How to protect your smartphone data

Smartphones accompany us on a daily basis because they have several functions t accessible through different devices. Indeed, with these smartphones, we can not only communicate in audio, video, text, but also, we can listen to music, watch movies, watch TV, take photos and many things thanks to the applications that we install. Therefore, it would be very laborious to secure your smartphone.

To protect personal data contained or that may be collected through smartphones, we share some recommendations depending on the type of smartphone: iOS or Android.

A strong password

The basis is above all to put a password that allows you to lock your phone. However, not just any password. You need passwords that won’t be easy to guess. Moreover, currently, smartphones are increasingly equipped with a fingerprint or facial locking system. Using them would be better.

Familiarize yourself with the T&Cs

Before downloading an application, always read the terms of use because “applications are sometimes greedy and will request access to all the data on your phone (address book, photos, geolocation, access to the microphone, etc. )”.

Geolocation

Most of the time, the installation of an application requires the automatic activation of geolocation. Therefore, it is necessary to take the time to deactivate the location service of all applications. Although Google keeps our travel history here: google.com/locationhistory. So, it is advised to disable this service from Google.

We can say that it is impossible to control personal data with a mobile phone. Indeed, this is one of the weaknesses of our phones as Martin Untersinger explains “each time you make a call, its date, duration, the number you dialed and your approximate location are recorded by your operator. This data may be required by the police authorities upon simple request to the operator. More generally, various information such as the IMEI number or the SIM card, or your identity, is associated with many phone activities.

In addition to this, our smartphones as soon as they are connected to the internet, dozens of applications begin to delve into our activities, on what is done on the device.

This is facilitated by the automatic activation of the geolocation service by the operating systems of Google and Apple. This means that many applications, especially those on Android, take the opportunity to follow in our footsteps. ” It’s estimated that one in four free Android apps tracks your location, and 7% of them have access to your address book. »

Remember that through its Android system, the geolocation activated by default allows them to draw up a precise history of all your movements.

In addition to this risk of user tracking, Scipioni mentions another problematic aspect linked to this form of surveillance: the profiling of users operated by this software. This operation presents risks for the user because his profile could be reused for advertising purposes, or resold to third parties by the “service provider”. [Scipioni, 2011, p. 5].

“In addition to this, the action of profiling raises a second fundamental problem, mentioned by Stephen Graham through the notion of “software sorting” [2005]. Through this expression, Graham highlights the continual and invisible sorting that computer code orchestrates in our daily worlds. Graham associates this “software sorting” with current neoliberal trends that have moved us from a universalist conception of services to the population to one in which basic infrastructures, spaces and everyday services become customizable and adaptable to the consumer profile [Graham, 2005, pp. 565-566]. Software and their algorithms therefore have this power to distinguish and differentiate; they thus have the ability to create differentiated geographies according to the user’s profile. ”

Most of the applications regularly send several of the information from our smartphones to the developers’ servers. In addition to this, it is possible to access the data stored in the device remotely through some applications that we use.

Control over app permissions

It is important to perform the minimum possible control of the authorizations requested during the installation of the applications.

Securing our smartphones means protecting our privacy.

To secure your smartphone in order to reduce the leakage of personal data through these everyday friends, the CNIL gives some recommendations.

Here are 10 tips to protect it:

Do not save confidential information in your smartphone: secret codes, access codes, bank details, etc.;

Do not deactivate the PIN code and change the one offered by default. Avoid codes that are too easy (date of birth, 0123, etc.);

Set up an automatic phone lock delay, in addition to the PIN code: this prevents the consultation of information in the event of loss or theft;

Enable encryption of information saved on your phone: even if the device is on, no one will be able to access your data without your password;

Install an antivirus;

Note the phone’s “IMEI” number to block it in case of loss or theft;

Do not download apps from unknown sources; prefer official platforms;

When you install a new application on your device, check what data it will have access to;

Read the terms of use of a service or application before installing it and consult the opinions of other users on the Internet;

Adjust geolocation settings to always control when and by whom to be geolocated.

In addition to these recommendations, it is possible to use a VPN or change its operating system. There is an effective solution for those who are on Android, a system that we can consider more vulnerable compared to that of Apple, which allows you to secure your communications while leaving “the dependence of Google or Apple can therefore consist to change the operating system. »

Just install CyanogenMod for those who have Android smartphones. Indeed, it is “a modified version of Android, increasingly stable, efficient and easy to install, or Firefox OS, the free operating system developed by Mozilla, the foundation behind the Firefox browser. »

Communication encryption

With regard to making calls and sending text messages, it is possible to use communications encryption applications. Among these apps we have: Signal, Telegram, RedPhone, Wire, Dust…

Between iPhone users, you have the possibility to use FaceTime (for calls) and iMessage (for SMS). In addition, you have the famous Tor tool for Android or iOS devices. Moreover, the Guardian Project offers Orbot which allows you to “pass through Tor traffic related to many applications on your phone.”

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