With each passing day, technology is overtaking our regular lives. While it’s making us smarter, it’s also rendering us more vulnerable to losing private and sensitive information. BGR India spoke to Venkat Krishnapur, Vice President of Engineering and Managing Director of McAfee India, to find out how one can avoid being a victim of any mobile threat and losing private data and money. Here are a few simple things that you should keep in mind and follow to protect your device from any security threat.
Be suspicious of the apps you unknowingly install
As malicious applications mostly tend to target users’ lack of knowledge, the chances of falling prey to cyber attacks increases. Therefore, users are advised to better avoid installing apps from unknown sources or third party sites, which is a very basic rule that everyone should follow. Also, users should install apps from Google Play store or App store, which will ensure that one doesn’t become a victim of malware schemes, including Marcher.
Be aware of the links you get via social media platforms or text messages, and do research before downloading them on your smartphone. Additionally, if you are interested in downloading an app, always check its rating. “Details of the app developer, download statistics, app reviews and spotting discrepancies such as typos and grammatical errors in the description are some of the usual traits of fake apps,” the company said.
Use PIN codes or passwords with extra care, here’s why
A few months ago, SplashData released a report of terrible passwords in 2018, which one should keep in mind and avoid common mispractices like 1234, password, aa123456 and password1. Additionally, there are users that use same passwords everywhere, which could land them in big trouble. Moreover, adding an identical type of password over all records become easier for hackers to figure.
Also, do not use a similar password to login to recently downloaded apps. “Regardless of whether they need to get into your financial statements or your location, if a fraudster has the password to, all doors open,” the cited source said. One should also prefer using two-factor authentication, which most of the people avoid.
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Always keep phone up-to-date and protect it with encryption
Users should always keep their smartphone up-to-date as reliable updates are often rolled out by Google and Apple, which includes security patches and other fixes, and helps shut down vulnerabilities. Unfortunately, there are several Android smartphone makers that fail to provide timely updates to their devices in terms of OS updates, coupled with the minor monthly security patches. But, there are Android smartphones in the market that do get timely updates.
Furthermore, “Encrypt your data so that even if it is stolen, the hackers wouldn’t be able to decipher what the data is,” McAfee said. In addition, a hacker will only be able to access data if they know the code of the converted data, generated by the user. Separately, one can also remotely delete data from their phone if it gets stolen. Moreover, one should install a comprehensive mobile security software from a trusted provider, which will help protect private data up to some extent. You should also keep a track on the latest scams and warning signs.
Keep a check on “permissions” and “access” phone apps possess
Always remain careful on what permissions your apps are demanding for, which they would not otherwise request for its functioning. Those not aware, apps mostly demand “Permissions” and “access” for contacts, camera, location, gallery, sensors and more. Always check whether the app really needs access to the particular parameter to further function as hackers can remotely exploit the data on your phone using an app. “Hackers can hitch their own malware on apps that you download and in turn, gain access to your login credentials,” the cited source said.
Do you really think that Public Wi-Fi networks are safe?
Using public Wi-Fi networks are not very safe as it carries its own risk with it. Users are advised to be careful before connecting to any public Wi-Fi as cybercriminals can steal unencrypted data. Furthermore, if a user uses a free public Wi-Fi network, there are chances that a hacker can get access to your data, including email, phone number, credit card details and more.
Additionally, never ever send or receive sensitive data, or do any type of online transactions using any public WiFi network. Users are advised to leverage an effective VPN (virtual private network) service, which will provide a safer connection to another network over the Internet. It is better to not rely on public Wi-Fi network as it is not so secure. Separately, McAfee also revealed that “in 2019, we anticipate fake apps along with banking trojans, ad click frauds, ad overlays and mobile billing frauds to dominate the mobile threat landscape.”