Category: Mobile Security

How To Keep Your Information Safe On Black Friday & Cyber Monday

How To Keep Your Information Safe On Black Friday & Cyber Monday

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Survival Guide

Thinking of spending Black Friday on the couch this year instead of camping out at your local Walmart? Well then, you probably already know that most retailers are expanding their in-store Black Friday deals to include their online stores as well. But before you decide to do all your holiday shopping online, there are a few things you should do to ensure your information is well protected. Here are a few tips to help get you started.

Use A Reputable Payment Service

How To Keep Your Information Safe On Black Friday & Cyber Monday
Payment service providers make online shopping safer and less of a hassle

There are many payment service providers on the market today. Some of the most popular ones include Paypal, Apple Pay, Mastercard’s Masterpass, and Visa Checkout. There are many reasons why you should consider using one of these services. The most important one being; you don’t have to enter your credit card information every time you buy from a new website. The payment service will essentially act as your credit card, ensuring that your information stays safe even in the event of a future data breach. In addition to this, using these services will make it far easier to purchase from multiple sites. You won’t have to take the time to enter your credit card information, you just log into your payment service account and checkout.

Shop On Safe & Secure Websites

How To Keep Your Information Safe On Black Friday & Cyber Monday
Before you enter any personal information, make sure the website you’re on is secure

One of the most important tips to follow while shopping online is to ensure that the site you are purchasing from is legitimate. Before you even make it onto the payment page, look for signs that the website is secured. You can verify the security of a website by looking in the top left corner of your web browser. Search for a green padlock to the left of the address bar, or for the HTTPS attached to the URL. Finding either of these will let you know that the website you’re currently on is secure.

Proceed With Caution

How To Keep Your Information Safe On Black Friday & Cyber Monday
Be vigilant and keep a lookout for anything suspicious this holiday season

While shopping online this holiday season, be on the look out for fake retailer apps, email scams, and “too good to be true” offers. Each year, scams such as these flood the internet, hoping to cash in on shopping craze. If you choose to go the app route, make sure you download it through your smartphone’s official app store. The majority of apps you’ll find here are safe to download, however, you should still make sure it’s official. Look for misspellings in both the title of the app and on the description page, as these are potential signs of a fake app.

This same tip applies to spam emails which are commonplace throughout the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend. These emails are filled with incredible deals that are designed to peak the interest of whoever opens them. Do not be fooled however, these fraudulent emails are designed to entice you to click their many links. Once you click through the email, you will be lead to a fake website designed to steal your information. There are a few things you can do to spot these fake emails. For one, most of them will be filled with misspellings. You can also hover your mouse over any links in the email to see their destination. If the URL seems to be suspicious, avoid clicking through any of the links on the email.

These few tips should help you secure your information this shopping season. Do you have any tips you would like to see included in this article? Let us know by leaving a comment.

Related: How To Secure Your Connected Devices And Personal Information

 

 

 

Here’s How You Can Protect Your Social Media Accounts

Here’s How You Can Protect Your Social Media Accounts

Protecting Your Social Media Accounts

In today’s connected world, social media has become a major part of our lives. In fact, the majority of adults in the US use social media on a daily basis. Unfortunately, not everyone uses social media for catching up with friends and sharing cat videos. Whether it be hackers trying to remotely access your information, or a suspicious partner hoping to catch a cheater in the act, social media is usually the first place they turn to as well.

With so much of our personal information being uploaded and shared on these social media platforms, how can we be sure that our information is secure? In truth, the only way to completely secure your information would be to refrain from uploading it in the first place. That being said, there are some ways you can protect the data you deem appropriate to put online. Here are a few helpful tips.

Secure Your Logins

Here's How You Can Protect Your Social Media Accounts
Securing your login information is the first step in protecting your online accounts

Setting up your login credentials in a secure way is going to be your first line of defense against the most common online threats. During account creation, most platforms will ask to use your email address as your username. While this isn’t a security risk on its own, using the same email address or account name across multiple platforms can be.  To combat this, try using a separate username and password for each of your social media accounts. That way, if one of your accounts is hacked, you can be sure that the rest are safe.

