Skip to comments.Un-techie, seeking advice on smartphone security
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.
Any advice appreciated. Just point me in the right direction.
Even with the Ethernet unplug and webcam covered, I’d still worry about Obama Drones outside your window.
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.
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?
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.
Kaspersky makes software that will protect your phone. There is freeware but Kaspersky is by far the best security software out there bar none.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you need to communicate with people across a large area, learn HAM radio.
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.
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.
“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.
GPS is for tracking people’s physical movements, correct? Who can afford to go anywhere? :)
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.)
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.
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. :(
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 users manual on-line for these phones. Some might have video tutorials available on-line as well. The users 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.