading something potentially dangerous so be careful and precautious.

You don’t always have to allow access to the apps, especially if something seems weird. Even if you did, you can always take that permission away. You just need to go to your settings and review your app permissions.

Locking your phone is more important than you think

With everything you have on your phone, do you really think leaving it unlocked is a good idea? If someone steals your phone or even gets access to it for a short period of time with the intention of snooping, all of your files, photos, and other content will be compromised.

To prevent this from happening, it’s best if you set a lock on your phone, for example, a secret password. Avoid using face or fingerprint authentication. This can easily be cracked, by simply using a picture of you or your finger.

When it comes to your mobile apps, you should also use two-factor authentication. That means setting up a second password, which will be valid for a limited amount of time. The second password can be generated on your phone, on an external device or sent to you via an SMS or email. Sometimes this can be very annoying, especially when you are in a hurry, but it definitely gives you an additional layer of protection.

Be careful when you receive the code via text message because it can easily be intercepted by someone nearby or even a malicious application on your phone.

Encrypting your traffic can limit the risk of a cyberattack

It’s not a secret that iOS devices are more secure than Android. However, even iPhones cannot protect you from hackers that want to access your personal data. Despite following advice on how to protect your mobile security, sometimes this won’t be enough. Especially if you are dealing with someone that has the proper technological knowledge.

To fight back at this, you also need to possess the right knowledge and the right technology. One of the best ways to prevent an attack on your privacy and secure your phone is by encrypting everything on it. To do this, you can consider a Virtual Private Network, which is a technology build to protect you while browsing online. No matter if it’s your phone, computer or TV, as long as you have your VPN connection on, not only will your traffic be encrypted and incomprehensible, but also your original IP address will be masked. In other words, third parties and snoopers trying to intercept your device, will not be able to do so and you will remain anonymous on the web.

How to detect if you are being spied on?

There is no right way of knowing, especially if you don’t suspect anything. However, some things can be seen as warning signs, and it’s good to take the proper measures.

For starters, you will notice your battery life draining much faster than before. Not only this, but your data network and memory will also show signs of excessive usage. If you haven’t used your mobile data, yet it has passed a certain limit, this might be an indication that you are being spied on.

Always use your intuition and if something doesn’t seem right, do a little research. The positive thing about this is that mobiles can be easily fixed, by simply deleting the malicious app or in the case of an iOS device by only updating your mobile operating system.