Smartphones are one of the best inventions of the 20th century. Alongside offering tons of brilliant and unique features, it is also a potential way to spy on your personal life. Yes, unfortunately, you heard that right.
There are many ways by which snoopers or hackers can access your personal data. And it is scary to think that someone might quietly watch everything you do online.
This article lays out the ways through which your smartphone can track and spy on you, as well as the various tactics via which one can block them off. Some of these methods are slightly technical in nature but don’t worry. We have covered each technique in sufficient detail to help you understand how they work and how they affect your privacy.
Let’s get started!
Pay attention to app permissions
When you install an application from Google Play Store, it asks you for a number of Android app permissions like camera access, location access, and many more. You need to ensure that the app you are downloading does not ask for unnecessary permissions.
If an app asks for more than it should, don’t download it (or refuse to grant the permissions). It might be better to find another similar app that has fewer or no permissions required. For example, Instagram is sure to ask you for camera access permissions, but a simple game will have no reason to demand it.
The power of passcode
It may seem a bit odd, but the people close to you can do more damage to you than an unknown hacker. One of the key loopholes can be your phone’s or laptop’s passcode. If it is a weak passcode, you can leave yourself vulnerable to snoopers.
In case your device is lost or stolen, the first thing a thief will try to do is get access to your personal data and contacts. Setting a strong passcode on your device can help thwart them from doing so. To set a new password, ensure that you use at least 6 characters that are a mix of numbers, alphanumeric, and special characters.
Also, family members or close friends could be interested in tracking your activities. Thus, they could secretly install spyware into your Android device. The recommendation is to keep a strong passcode and avoid leaving your phone unattended.
Check location sharing
There are many features in your phone that help you track your phone if it is lost. However, they can also be used by snoopers to track your location.
If you are using an app on your phone that is enabled to share the location, it will leave a trail of breadcrumbs for any snooper to find out your location. Disable such location tracking as soon as possible.
Of course, certain apps do need your location to function (hello, ride-hailing apps). But many apps that require your location have no practical use for it. Thus, always ensure that your location remains a private ordeal. As a bonus, try to avoid posting your location on social media. Wait several hours until you are no longer in a specific spot. Only then it is safe to post your whereabouts for all your social media friends to see. It might seem like overkill, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
Check logged-in accounts in Google Chrome
Google Chrome has this feature to add multiple accounts in it for user convenience. You might be using your account but if another user has logged in to your phone at some time, he or she can hack it to check your browser history, usernames, and passwords.
Hence, it is necessary to check who else is logged into your phone except for you. You can do this by going to Settings and then Account. After that, you can choose the account you want to remove and tap on ‘sign out and turn off sync.’
Use a VPN
Deciding to initiate a VPN download and connect to secure servers is one of the most effective ways to keep your web interactions safe from unauthorized access. Now, what a VPN does is divert all the traffic coming from your phone to one of its servers in the selected location. The server encrypts all the traffic and sends it to the respective destination. The same process follows when the data is received by your phone or laptop. Thus, this reduces the chances of data getting stolen in transit and will prevent entities from tracking your location through IP address.
You might think that hacking your phone is the only way to breach privacy. However, hackers will often target accounts associated with your phone to get access to all your private data, whether it is iOS or Android.
Thankfully, tech masters have created an easy-to-use service called two-factor authentication (2FA). It means they would need both your password and a special code sent by text message before being able to log into your account. So, even if the snooper has your username and password, they cannot hack into your account.
Your smartphone is a great and asset, which contains many records of your personal life and even access to your financial accounts. Therefore, it is your sole responsibility to keep it safe all the time. Ensure that you follow all the described methods to ensure complete data security and privacy. Further, invest in a good VPN to safeguard your web activity. Additionally, always be aware of the applications installed. For instance, if your device becomes infected, some suspicious tools could find a way into your gadget.