Password strength is another factor to consider while you’re securing your social media accounts. Most social media platforms will provide security tips or grade you on the strength of your password. These requirements, while somewhat useful, are based upon old guidelines that aren’t as effective today. Instead of following these guidelines, try using long phrases containing random words for your passwords. This will not only help you create a strong password, but it will also make that password far easier to remember.

Two-Factor Authentication

Here's How You Can Protect Your Social Media Accounts
Smartphones often use two-factor authentication to help verify in-app purchases

If you feel the need for enhanced security on your social media accounts, you should consider activating two-factor authentication. Just about every social media platform has an option to turn on this security feature. If you’ve never used two-factor authentication before, the process is quite simple. You start by signing into your account as you normally would. After entering the correct information, you will receive a notification on your smartphone. Simply verify your login attempt and you will be granted access to your account. This will prevent anyone signing in on a foreign device from accessing your account.

Are you already following some of these tips? Have a few that you would like to add? Leave a comment for us in the section below!

Related: You Are Being Watched: How Harvard Used Social Media Monitoring To Rescind 10 Student Admissions

 

Can Two Factor Authentication Replace The Need For Passwords?

Can Two Factor Authentication Replace The Need For Passwords?

The Problem With Passwords

Think back to the last online account you’ve created. Whether it was for a new social media platform or an online forum, chances are you were asked to create a password. A common misconception about passwords is that they need to contain random numbers and special characters to be considered “strong.” In fact, most websites won’t even let you finish creating an account until your password is strong enough. In reality though, following these password recommendations could result in an easy to crack password. Now, security researchers are suggesting the use of long phrases as a replacement, however, there is still an issue with this as well.

While remembering a single, long phrase is easy to do, trying to remember a separate one for each of your online accounts can become confusing. And if you choose to use the same phrase for each of your online accounts, you’ll be putting them all at risk in the event of another data breach. Luckily, passwords are not the only way to secure online accounts.

Can Two Factor Authentication Replace The Need For Passwords?
Would you consider using alternative methods of account verification over passwords?

Biometrics As A Password Replacement

Biometric scanning is a relatively new alternative to the standard password. And thanks to popular smartphones such as the iPhone X and Galaxy S8, biometric scanning has gone mainstream. From fingerprint readers to facial recognition software, there are multiple ways in which you can choose to protect your devices as well as your online accounts.

Biometric scans are not without their own faults however. For instance, this past week a flight from Doha to Bali was grounded after a woman discovered her husband had been cheating on her. How did she find out? She had used her husband’s finger to unlock his smartphone while he was sleeping. While that’s certainly one way to catch a cheater, it does raise some concerns about the use of biometric scanning as the primary way to access sensitive information.

The Fast Identity Online Alliance

What we need is a way to combine the convenience of biometric scanning with stronger security. This is where the FIDO (Fast Identity Online) Alliance comes in. The FIDO Alliance is an authentication standard that is quickly growing in popularity among the world’s tech giants. Adopted by Android and iOS devices, along with popular browsers such as Firefox and Google Chrome, the FIDO Alliance looks to enhance the standard username and password experience. They offer multiple authentication options, including password-less login and second-factor verification. The password-less experience allows you to use your preferred biometric scan (usually done through your smartphone) as a way to access your online accounts.

But if you’re truly concerned about the security of your online accounts, you can use FIDO’s two factor authentication process instead. This authentication method takes account security to the next level by adding a USB security key to the login process. That way if someone were to try and remotely access your accounts, they would require your physical USB security key to do so.

What is your take on the future of the password? Do you think biometric scanning is strong enough to replace passwords altogether? Let us know below!

Related: Does The iPhone X Face ID Pose A Security Threat?

 

Does The iPhone X Face ID Pose A Security Threat?

