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Home / Tips and Tricks / Your phone's biggest security weakness is its computer science – How to unlock «Android :: Gadget Hacks

Your phone's biggest security weakness is its computer science – How to unlock «Android :: Gadget Hacks

After many scandals such as Equifax's data breach and the 2016 US election, cyber security has become an important problem for the Americans. Unfortunately, when we use our devices, we are open to a cyber attack ̵

1; especially when we surf the web. However, there are ways that we can make it harder for hackers and data winners.

The biggest security weakness in your smartphone is its data connection – unfortunately, all devices with always internet connection in themselves will pose a risk. Although there are no foolproof methods, using the following suggestions, you can better protect yourself against Russian hackers, big data or even a nosy spouse.

Step 1: Get a VPN

Perhaps the best way to improve your defense while browsing the web is to use a VPN. A VPN (or Virtual Private Network ) can offer two important security features: encryption and privacy.

With the correct VPN, all data is encrypted during transit. Think of it like this: instead of running your data in a regular car, it is now traveling in an armored car. It may be slower, but it will be much harder for someone to access it while traveling from your phone to any site you visit.

The other feature that a VPN provides is privacy. Your IP address corresponds to your home address. Just as the post office uses your mailing address to send letters, your IP address is used by your network to move data between your device and the internet. Without VPN it is easy for someone to get your IP address for a direct attack on your smartphone.

How a VPN works. Image of CyberGhost VPN / YouTube

VPNs create a secure tunnel between your Android device and the server (or router) that provides the VPN service. This server acts as a buffer between you and the internet. Imagine every time you send a letter, you give it to the postman, who places the letter in another envelope that marks the sender as himself. Now, if someone comes across the letter, they would think it came from the postman and not you.

VPN works the same way. When sending data to the Internet, it goes through a secure server first before on the web, which marks the traffic as if it originated from the VPN server. Now if a package is intercepted by a malicious device, they will not have your IP address, but the VPN instead.

With the 2017 decision of the FCC to effectively stop Net Neutrality, privacy is more important than ever. Internet service providers (Internet service providers) again have control over all data that runs through their networks and can do what they consider appropriate.

As the story has shown, ISPs will regulate traffic based on the type of websites you visit or the services you use. With a VPN your ISP does not see which websites you visit – all it sees is an encrypted connection between you and your VPN. Therefore, your ISP cannot downgrade your Netflix movie quality or block your device from a particular service. It cannot effectively register your browsing history to sell to companies. If your ISP does not block VPN traffic (which is possible), it is one of the only ways to surf the web privately and freely.

There are many excellent VPN services in the Play Store, but my personal favorite is NordVPN, as it provides a great balance between security and speed. NordVPN uses the highest encryption method to protect your data and has over 2,400 servers in 56 countries, allowing it to maintain fast speeds while doing so.

Step 2: Start using a password manager

With so many different accounts is it difficult to come up with a unique and creative password for each one. Unfortunately, weak passwords are one of the leading ways in which hackers get access to personal information. Whether your password is found by a brute force attack or something like one of Yahoo's data violations, if you used the password on other sites, those accounts are now compromised as well.

So the best practice is to use a different password for each account and to make sure those passwords are all random alphanumeric combinations that use special characters. However, obscure passwords like these are difficult to memorize once, even less for every internet account you have. Password Manager solves this problem.

A good password should look like this.

With a password manager, you just need to memorize a password to access a database of all your other passwords. When you create a new account, you use the password manager to create a password, choose from a number of criteria to fit both the requirements of the website and make the safest password possible. Now that you enter that site or app, you can fill in your password by copying it from the database.

LastPass is one of the best password handlers available on the Play Store. It is one of the only password handlers that allows you to fill in your information automatically. Not only is auto-filling convenient, but it also provides security from hackers. If a hacker gets access to your device, they can use key logging, which records each key you press on the screen – but with autofill there are no keys to log.

