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April 28, 2022
Our mobile devices have become extensions of our lives, from the photos we take, the messages we send, the internet searches we make, and online banking, to the things we need to do in order to manage our workload. Our devices hold entire little worlds that have been tailor-made by us, for us – so if we care about our in-real-life privacy, why wouldn’t we apply that to the very thing that holds some of our most private information?
It’s safe to say, should our mobile devices end up in the wrong hands without the proper safeguarding measures in place to protect them, the results could be disastrous. The first step to knowing how to protect your personal information is to know exactly what it is that needs protecting. Here’s our top 5:
We love to preach about this one! Use a password security key. Simple. This way you can set up strong, unique passwords while saving them (with encryption, of course ) on our mobile devices – a sure-fire way to ensure they are not only super secure and ‘uncrackable’ but also like that you don’t have to try to remember them all.
However, when setting up autofill passwords on web browsers, we need to be extra careful of the accounts we create on different websites. For instance, registering your email, name and passwords on an online medical magazine whose website host is easily hacked could lead to further breaches of your private information.
The best way to prevent this is to ensure that the website you are browsing is in fact a legitimate source. You can read more about spotting a fake website here.
2. Credit Card Numbers & Banking information:
Let’s be honest, the convenience of online shopping has us all under its thumb. And with smartphones now having the option to store your credit/debit card info for quick purchases hasn’t exactly made steering away from this any easier!
But we can all agree that there is a certain risk factor to having our banking information so freely available on our devices – whether it be a stored autofill from our devices, to accounts we have set up on online stores (Amazon Prime, ahem) or streaming services like Netflix, or even using things like Apple Wallet to pay for app subscriptions – we’re putting major trust in companies that could just as easily be hacked as anyone. Luckily, these larger companies do encrypt all of your personal banking information, meaning that no one can see what you have saved on your profile.
But again, this is something important to keep in mind when signing up for autopayments. Before you type in those details, a quick Google search into how these types of companies protect your sensitive info can save you from finding your bank balance completely depleted.
3. Social Security Numbers:
With everything becoming digital, there is no longer a need to do your tax returns or receive your bank statements via postal mail. Now, as convenient (and as great for the environment) this is, there are still a few risks that come into play. Your social security number is linked to some of your most important and highly confidential accounts.
How hackers are able to gain access to your social security number is somewhat simpler than people realize. Hackers use phishing scams to obtain your name, address, email and phone number and once they have access to these they are that much closer to getting your social security number and are then in the position to commit identity fraud.
The best way to ensure your social security number doesn’t get hacked is to simply not give it out to just any old company or organization. Companies like travel agencies, car rentals and loyalty programs do not need this number, so be very wary of ones that do ask for it. The second best is to not carry your social security card around with you unless absolutely necessary, and in those instances, it’s best to keep a keen eye on it as you’re going about your day-to-day. In the event that you find your SSN has been compromised, the first thing you should do is freeze your credit, as this is the most likely thing hackers will go after.
4. Text Messages, Emails and Social Media:
Any hacker worth their salt can easily gain access to your text messages by cloning your mobile device. How they do this is by stealing your SIM cards’ IMEI, ESN or MEID serial numbers – all of which are unique, identifying numbers of your device. These are generally obtained via the deep web, internal leaks or mobile provider system hacks.
Once hackers have these numbers, they “clone” the entirety of your mobile onto another phone in their possession – basically giving them complete control over your device. They are then privy to your private messaging platforms, online banking accounts, emails, social media profiles and photo galleries.
Another (even simpler) approach hackers have to clone your mobile is SIM hijacking. This is a tactic by which hackers gain access to stolen phone numbers or data leaks, which gives them the perfect pathway to impersonate you when calling up mobile network providers who can then give them your SIM or device’s information, which they can then use to unlock a number of your online accounts that are set up with two-factor authentication.
Currently, the only way to prevent this from happening is to call your network carrier and let them know you are concerned that your phone might be cloned. You can then set up a secret PIN with your network provider who will ask for it should you (or, heavens forbid, a hacker) try to switch from one SIM to another. Thereby lessening the chances of a cybercriminal running around with your phone’s identical twin.
5. Names, Locations & Addresses:
If there are three top things that each one of us has stored on our smartphones, it’s our names, physical addresses and current/recent locations. These are generally asked for by a number of apps on both iOS and Android. One of the reasons these apps ask for these is to set up an accurate profile of you while being able to target their advertising to the location you’re in. Not to mention, most of us use mobile GPS to get from place to place, such as Google Maps, or have location tracking set up in the case that we may lose our devices. Even our messaging apps allow users to share their locations with friends or family. These particular apps contain your saved addresses, location history and where you are currently.
Now, third-party tracking is something we all should be aware of, however, the darker side to criminals knowing this information is that it makes it that much easier for them to pinpoint where people are and could give them means to stalk or harass the unsuspecting.
Apart from keeping an eye on which apps are tracking your location, turning off things like Bluetooth, WIFI and location sharing when not in use are some of your best bets to ensure that your current location stays hidden. Of course, this is something that only the most privacy-conscious might consider, but it’s certainly still worth noting just in case.
YEO uses a host of features that helps combat scams, hacks and phishing attacks. Our messaging app is always fully encrypted and uses YEO Mode (our patented facial recognition feature) to verify each one of our users before they can view messages and must be used to sign in to your account. YEO also houses a Geofencing feature so that you know your ultra-confidential messages can only be read in certain locations, has a Burn After Reading feature that allows users to either set timers to their messages or opt to have them self-destruct after being viewed and enforces a strict no screenshots policy.
By using one or a combination of these features to share your private messages, files and images, you are in complete control of what happens to your content as soon as you hit send – giving you ultimate power over your privacy.
Ready to see how YEO helps keep your personal information private? Download YEO now.