November 22, 2019 - 8:00am -- collins.1703

 

 

Who is tracking you?

by Pat Brinkman

Picture of a cell phone.

Is your cell phone at risk of someone accessing it? Our phones have contacts, pictures, videos, directions, social media links, banking, and all kinds of other information. I recently went to The Ohio State University's Cybersecurity day. I learned it is not hard for hackers to get information off our phones, but the following steps will make your phone less of a target:

  • Be sure your phone camera is not Geo Tagging your pictures with the location and date, especially if you post to social media. 
  • Use fingerprint reader on phone.
  • Use two factor authentications (Google Authenticator).
  • Use a program that makes up passwords for you as it best to have a crazy random password.
  • Don’t reuse passwords.
  • Enable a passcode or PIN to access your phone (at least six digits).
  • Enable auto lock (when you are not actively using your phone it will lock in 5 minutes or whatever you set the time for it to lock).
  • Enable auto-wipe.
  • Enable the “Find your phone” or “Find your device” feature.
  • Delete apps you don’t use.
  • Delete accounts you don’t need.
  • Verify apps before downloading. Use App Store or Google Play to get apps.  

Be careful if you access public WIFI. This can put you at risk if it is not a secure WIFI, leaving you to vulnerable to hackers monitoring your activities. It is best to put a “vpn” app on your phone to use in those circumstances. However, be careful about free “vpn” apps. 

The Ohio
Attorney General
has some additional tips: 

  • Shut off Bluetooth and WIFI when not in use or you are out in public. Other electronic devices can connect wirelessly with your phone through Bluetooth. If you have your Bluetooth or WIFI turned on some stores and other places have tracked people’s movements when people are in range. 
  • Be sure to update your phone and apps when updates are available.
  • Use an antivirus app.
  • If you are not sure about a text message, a call or email don’t answer or click. 

To be secure anywhere putting your phone on “Airplane mode” is the safest according to some cybersecurity people. “Big Brother” may be listening and/or watching. Protect your privacy.

Author: Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension

Reviewer: Misty Harmon, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension

References:

Dave Yost, Ohio Attorney General, (2019). Protect Your
Apps:  How to Make Your Smartphone More
Secure, available at https://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/Files/Publications-Files/Publications-for-Consumers/CHIPP-Stay-Safe-in-Cyberspace

Federal Commerce Commission, (2015).  Ten Steps to Smartphone Security, Available
at https://www.fcc.gov/sites/default/files/smartphone_master_document.pdf