LastPass also stores the password database on your device, which prevents anyone from listening to it if stored remotely. It also uses the highest encryption protocols to protect your database and allows the use of both two-factor authentication (with both a password and a temporary PIN by text or email) and fingerprint authentication to better protect your database.

Step 3: Install a secure browser

Chrome is an excellent browser For ease of use and fast performance, however, if you want to protect yourself from external threats, we recommend that you change the default browser. Using a secure browser is important, as most browsers by default try to balance security and speed with great emphasis on speed. Web browsers also accommodate companies that want to sell you ads. However, these accommodations can be used to damage you as well.

Cookies are small text files sent by web servers to help you identify and personalize your experience on a web page. For example, Amazon and eBay can recommend products using cookies. However, these cookies can be changed to allow unauthorized access to your smartphone.

Websites use trackers that monitor websites each time you view a page. These trackers report information to a server so that the companies have a better understanding of their customers. They are used to improve the experience and adapt your vision (cookies are sometimes used as a tracker). But they can also be used for harmful purposes.

Although you can manually disable cookies and trackers in Chrome, there is a browser that does so by default. Therefore, we recommend Firefox Focus.

With Firefox Focus, Mozilla has created a browser that focuses on security and speed, but emphasizes safety. Almost all trackers are blocked by default, with only those that can interfere with display of the allowed web page. Websites are also prevented from opening a malicious site in another tab without you knowing.

With all this blocking, it is one of the fastest web browsers in the Play Store, as it does not need to load ads when it loads pages (which usually takes some time). And when you close Firefox Focus, all cookies and your browsing history are deleted. So, if you decide to watch more, um, Christmas gift ideas, don't worry about someone seeing your activities.

When using Firefox Focus, we also recommend that you change the default search engine. With Firefox Focus open, tap the three vertical dots in the upper right corner and select "Settings". From there, scroll down to the section Search and select the first option and then switch to DuckDuckGo. DuckDuckGo is the only search engine on the list that does not collect search results information.

Step 4: Take care of the small things

In addition to the apps As we discussed just now, we have some more recommendations to improve internet security. The first is to use HTTPS as often as possible. The most popular sites will all redirect you to the HTTPS version of their website, but if you happen to hit a site without it, do not enter Personally Identifiable Information.

HTTPS provides encrypted communication between your smartphone and the site's server. Although the encryption is not the highest level to ensure that speed is not significantly reduced, it provides some protection where HTTP offers none. A VPN addresses this by providing encryption using the best standards currently available. However, the use of HTTPS is still good.

Note "https" at the beginning of the URL.

Our second recommendation is to avoid using public Wi-Fi, as they are insecure networks that are susceptible to cyber attacks. It can be easily used by a malicious agent to teach your IP address and attack your device.

Public and unsecured networks can also be spoofed, which is when a hacker creates a fake Wi-Fi hotspot that shares the same SSID as the public Wi-Fi. Therefore, when you connect to the network, you think you're using the general Wi-Fi network, but are actually connected to a hacker's machine that sends all of your data to them. As the first recommendation, VPN provides protection, but it is a good exercise to follow.

Unprotected Wi-Fi networks will not have the lock icon next to them.

Finally, be careful about the websites you visit. Try to stick to popular sites instead of hidden. Avoid links to websites from people you do not know, and make sure you write site names correctly. A known tactic of hackers (called "phishing") records a site name for common spelling errors associated with a popular site (eg "goggle.com").

If you stumble upon a phishing attempt, instead of going to the site you want, you are targeted to the hacker's site, which can be designed to look exactly like the popular one. You think you are on the popular website, so when you log in, send your username and password to the hacker.

These recommendations do not completely prevent you from a cyber attack, but they will surely go a long way. In the end, the goal is to safely surf the web while keeping your information and history private. So, if you are afraid of hackers or if you do not want your significant other to see your web history, these recommendations should start well.

This article has been produced under the Gadget Hack's special privacy privacy for smartphones and security.

Don't miss: 13 ways to keep your Android device safe

Cover image via Manuel / Pexels, screenshots of Jon Knight / Gadget Hacks

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