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People Act. 03 Apr 2017

A guide to using your cell phone safely

Today we celebrate International Mobile Phone Day in commemoration of the device that has become an essential part of our lives, profoundly changing society and the way we communicate.

We live with cell phones, but… Do we really know how to coexist with cell phones? Are we aware of all the information we put in our cell phones? Are we prepared to use them without compromising our security?

Not without my cell phone

The first phone call from a cellular phone was made on April 3, 1973, which is why this date was chosen for the International Mobile Phone Day.

Its only purpose was to improve the mobility of communications. However, technology incorporated in today’s mobile devices is so advanced that is has far surpassed this function, creating a new age of connectivity.

If we look back in history, there are very few examples where we have been so dependent on an object. It has countless sources of entertainment, news, contacts and includes work, personal and social tools. It is a smaller version of us, of our relationships and life experiences.

Cell phones are highly integrated into our lives and this dependency was reflected in a recent study that found that 90% of European adults have their cell phones with them at all times. Source

Keeping this in mind, are we really capable of surviving without our cell phones?

There are probably not many people willing to give up their phones, so perhaps a better question would be: What’s the best way of living with our cell phones?

A guide to using a cell phone securely

More functions mean more risks. As we add new apps to our cell phones, we are associating more personal information with our devices. All this information becomes a threat to our privacy if we don’t know how to protect our devices properly.

There are some habits that will help us to live with our cell phones without any problems.

1. Block the screen (password, pattern or fingerprint). This will prevent others from directly accessing your content if your phone is lost or stolen.

2. Add security tools. They are needed to find the device, block it and even eliminate data if your phone is lost or stolen. If you have sensitive information, don’t forget to activate your phone’s encryption options and periodically back up your data.

3. Virus protection. Not including virus protection for your Android phone exposes it to potential viruses that could compromise your information and security. If you have an iPhone, Apple includes security measures by default.

4. Take updates seriously. Updates are essential. In addition to new functions, they also include patches and adjustments that fix security problems or vulnerabilities that could be used to steal data or launch a malware attack.

5. Consent, only as needed. Always ensure that the authorizations are related to the app’s functions and get in the habit of reading the terms before accepting everything an app requests.

6. Only download apps from reliable sources. Only download apps on the manufacturer’s official market, Google Play or the App Store for iOS. Read user’s feedback. For apps that use sensitive information, like bank data or for online purchases, set them up to always ask for a password.

7. Be especially careful with public WiFi networks. If you use them, do not exchange any private or confidential data and do not connect to an online banking service.

8. Disconnect the GPS, bluetooth and WiFi when you aren’t using them and don’t share your location with the apps you have installed.

9. Don’t change the mobile authorizations (Rooting). Rooting puts the security of our data at greater risk. Rooting means acquiring administrative permissions and having complete access to our phone. This privilege is not just for us, but also for the apps that we install, and if they are dangerous or infected, they could have a green light to take whatever information they want.

Following this advice will make your mobile use much more secure.

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