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Un-techie, seeking advice on smartphone security
3/21/13 | HAL

Posted on 03/21/2013 9:57:49 AM PDT by HomeAtLast

Many smart people here and when it comes to 21st c tech, I am a pinhead.

Situation in a nutshell, I got a smartphone as a gift a few months ago, and after many weeks, still hadn't activated it, but the gift giver wouldn't take it back and even followed up with a hefty wad of funds to activate and operate the device.

I do not know enough about wireless networks, security issues, firewalls, etc., to fill a thimble. I don't even know enough to know how much smarter the gift giver is (all I know is, he wears gadgets on his head).

So I don't have a good feeling about this.

Don't want to describe it in detail in this forum which he may know I frequent, so I am not asking for in depth advice here.

I am asking, instead, if anyone can recommend a site where I might go to ask specific questions about the device and the likelihood of vulnerability.


TOPICS: Chit/Chat; Computers/Internet
KEYWORDS: security; smartphone; wireless
Hope I don't sound TOO paranoid. Just because I pull out the ethernet cord every night, doesn't make me paranoid. So I have a bandaid over the lens on the monitor, is that so strange?

Any advice appreciated. Just point me in the right direction.

1 posted on 03/21/2013 9:57:49 AM PDT by HomeAtLast
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To: HomeAtLast

Even with the Ethernet unplug and webcam covered, I’d still worry about Obama Drones outside your window.


2 posted on 03/21/2013 10:03:22 AM PDT by TexasCajun
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To: HomeAtLast
Just assume everything on your phone can become public without your permission or knowledge.

You wouldn't say anything on a wireless phone that you really wanted to keep confidential, would you?

Think of anything - any form of information - that you put on or allow to pass through the phone as being just as vulnerable. Because it is.

3 posted on 03/21/2013 10:06:28 AM PDT by Steely Tom (If the Constitution can be a living document, I guess a corporation can be a person.)
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To: HomeAtLast

Is the phone linked to a particular carrier (Sprint, at&t, t-mobile, etc.)?
If not, did it come with “prepaid minutes” usually on a card with an envelope around it, all printy and numbery (was the only way to tell overseas)
Finally, is it charged?

Cheers


4 posted on 03/21/2013 10:11:12 AM PDT by petro45acp (No good endeavour survives an excess of adult supervision)
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To: HomeAtLast
A smartphone is at best as secure as your home computer in terms of information privacy. Which is to say, pretty much none at all. Beyond that, it's hard to answer vague questions without more detail. FreepMail me and I'll try to help, or at least learn enough to point you in the right direction.
5 posted on 03/21/2013 10:11:19 AM PDT by kevkrom (If a wise man has an argument with a foolish man, the fool only rages or laughs...)
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To: HomeAtLast

If your phone is Android I would recommend installing Lookout. It’s a free anti-malware app that will also locate a lost or stolen phone.


6 posted on 03/21/2013 10:11:48 AM PDT by Squawk 8888 (True North- Strong Leader, Strong Dollar, Strong and Free!)
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To: HomeAtLast

Kaspersky makes software that will protect your phone. There is freeware but Kaspersky is by far the best security software out there bar none.


7 posted on 03/21/2013 10:12:48 AM PDT by TheRhinelander
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To: HomeAtLast

I personally use electrical tape over my camera lenses. Makes it blend easier. Ethernet cord pulled? If your computer is turned off, no harm can be done.

As far as smartphones, if you don’t need it or want it, don’t activate it.


8 posted on 03/21/2013 10:17:13 AM PDT by rarestia (It's time to water the Tree of Liberty.)
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To: HomeAtLast

There is anti-viral security software made for Android phones. I haven’t seen any for iPhones yet, so either iPhones are more secure or else Apple doesn’t acknowledge any problem.

Just for the sake of argument, assume that Big Brother is watching and don’t say anything or transmit any data that you would not want to explain later. Don’t visit questionable web sites. If you want to “disappear”, toss the phone and don’t go anywhere that you wore it.


9 posted on 03/21/2013 10:20:27 AM PDT by TexasRepublic (Socialism is the gospel of envy and the religion of thieves)
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To: TexasRepublic
There is anti-viral security software made for Android phones. I haven’t seen any for iPhones yet, so either iPhones are more secure or else Apple doesn’t acknowledge any problem.

iPhones don't use/need AV because everything is vetted in the App Store -- that's the major benefit of the walled garden approach. Unless you're jailbreaking (because you don't like the restrictions of the walled garden), because then you're on your own.

10 posted on 03/21/2013 10:23:32 AM PDT by kevkrom (If a wise man has an argument with a foolish man, the fool only rages or laughs...)
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To: rarestia

LOL, my old pc takes so long to turn ON, I rarely turn it off.

As for smartphones, I don’t want it or need it, and have been making that clear for a long time. I’d still like to know what might be accomplished, by activating a wireless device, not only with that device but in regard to other machines around here.

There are solid reasons for concern, in this particular situation, but I don’t feel comfortable going into detail.

For sure won’t activate it. Can’t afford the monthly fee anyway, once the gift funds ran out.


11 posted on 03/21/2013 10:31:06 AM PDT by HomeAtLast ( You're either with the Tea Party, or you're with the EBT Party.)
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To: HomeAtLast

If you need to communicate with people across a large area, learn HAM radio.


12 posted on 03/21/2013 10:32:42 AM PDT by rarestia (It's time to water the Tree of Liberty.)
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To: HomeAtLast

I never use the silly things myself, but aside from what’s mentioned previously, don’t forget to disable as much gps tracking/logging as possible.


13 posted on 03/21/2013 11:08:00 AM PDT by fruser1
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To: TexasRepublic
assume that Big Brother is watching

Big Brother doesn't worry me that much, personally. I am small fry.

