Adam Adler: 2021 Guide to smartphone cybersecurity
Adam Adler (Miami, FL): Criminals and hackers are finding more and more complex methods to obtain your personal information, from using Spyware to steal your keystrokes, to using weaknesses in unsecured public WiFi networks to gain access to your smartphone.
This means they could blackmail you or steal your money directly from your bank account.
But in order to truly understand the security measures you can take, which we will cover later in this article, first, you must understand the nature of the threats to your mobile security.
In this article we will be giving you:
Helpful hints and tips on how to keep your mobile phone safe and secure
What the hackers can do
What it is they’re after
You’ll soon see why it’s so important to keep your smartphone privacy as secure as possible.
There are well-publicized strategies that hackers can use to obtain your personal information from your mobile phone.
What do the statistics tell us?
It’s scary when you see the hacking threat in the cold light of statistics. Here’s some to really make you think (Figures based on the U.S.A.):
A Hack Attack every 39 Seconds
300,000 new Malware created every day
Your Hacked Bank Account details could be purchased for as little as $3 on the Dark Web
What types of personal data are stolen?
All this will lead to asking if the hackers are going to such lengths to gain access to people’s smartphones, what data and information are they trying to get their hands on and what can they use it for?
Smartphone security and privacy protocols are there to protect a wide range of information. This includes, but is not limited to, a user’s:
Location / Address
All Passwords including access to Bank Accounts
Photos / Videos
Social Media Account Logins
So, why would they want this information from your smartphone? There is no one definitive answer to this question.
There are variables in each and every case and it also depends on the hacker.
Methods used to steal personal data:
Riskware – This is where an app leaks personal data and information to their advertisers or organized criminal gangs as a result of the wide-ranging permissions given by the user.
Malware – This is a term used to describe a type of malicious software that will include tools used by hackers such as viruses and spyware. These will then affect your smartphone in a way that will help the hackers harvest your personal information or even trigger charges.
Madware – A shortened term Mobile Adware, it is a new word developed to describe programs that obtain a range of data that help to target you with more personalized online adverts, however, they are often downloaded and installed without the user's permission.
Spyware – Spyware is a type of software that, when activated, can obtain users' information and data which can include keyloggers which allow the hackers to steal usernames and passwords.
Phishing – These particular Apps work in a similar way as the old phishing emails that used to circulate by harvesting the information you put into an app believing it is genuine when it is in fact not.
Grayware – Grayware is normally not seen as particularly malicious, however, it can highlight a user’s privacy issues.
Browser Exploits – These are when known mobile browsers' security weaknesses are abused.
Spoofing – These networks are set up in public places and are designed to look like genuine wi-fi networks but can be used by hackers to steal information and data by encouraging the users to reveal their login information.
Unsecured Wi-Fi – These are a well-known weakness when using a mobile phone. Any public network that has been compromised by a hacker can provide them with access to a user’s personal data which is stored on their smartphone.
Lost / Stolen Smartphone – It can be possible for a criminal to gain access to a lost or stolen smartphone to be able to then steal and use the personal information held on it.
As can be seen from the above list of potential smartphone security threats, there is a great deal to consider when trying to mitigate the risks they pose.
Personal smartphone security and privacy hack
Some hackers simply want to cause trouble. They look to gain access to smartphones in order to either damage them beyond repair or damage them to the point that only a complete reinstall will cure the problem. Either way, the smartphone security breach was attacked simply because they can and for fun.
Others seek to collect intimate details about the user’s life in order to gain money from them by blackmailing them and threatening to expose them to friends, family, or their employers.
In an alternative approach to blackmail, the hackers are able to obtain sufficient information to be able to contact the user’s phone company.
They then have the number ported over to a new phone rendering the old phone useless. It will be at this point that the blackmail would come in to have the phone control returned.
In addition, with the rising use of E-Wallets on smartphones, hackers are simply after the money. The common approach they use is to convince a user to download an App, which they believe to be genuine, then enter their card and payment details.
At this point, the information can be collected and the hacker can use the information to charge the user’s bank cards.
Business and political smartphone security
Business smartphone security is definitely not exempt from a hacker’s sight. Along with the reasons mentioned above. Businesses are sometimes targeted to eavesdrop on Company Executives to obtain trade and product secrets or as part of a wider Corporate Espionage campaign.
It has been long thought that the threat to business organizations doesn’t always come from rogue hackers looking to make some money.
Large businesses can sometimes become the target of a state-backed hack looking for trade or manufacturing secrets that will help them undermine their market.
In addition, the state-backed cyberattacks can be leveled directly at a nation’s political system, so undermining the validity of a national or regional vote and therefore destabilizing the democratic system.
Ways to protect your smartphone from being hacked
So, what steps can you take to improve your smartphone security and privacy?
Now we’re going to take a look at some hints and tips to help you make the changes you need.
No matter which smartphone you use, you need to ensure that you keep the OS up to date with all the very latest versions. It is worth considering which manufacturers provide the longest support packages and their track record of being able to release a new update when a new threat has been discovered.
The updates will patch any flaws that have been exploited by hackers and will fix any other bugs that have been found. This will help form part of your defense against a cyberattack.