Does The iPhone X Face ID Pose A Security Threat?

On September 12, 2017, Apple announced the next generation smartphone, the iPhone X. As a result of this announcement, many of the rumored features of the device were verified, including wireless charging, a fully edge-to-edge OLED display, and, perhaps most notably, facial recognition.

Facial Recognition Makes Its Way Onto The iPhone X

Does The iPhone’s Face I.D. Pose A Security Threat?
The new iPhone’s Face I.D. is without a doubt convenient, but at what cost?

Similar to Touch ID (the fingerprint scanner of past generations), Apple’s facial recognition software has been named “Face ID.” The process works by scanning an individual’s face with a specially designed infrared sensor. Once a match has been made to the owner of the device, the phone will unlock. The iPhone X Face ID can also be used to verify purchases made on the Apple store and other third-party apps. However, Face ID will not protect your device from online threats, such as malicious software. That being said, it is important to take the appropriate measures to ensure your personal safety and data protection. If you happen to receive a suspicious text or email after making a purchase to a third-party vendor using Face ID, use a person search tool to verify the sender’s identity before you open the message or click on any links within it.

While facial recognition is a new feature for Apple’s iPhone, other smartphones have been using this technology for years now. However, not all facial recognition software is created equal. For instance, Apple’s Face ID uses its infrared sensor to cast 30,000 dots on the user’s face. This allows the iPhone X to perform a quick 3D analysis of the individual’s physical features. This is incredibly important when it comes to device security. For instance, it will prevent a 2D image, such as a simple photograph of the owner’s face, from unlocking the phone. This same issue that has plagued other smartphones utilizing facial recognition software.

Similar to how Touch ID works, Face ID will not store a complete image of the user’s face. Instead, it will save that information in an encrypted, mathematical form. So even if someone were to gain access to the device, they would not be able to reconstruct an image of the user’s face from the saved data. This data will only be stored locally on the device in a special processing unit called the “Secure Enclave.” The information stored here cannot be uploaded to the cloud. That way, not even Apple will have access to it. All of this effort is put into place to make Face ID as secure as humanly (and digitally) possible.

While Apple has seemingly taken every precaution into account, there are still some issues that cannot be avoided. Let’s take a look at some of the potential security concerns that come along with using facial recognition.

Face ID Security Concerns

Does The iPhone’s Face ID Pose A Security Threat?
Can Face ID protect your phone from potential hackers?

While Apple’s Face ID may be a more secure method of locking your phone than other biometric scanners, there is still one major risk. According to U.S. law, biometric scans are not protected under the fifth amendment. Under normal circumstances, an authority figure cannot force you to unlock your phone. However, in the event that your phone has been locked via biometric scan, authorities can then force you to unlock your device. For this reason alone, a password is a far more secure method of unlocking your phone than any other method.

Apple has also stated that an identical twin, or sibling who closely resembles you, may be able to trick Face ID into unlocking. The closer the genetic relationship to the owner, the more likely that individual will be able to access the device through facial recognition. In addition to this, the iPhone Face ID should not be used by any children under the age of 13. This is because the majority of their distinctive features have yet to become fully developed. Their facial features also have the potential to change drastically over a short period of time, which could end up locking them out of their phones.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that it took only two weeks for hackers to bypass touch ID on the iPhone 6. While it’s far too early to say whether a similar situation may arise for the iPhone X’s Face ID, it’s a possibility.

If nothing else, the iPhone X Face ID will certainly be an upgrade over Touch ID in terms of security. However, the jury is still out on whether biometric scans can protect your phone as securely as a strong password. Once the general public gets their hands on the iPhone X, we should know more about this issue.

Are you thinking of picking up your own iPhone X when it launches? If so, are you going to use the new Face ID or stick to the traditional password? Let us know by replying below!

