The innovation of smartphones has greatly been beneficial to many people that are considered as the best invention of the 21st Century. However, there are great deals of issues thrown at us by this innovation of putting Internet service within the reach of our palms, laps and pockets. The major challenge is that of privacy and security for data packets, voice calls, audio and video chats, messaging services, etc. This article points clearly to places one could encounter privacy and security issues; and thereby suggesting ways to avoid them – knowing a problem is half way to finding the solution (a popular quote). What you should know about your smartphones include: Majority of Internet service providers (ISP) such as Verizon and AT&T for instance, collect pool of information about their customers’ Web-browsing and location which they put together (through aggregate and anonymize process) to retail to marketers, companies, security agents and others. Your loose information could make some people rich. Smartphones without virtual private network (VPN) for Web-browsing for its customers would make a lot of the browsing activity vulnerable, because of lack of encryption features that could reveal information about their interests to unsolicited individuals. One should not buy smartphones without VPN enability. The proof is in the pudding according to ALCU technologist Chris Soghoian during a security conference in San Francisco on 27th February, 2014. That means to keep your smartphones secure requires regular updates for its security applications. It is a common feature that running into friends and close associates could put stress and demand for use of your smartphone; they could possibly download malware or malicious apps from Google play. Your smartphone should be able scan apps and reserve decisions about what information to share (or open-access) with anybody in case they come in contact with your phones. Presently, there are very effective and powerful apps for spying and intercepting audio and video chats, voice calls, images, and even very intimate contents. That may have informed several encryption mechanisms for many chatting platforms or apps recently. Always make sure your chat apps are encrypted to protect your contents online. Smartphones retailers could track your movements and browsing activity from your phone through unencrypted messaging apps, tracking devices and WiFi connections. It is usual of your smartphone retailer to check and test your phones before purchase as well as keeping records of your personal details that may include: home or office address, phone number, IMEI etc. That is why you should be concerned about privacy and security of your smartphones. You may have to put in a lot of effort to protect your smartphones such as use of ad blocker, encryption and VPN. Also, you need to turn-off the WiFi and Bluetooth connections on your smartphone temporarily or when not in use. You could be protected against several malicious attacks by maintaining this checklist from time to time. In conclusion, as the name implies, smart-phone needs smart and not lazy users too. Privacy and security problems have come to stay with us in this era of Internet but, the good news is that one can mitigate their effects and armed with tools to fighting them. Written By: Abraham Alfa
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