Other small fry, as individuals, do scare me sometimes. Especially those bearing gifts.

14 posted on 03/21/2013 11:08:32 AM PDT by HomeAtLast ( You're either with the Tea Party, or you're with the EBT Party.)
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To: kevkrom

“iPhones don’t use/need AV because everything is vetted in the App Store — that’s the major benefit of the walled garden approach.”

Yes, I already understood that. There is no danger of installing apps infected with malware. Same idea with Linux repositories. However, I’m not convinced that any browser is 100% immune from some type of exploit on a dangerous website. BTW, you don’t have to go looking for danger for it to find you.


15 posted on 03/21/2013 11:09:34 AM PDT by TexasRepublic (Socialism is the gospel of envy and the religion of thieves)
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To: fruser1

GPS is for tracking people’s physical movements, correct? Who can afford to go anywhere? :)


16 posted on 03/21/2013 11:10:27 AM PDT by HomeAtLast ( You're either with the Tea Party, or you're with the EBT Party.)
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To: All

To clarify the thing that worries me here...

If you activate a wireless smartphone, and someone knows what device you activated — and whether or not he has altered or programmed it beforehand — can he then gain access to other devices in your house, through the same wireless network?

Someone is going to a lot of expense to get me to connect something, anything, wireless. I’d like to know the pitfalls but can’t get past the technical language on most websites. (For pity’s sake, I was an English major.)


17 posted on 03/21/2013 11:21:18 AM PDT by HomeAtLast ( You're either with the Tea Party, or you're with the EBT Party.)
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To: HomeAtLast

Two things to do if you are really paranoid is turn off the Blue Tooth and Wi-Fi on your phone. Hackers can use these to get in to your phone just by being close to you.

Never use your phone for banking.

Never click on a link to a website sent to you in an email no matter who sent it.


18 posted on 03/21/2013 11:23:48 AM PDT by Pontiac (The welfare state must fail because it is contrary to human nature and diminishes the human spirit.)
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To: Pontiac

I did mention I’m a pinhead about this stuff...?

I have NO idea if Blue Tooth and wifi are on, in, around, or under me! All I know is, someone wants me to start using it.
I need to find a crash course at the pre-K level. Most sites assume you know something beyond email and cut-paste. I really don’t. :(


19 posted on 03/21/2013 11:31:02 AM PDT by HomeAtLast ( You're either with the Tea Party, or you're with the EBT Party.)
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To: HomeAtLast

Well can the gift giver spend a few hours with you activating and setting up your phone?

Apparently he uses a Blue Tooth headset so I would assume he knows how that works at least.

There is usually a user’s manual on-line for these phones. Some might have video tutorials available on-line as well. The user’s manuals are typically very difficult for a novice to follow but you can try.

Your best bet is finding a friend or relative that is tech savvy to help you through the getting started rough spots.


20 posted on 03/21/2013 11:45:44 AM PDT by Pontiac (The welfare state must fail because it is contrary to human nature and diminishes the human spirit.)
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To: HomeAtLast

Virgin Mobile , www.virginmobileusa.com ,

has plans where you pay by the month, or 3 months auto from credit card if you want, very cheap which buys you some basic minutes.

If you go over, you pay for that. If you dont use it up, it accumulates - for years. I have over a hundred $ !


21 posted on 03/21/2013 1:51:42 PM PDT by PraiseTheLord (economic civil war ?)
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To: TheRhinelander
Kaspersky makes software that will protect your phone.

Yevgeniy Valentinovich was trained in security by one of the most famous security organizations in the world. Famous quote[2009], in response to "What's wrong with the design of the Internet?":

There's anonymity. Everyone should and must have an identification, or Internet passport. The Internet was designed not for public use, but for American scientists and the U.S. military. That was just a limited group of people--hundreds, or maybe thousands. Then it was introduced to the public and it was wrong…to introduce it in the same way.

I'd like to change the design of the Internet by introducing regulation--Internet passports, Internet police and international agreement--about following Internet standards. And if some countries don't agree with or don't pay attention to the agreement, just cut them off.

Last July, his ex-wife (and co-owner of Kaspersky Labs), Natalya Kaspersky came out in favor of a Russian national firewall (like the Great Firewall of China), saying that fears of government censorship were overblown and complaining that “Right now we have a tremendous freedom of speech in mass media, with no prohibited topics at all.”
22 posted on 03/21/2013 2:34:07 PM PDT by cynwoody
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To: petro45acp

The phone is not even out of the original packaging yet. My concern is that if I were to activate it, sign up to Sprint or att, would the person who gave it to me be able to access it, and via this wireless network, other devices in my home?
For all I know, that could be a dumb question. I know nearly nothing at all about this stuff. I don’t use wireless and can’t understand why someone I don’t even know very well would be so keen on the idea of getting me to use it.


23 posted on 03/21/2013 3:51:40 PM PDT by HomeAtLast ( You're either with the Tea Party, or you're with the EBT Party.)
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To: HomeAtLast

Your concern is valid. Is this friend/acquaintance someone you trust? Is he looking out for your well being/safety? Your call, but before using the phone, get much more info....bout the gifter and the gift.

Prudence is not paranoia...


24 posted on 03/21/2013 5:56:19 PM PDT by petro45acp (No good endeavour survives an excess of adult supervision)
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To: petro45acp

Heck no, I don’t trust him. Known him distantly several years, still know almost nothing about him. The generosity he shows is a recent thing and baffling to me.


25 posted on 03/22/2013 4:50:01 AM PDT by HomeAtLast ( You're either with the Tea Party, or you're with the EBT Party.)
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