Related Article: 3 Smartphone Scams Everyone Should Beware Of

Update (11/13/2017): Researchers at the Vietnamese security firm Bkav have discovered a way to trick the iPhone X’s facial recognition software into unlocking the device using a specially crafted mask. According to the researchers, it took approximately $150 worth of materials (along with a 3d printer) to produce the mask. They also acknowledged the fact that the average consumer should not worry about this finding due to the time and effort required to create the mask. That being said, it does go to show that Apple’s facial recognition software is not as infallible as originally thought.

3 Smartphone Scams Everyone Should Beware Of

3 Smartphone Scams Everyone Should Beware Of

3 Smartphone Scams Everyone Should Beware Of

These days, almost all men, women, and even many children have cell phones. They are excellent for communication purposes like staying in touch with friends or contacting someone in case of an emergency. However, in recent years the shift has been made from simply a communication tool to a necessary gadget used to keep people occupied and organize their lives. What many people don’t think about is that the smartphone is not a simple mobile device any longer. It’s a miniature computer, which means it’s just as susceptible to scams, viruses, and hacking as a PC. Smartphone scams are a scary new way of interfering with the lives of the masses, so it’s important to stay vigilant of the risks.

 

Here are 3 smartphone scams everyone should beware of:

 

1. Fake text messages

3 Smartphone Scams Everyone Should Beware Of

If you receive a text from a number you don’t recognize and you don’t remember signing up for anything, don’t open it! Don’t click on the attached links, don’t respond to it, and certainly don’t send them any sensitive information. Sometimes simply opening the attached link can crash your phone’s entire system. Furthermore, some hackers will try to gain access to your accounts by claiming to be your bank and ask for private details like your password, pin number, account number, or social security number. This kind of communication will never occur through text message, so be sure to call your bank’s customer service line directly to report it.

 

2. One-ring scam

3 Smartphone Scams Everyone Should Beware Of

These types of smartphone scams are clever. Crooks program their calling systems to disconnect or jump to your voicemail after only one ring. This makes it nearly impossible for you to answer in time, piquing your curiosity when you see a missed call or get a voicemail from an unknown number.

Do not call it back! This is a scam to get you to call back international numbers that will charge you ridiculously high fees. If you do happen to fall for this trap, be sure to keep an eye on your phone bill for strange charges. If you are unsure of who is calling you, use a people search service like Kiwi Searches to input the number and receive detailed information about who they are before jumping to return the call. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

 

3. Ransomware

3 Smartphone Scams Everyone Should Beware Of

Smartphones allow you to surf the internet anywhere at any time. This is an amazing advancement in technology, but if you aren’t careful it can also be a major source of strife. Clicking on suspicious or unfamiliar ads or links can result in viruses being uploaded to your phone that will enable hackers to take over your device. You will receive a popup that says your device has been rendered inactive unless you pay a fee to the thieves to unlock it and get your data back. These smartphone scams in particular are easily preventable, though, by conducting a search for mobile security software reviews and installing a program that will effectively protect your device.

 

Your phone (and the data within) is far too valuable to risk. Take every precaution to ensure you and your personal information are always safe from harm. Even the apps you download can contain malware and viruses, so to stay alert be sure to visit our related post: How Do You Know If An App Is A Scam?

How Do You Know If An App Is A Scam?

How Do You Know If An App Is A Scam?

How Do You Know If An App Is A Scam

With the rise of smartphones came an increasing need for customization. This came in the form of mobile apps that allow you to add functionality to your device. From to-do lists to games to streaming services, there are millions of apps to choose from. However, not all apps are made equally, and neither are their creators. Many apps are created with malicious intentions that will hack into your phone or even contain viruses to render it unusable. But how do you know if an app is a scam?

 

Here are 5 tips for mobile app predator prevention:

 

1. Do your research

Google is at your service! Look up the name of the app and any other information that the app store tells you to find out some background information on it. Especially check out the software reviews, because if someone had a negative experience they will be sure to post about it all over the web.

