5 Smartphone Privacy Tips You Need to Know!

Smartphone Privacy Tips Header

We’re basically on our smartphones from our waking moment up to when we sleep. This amazing piece of technology brought a lot of changes in how we live our lives. However, all these changes came with a lot of ways for hackers and other bad actors to get your personal information. With that in mind, here are 5 tips I can give you to help improve your smartphone privacy.

STOP Using Text Messages/SMS for Two-Factor Authentication

Smartphone Privacy Tips - 2FA

Thanks to the pandemic, we’re basically doing a lot more things online. This prompted a lot of apps and online services to use two-factor authentication (2FA) to secure users’ accounts. The most common use of this is getting OTP (one-time password) codes. Because of its convenience, people tend to be okay with receiving OTP codes through SMS. This may seem fine, but they can be vulnerable to SIM swapping or SIM duplication attacks. In the event you lose your phone, it’ll be a lot more inconvenient for you to change the number for every single app or service you use.

Authenticator App

One suggestion I can give you is to use an authenticator app. Instead of receiving texts, you just open the authenticator app and see the OTP/2FA codes pop up there. All you need to do is get a QR code from the app or service that requires 2FA, then scan it with your authenticator app. There are many authenticator apps to choose from, and most of them are free. Here is a list of some of the best ones. Note that not all apps and services support the use o

Check Your Microphone and Cameras!

If we’re more conscious that anyone can be looking at us through our webcams, then we should be conscious of the cameras and microphones of our phones! Recent versions of iOS and Android already have indicators for both the camera and microphone when in use.

Audit App Permissions

Related to the previous tip, you should also consider checking all the permissions of the apps you have on your phone. Both iOS and Android now have privacy reports where you can find out how often apps use aspects of your phone such as location, camera, microphone, and network activity.

On iOS, you can see those reports by going to Settings -> Privacy & Security -> App Privacy Report. Meanwhile, head to Settings -> Privacy -> Privacy dashboard on Android.

Keep Sensitive Notifications off the Lock Screen

You never know who snoops around and checks your phone once in a while. You may have notifications that you don’t want other people to see but can be seen on the lock screen! These days, you can hide those notifications by either not showing the contents or just keeping it in the notification window after unlocking your phone.

Use a STRONG Passcode

Smartphone Privacy Tips - Passcode

Lastly, we should just stop using numeric passcodes on our phones. No matter how long the passcode is, there’s always a chance that hackers eventually get it through brute force. Both iOS and Android let you use an alphanumeric passcode, so you can make it as long as your Facebook password if you want.

That’s it for my 5 smartphone privacy tips! Any more you’d like to share? Sound off in the comments!

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