Smartphones are a modern-day necessity that most of us cannot do without. They sure are convenient and pack a number of benefits which make life much easier for us. However, there is always a trade-off with technology and with smartphones, it is privacy.
A leading technology expert believes smartphones are tracking devices which can also make calls. This might be a slight exaggeration, but it does capture what concerns many people have about their Android or iPhone devices.
Top Ways Your Smartphone Might Be Compromising Your Security
If you are wondering just how your smartphone is compromising your privacy right now, here are some points to consider.
Geolocating services are some of the most troubling bits of technology smartphones carry. The fact that your cell service provider can fairly accurately triangulate your position is an uncomfortable thought.
What is even more concerning is that turning off the GPS may not stop your phone from tracking you. Your smartphone also carries a host of other software which can be used for tracking. This may not seem like a problem to many, but profiling based on geolocation data is more prevalent than you might think.
While there have been rumors of smart devices snooping on your private conversations, smartphones are a more likely contender. Around the middle of 2018, some security research papers disclosed that Android apps were taking screenshots discreetly.
The same went for certain very popular iOS apps as well. It goes without saying that this is a major security compromise and is deeply concerning for security-conscious users.
Free wi-fi connections in coffee shops and marketplaces are extremely popular. You might find many customers visiting these establishments for this very added advantage. While this may seem like a great thing, it does open you up to all kinds of snooping and even cyber attacks.
Some time ago, Nordstrom stores in the US came under fire when it was revealed they were tracking guests. The company was using a Euclid Analytics to not only track shoppers but also gather data.
Almost every app that you have installed on your phone right now has access to different functions on your phone through the permissions you grant while downloading them. It goes without saying that if you have more apps, you add more variables to your security compromise equation. So, if you have not paid attention which apps have access to which features, you might have compromised yourself.
If so, then you would be smart to get to know which apps have feature access you don’t want them having. Also, it is a good idea to read up on popular apps like Facebook or Instagram and how they can compromise you.
This one is a creepy little thing which you might find in a sci-fi novel or story. But it is quite real. Camera tracking is a very popular way of not just tracking users but also profiling them. If you have given your apps unrestricted access to your camera, then your private photos and videos might be in jeopardy. Make sure you turn off access to your camera for all apps other than the trusted photo editing ones.
Shortage of Security Updates
Online privacy and cyber attacks on individuals as well as companies are growing. In light of this, every person needs to have a robust security framework on all their devices. While the laptop or desktop industry rolls out regular updates, the same cannot be said about mobile platforms.
Further, outdated versions and smartphone models can become highly prone to breaches. This is the same for both Android as well as iPhones. So, users need to be aware of the latest threats and other security issues which may compromise their privacy. They also need to take remedial measures to ensure they are well-protected.
Service Provider Tracking
Your ISP is the first and foremost business that you share your personal data with. Aside from the usual usage data line calling costs and bandwidth uses, your ISP can also track your other activities. For example, if you do not use a VPN, your ISP can track everything that you do on your phone. Also, there may or may not be relevant regarding what this data may be used for.
Naturally, this can potentially give ISPs free rein with what to do with your personal data. So, if you find it eerie that the product you were looking at a few hours ago pops up as an ad, don’t be surprised. And this is one of the more innocuous types of use for your personal data.
While some think that the old NSA surveillance idea is just fear mongering, it is not as fictional as you might think. In fact, some very big names in the US mobile networks market have been linked to data sharing agreements with the agency. Also, there are a host of other parties which may be involved in procuring your data.
A quick search on 5/9/14 eyes will give you some idea of what may be going on. Speculation indicates that governments circumvent laws preventing spying on their own population by spying on each other’s citizens. They then share the data and are able to gather intelligence on civilians without breaching legal statutes against this. Of course, this is not more than speculation with some evidence, but it is still a sufficient cause for concern.
How Can You Protect Your Privacy on Your Smartphone?
Smartphones are a daily life necessity which you might not be willing to part with. But you may not need to either. There are certain measures you can take to prevent a privacy breach on your mobile device. The first step is to get a reliable paid VPN and then stay up-to-date with the latest security updates and news. This will help you secure yourself and your data against most kinds of online privacy breaches and stay safe.