 

2. Look into the developer

How Do You Know If An App Is A Scam

Another important piece of information you can discover through the app store is the name of the app’s developer. Some developers will be accredited by the app store with a badge appearing next to their name. Click on the developer and do research on them to see what other apps they have created (if any) and if they have a reputable, professional website or social media presence. If you’re able to get any personal information, like their name or company phone number, you can use a service like Kiwi Searches to get more details about their criminal record to ensure their intentions are good.

 

3. Check permission requirements

When you click on the app you want within the app store, the description will also include a list of the permissions requested from your phone. Some apps will require access to your contacts, messages, call history, or other secure information. If it seems irrelevant to the function of the app, be wary. The more apps that have access to your information, the more likely you are to be scammed and have your data stolen.

 

4. Download security software

Security and antivirus software isn’t only for desktop and laptop computers. Phones themselves are miniature, portable computers that also need protecting. The best way to avoid app scams is to look at security software reviews to find an app to protect your device and alert you of potential scams when downloading other apps to your phone. The peace of mind it will afford you is almost as valuable as the protection it provides to your device.

 

5. Only use credible sources

How Do You Know If An App Is A Scam

There are two main sources of mobile apps: the Google Play Store and the App Store, for Android and iPhone devices respectively, which are the two most popular devices for app users. If you download an app from any other resource or online site, you run the risk of accidentally programming malware, ransomware, or spyware into your cell phone instead of the intended application.

 

Remember to always listen to your gut when it comes to your findings. No one is safe from hackers or viruses. These scary takeovers of our devices risk our data and potentially even our lives. Take caution when downloading apps to your phone and follow our advice for making smart decisions during the process.

 

Although it can be daunting and scary to allow our lives to rest in the hands of our devices, there are benefits, too, to going completely digital. To find out more about this, see our related post: Your Financial Security Is At Stake: Why Digital Funds Are Safer Than Cash

How To Use A Cell Phone To Keep Your Children Safe

How To Use A Cell Phone To Keep Your Children Safe

How To Use A Cell Phone To Keep Children Safe

It’s nearly impossible to keep children safe and secure 100% of the time. There are times when they are going to have to be away from you at school, summer camp, or during a sleepover. You can’t control their every action, but you can monitor them remotely to verify they are making smart choices while out of your sight.

 

Here are 4 ways how to use a cell phone to keep your children safe:

 

1. Social media alerts

If your child has accounts on social media sites, it’s up to you to ensure they are behaving responsibly and not posting anything dangerous. To keep track of this without violating their privacy and logging in to their account, you can set up social media alerts. This means that any time your child posts something, you’ll receive a notification on your own account so you know to check and see what they shared. If it’s inappropriate, you can speak to your child about taking it down.

 

2. Parental controls

How To Use A Cell Phone To Keep Your Children Safe

When using your device, you can enable “kid mode” or “safety mode” as some developers call it, so your child can only access certain apps or games on your cell phone. However, this can also be an option if they have their own device or utilize streaming services like Netflix or Hulu. Call and speak to your service provider to find out if this option is available so you can make sure they are only using approved sites and applications.

 

3. Cell phone spy app

For the extremely concerned parent, a cell phone spy app like Highster Mobile or DDI Utilities will allow you to see every digital move your child makes. You can track their text messages, see what apps they used, view their photos, and more. If you think this is a viable option for you, check out some reviews on cell phone spy apps to find which product is best for your needs.

 

4. Check in

How to Use A Cell Phone To Keep Your Children Safe

The simplest and easiest way to monitor your child is by trusting them to do the right thing, but checking in on them when you’re concerned. Require that your child sends you a text message or a photo when they get to their destination. If you don’t know where they are, don’t stew in silence or wondergive them a call! Regular contact with your child is the most efficient way to build trust while monitoring their behavior.

 

As a parent, keeping your child safe is your #1 priority. It can be difficult to accomplish, but thankfully there are these available methods to help you along the way. If you follow these tips and encourage communication with your children, you are sure to be successful in keeping them as safe as possible.