Although this additional security measure may seem a bit of a hassle, it is well worth adding to your security procedures.
By generating a time-limited code that is sent to you via text, it makes sure your identity is double-checked before allowing access to your smartphone. It really does make it much more difficult for hackers to gain access to your smartphone.
Public WiFi, Bluetooth, and charge points
Quite simply, do not use an unprotected public WiFi or charge point if at all possible, and turn off your Bluetooth and WiFi when they are not in use.
All of these actions provide the hacker with a route into your phone. Whilst these public connections seem to make life much easier, it is best to avoid their use if at all possible. It’s one less thing the hacker can exploit.
Encrypt your password storage
High-level encryption is important throughout the whole of the security and privacy of your smartphone.
Ensuring that your passwords remain tightly secured forms a part of that. Before you purchase any new device, it will be worth checking how it has been developed with regards to encrypting your personal data and how that data is stored.
A classic mistake that has been made by many is assuming that any data or information stored on their iCloud accounts are safe. This is certainly not always the case.
For example, the Blackphone PRIVY has end to end encryption for all communications and any data files are held in encrypted storage.
If the worst happens and your phone is either lost or stolen, not only is the Blackphone PRIVY unhackable, it also has a device wipe facility meaning that your sensitive data will not fall into the wrong hands.
Use of Virtual Private Networks (VPN)
Using a VPN will provide the user with a secured private network over the internet. It provides the ability to send and receive data securely using a public network but without unauthorized people being able to gain access or see the communication.
The VPN means that the user is given a temporary IP address, hiding the real IP address and thus keeps everything anonymous. Essentially it delivers an additional level of protection for your mobile communication.
There are a number of VPN providers out there with varying degrees of security and reliability. However, the Blackphone PRIVY uses military level encryption, and a totally secure network that will mean every aspect of your smartphone security and privacy remains safe.
Always lock your screen
It may seem like an obvious statement, but it really is an important element for the overall security of your smartphone.
Most have a setting that means it will automatically lock after a designated period of time where the phone has not been used. It is important that this setting is not too long, in case the phone is lost or stolen while unlocked.
Check what permissions you’ve given
Many people are in the habit of downloading Apps and simply granting the permissions requested by that App without actually checking what it is they are signing up to.
It is important for the security and privacy of your personal data to check what permissions you have given to each App and change them (or delete the App completely) if those permissions mean the transfer of any personal data.
Be sure the Apps are genuine
There are many Apps available that seem to be a version of the most popular Apps but are in fact unofficial versions that may be hiding more sinister motives.
If you are certain you want to download third-party Apps on to your smartphone, double-check they are the genuine version first and not a rip off version that could compromise your smartphone security.
The Blackphone PRIVY only uses Apps that have been screened for safety and are all placed in separate sandboxes on the phone to separate them from all sensitive information, be that personal or business.
If you take 3 things away from this, here are the absolute must-dos:
Always use Two Factor Authentication
Always use encrypted hardware and software
NEVER download Apps from unknown developers
Adam Adler (Miami, Florida) is a Cyber Defense & Cyber Warfare Advisor, as well as Chairman of the Board for Digital Bank Vault. A long time entrepreneur with over 18 years of experience all at top-level management and ownership, Mr. Adler has focused his recent years on Cyber Security and defending our youth online. DBV has developed a proprietary encryption method that continues Adam’s mantra of “Privacy is Priceless”. DigitalBank Vault provides impenetrable defensive cyber solutions for Keyless End to End Encrypted, Peer to Peer, mobile, and computer communications. Adam and DigitalBank Vault have constructed new & disruptive cyber defense technologies to solve many privacy issues commonly found online and defend against unwanted intrusion.
Adam Adler (Miami, Florida) received a scholarship to play tennis at the University of South Carolina and graduated in 2007 Magna Cum Laude from USC, double majoring in Sports & Entertainment Management and Business. In 2005, Adam became an All American with his teammates at USC. Mr. Adler participated in the NCAA Indoor Championships in Seattle, WA as well as the NCAA Championships every year of his college career at USC. He and his team achieved a team high ranking of #8. Prior to attending USC, Adam was a highly-ranked junior tennis player from the age of 10 to 18. Adam began playing poker in his free time and quickly became entrenched in the game, studying hours a day. Adam traveled around the country playing in some of the highest stakes No Limit and Pot Limit Omaha cash games in the world. Adam has made multiple World Series of Poker Final Tables, with his most notable finish coming in 2018 with a runner-up finish in the $10,000 Turbo Event. Adam has won millions of dollars in both cash game and tournament poker over the last 15 years.
Adam Adler (Miami, Florida) is currently managing The Adler Fund, investing in cybersecurity, real-estate, emerging growth companies, cannabis, and biotechnology. Adam has recently started the Adler Agency, a sports management company with several of the world’s top, mid and lower-tier tennis players and select athletes across multiple sports. The Adler Agency focuses on bringing its clients revolutionary and out-of-the-box opportunities other agencies simply do not have access to. The Adler Agency is launching a world-class tennis academy and training facility in Charleston, SC at the beginning of 2021 to provide its players and others from around the world the opportunity to train and play with the sport’s best.