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Prevent Tracking And Personal Data Leakage From Your Smartphone

by Gloria Louden
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Smartphone users (iOS and Android) are prone to data thefts, malware attacks, and private and government agencies’ tracking. You must give higher priority to privacy, especially if you store sensitive personal data on your phone. Irrespective of whether you’re using an iOS or Android phone, you can always use the multiple layers of protection available on your phone to prevent data leakage and location tracking.

Bypassing surveillance is easier than you imagined; several tools and in-built features on your phone can easily prevent personal data leakage and location tracking.

Some of the steps you can take to beef up security on your smartphone and stay under the radar include the following.

Checking the App Settings

A smart way to restrict data collection is to prevent apps on your phone from accessing certain data or performing location tracking. Ride-sharing apps and map applications can’t work without location access, but you must never give them a free hand to always locate your movement.

Go to the phone’s setting and move to the Privacy section, where you can access the location services. Now switch off the ‘Always On’ option, which will prevent the apps from constantly tracking your location. You can always turn off other options that can be a potential threat to your privacy. Remember, your phone is always sending out signals, which is often tracked, and the only way to prevent this is to turn off the location tracking.

Turning on airplane mode

Well, turning on the airplane mode essentially means you’re out of your phone’s network and should be opted for only when you’re confident that there’s data leakage. However, you must also remember that you won’t be able to access the internet, receive or make calls and messages, or use apps that access the internet. Thus, this is an emergency step when you don’t have any other options on the table.

Turning off the Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Location Services is a better option compared to opting for the airplane mode.

Using Secured Chat Apps

WhatsApp is one of the most popular chat apps, but it is not the best in the market when it comes to protecting your privacy. The Signal app is much better as its end-to-end data encryption secures all communications amongst the users.

Even if a third party manages to hack into their servers, they won’t be able to decipher any of the messages as all data packets are encrypted. Signal goes a step further and deletes all the chats once a chat session gets over, so no data is stored locally or on their servers. One of the newest additions allows users to start encrypted group video calls. Considering the pandemic, this feature is highly anticipated.

Getting Rid of the Metadata

Sources of data leakage galore, but none can match the digital images you click using your smartphone’s camera. By default, all the camera apps save location data, which puts you on the radar even after you’ve taken all the necessary steps to boost privacy on your phone. Metadata such as the company and model of your phone, location data, and timestamps automatically accompany all the images you click using your smartphone.

Images posted on social media are often accompanied by the image metadata, which is why experts ask people to post on a photo’s screenshot instead of directly uploading it. However, if you don’t intend to do it, you can always use tools to blur faces or erase image metadata.

Opt for Full-disk Encryption

Keeping your phone’s data private is easier with the device encryption option available on Android and iOS smartphones. It implies that your phone’s data, including texts, calls, messages, and even pictures, will be encrypted. The iOS operating system offers this as a default option when you set up a passcode for locking your phone. Even a few Android devices come loaded with this option, so you can simply go to the Settings and enable the Encrypt Phone option under the Security tab.

Use a Virtual Private Network

It’s not always possible to secure all online communications channels. So, it’s better to install a security app that would prevent unwanted data leaks. A smartphone VPN is an application that establishes a secure connection between your device and the internet. Thus, all communications between an app on your phone and the server is secured through end-to-end encryption.

Installing a VPN is the smartest way to stay under the radar while preventing all attempts of hacking and data theft. Since the end-to-end data encryption makes the data packets completely incomprehensible, even if a hacker manages to steal data from the secure channel, they won’t be able to understand anything.

It’s always great if you learn about newer ways of securing your phone’s data or safeguarding privacy. Still, a VPN helps you keep your online activities anonymous, especially while using public Wi-Fi hotspots.

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