 

If you’re interested in reading more about protecting you and your loved ones, read our related post: How To Safely Browse The Internet

 

3 Ways Your Phone Is Tracking You

3 Ways Your Phone Is Tracking You

3 Ways Your Phone Is Tracking You

We are never alone, even when we are physically isolated. As cell phone users our every move is being watched, although not everyone is aware of this. There may not be someone on the other end actually looking at you, but your mobile device is collecting data on you every second that it’s powered on.

 

Here are 3 ways your phone is tracking you:

 

1. Location

3 Ways Your Phone Is Tracking You

If you check your phone’s settings, you’ll see a tab specifically for location services. Websites and applications use this data to tell you where the nearest store is, give you directions, and tailor advertisements to items and retailers in your vicinity.

 

2. Passwords

3 Ways Your Phone Is Tracking You

Every site makes you use a different password. Sometimes you need only letters and numbers, sometimes a special character or symbol is required, and oftentimes if you have used a password before, the site will not let you use it again. Who can keep track? Our phones can. And they do. Ensure your passwords are varied to prevent unethical site owners from gaining access to your other personal data.

 

3. Apps

3 Ways Your Phone Is Tracking You

Even the most harmless mobile applications are saving your data. Sometimes it’s for your own benefit, such as the Fitbit app keeping track of your breathing rate, heart rate, and general exercise data. Sometimes it’s to keep track of the statistics of their user base. Unfortunately, your information, such as your email address or phone number, is often sold to other companies, which is a major source of email spam.

 

So what do we do?

A majority of the reasons why your phone is keeping tabs on you are beneficial, which is why there isn’t more outrage over this topic. Sometimes, though, this information can be used maliciously. Protect your phone and your mobile data from attackers that target you based on their collected data using an antivirus program. Most antivirus computer software also comes in a mobile app version, so check out these antivirus software reviews to determine if any of their functionalities works for your device.

 

Related Post: The Importance Of Updating Your Phone Software: Why You Need To Regularly Update Your Apple or Android Device

The Importance Of Updating Your Phone Software: Why You Need To Regularly Update Your Apple or Android Device

The Importance Of Updating Your Phone Software: Why You Need To Regularly Update Your Apple or Android Device

The Importance Of Updating Your Phone Software- Why You Need To Regularly Update Your Apple or Android Device | Digital Security World

A recent study on mobile device threats shows that 98% of Android users and more than 35% of iOS users do not update their phones to the latest available software version as frequently as they should.

 

Are you one of those people? If so, then you are compromising the health of your phone and the safety of your valuable data and information!

 

Here is why you need to regularly update your Apple or Android phone software:

 

The #1 reason to update is SECURITY.

 

With every software update comes change(s) that will improve the performance of your product by fixing minor issues that have been found and deemed possibly penetrable by threats. Hackers thrive off their ability to enter any system weaknesses in an effort to take advantage of the data and information they can receive from it.

 

The Importance Of Updating Your Phone Software- Why You Need To Regularly Update Your Apple or Android Device | Digital Security World
This woman sending a text message to somebody via her iPhone may not be safe is she’s sending an iMessage on an outdated software!

 

For example, this Refinery29 article shares how “researchers discovered a flaw in Apple’s encryption scheme” which leaves iMessage senders vulnerable to attackers. By not updating your phone as regularly as the software is updated, you are ultimately risking the security of your device even by sending a text to somebody.

 

How do you solve this issue? Turn on automatic updates for your apps. Install an antivirus software that will protect your phone. Stay up to date on viruses, scams, and other digital threats that are currently circulating the web by reading news articles and blogs. Whether you receive that annoying notification telling you that a new version of your iOS software is available for update or you receive a popup that indicates there’s an Instagram or Facebook update solely with “improvements or bug fixes,” don’t wait — update!

 

Stay safe out there on your phones, and be sure to come back to Digital Security World for more cybersecurity news and tips soon.

 

Related Post: How To Safely Browse The Internet (INFOGRAPHIC)