3/28/2017

12 ways to hack-proof your smartphone


Protect your privacy, your data and your peace of mind with this guide to beating thieves, whether they’re online or on the street

As we’ve recently seen from leaked CIA documents, no one is immune to hacking attacks. Here’s how to protect yourself against them, whether they come from opportunist thieves or state-sponsored spies.

1. Keep up to date – and don’t open up holes yourself

When it comes to protecting yourself against hackers, step one is always to install software updates as soon as they become available: that’s as true on smartphones as it is on computers. Yes, updating can be a tiresome and intrusive process, and it sometimes brings annoying changes to the interface that you’re used to. All the same, a huge proportion of successful hacks exploit vulnerabilities that have already been patched; exposing yourself unnecessarily is just daft.

I’d also strongly advise against using unofficial tools to “root” your phone (known as “jailbreaking” on iOS), unless you know exactly what you’re doing. On a rooted phone, technical safeguards can be defeated, allowing apps to perform all sorts of actions that are normally prohibited – and that can include snooping on your personal data.

2. Be careful of what you install

When you install a smartphone app, you may be asked to grant it various permissions, including the ability to read your files, access your camera or listen in to your microphone. There are legitimate uses for these capabilities, but they’re potentially open to abuse: think before you approve the request. That applies especially to Android users, as Google’s app-vetting process isn’t as strict as Apple’s, and there have been reports of malicious apps spending months on the Play Store before being spotted and taken down.

Android also lets you install apps from third-party sources: this allows services such as Amazon’s competing Appstore to operate, but it also provides an easy way for rogue apps to get onto your phone. I’d strongly advise against installing anything from an unfamiliar website....more