October 28 2020

How can you use your cellphone securely?

Security

Security tip

Never incorporate personal information:

- date of birth,
- social insurance number
- first name of your children,

and your passwords and usernames.

Use your cellphone securely

We answer several questions that will allow you to protect yourself against an invaluable tool that is quite possibly the first thing you look at when you get up in the morning: your phone.

Why should I update my operating system?

Even if they take some time and deprive you of the use of your phone for several minutes, updates to your operating system are crucial because they correct security flaws in addition to giving you access to new features. Keeping your phone up to date is a good way to protect yourself.

What if I lose my device?

First, your screen should always be locked using a password, fingerprint lock, or facial recognition. This will save you time going forward. With apps that allow you to access your bank’s online services or pay for your purchases directly with your phone, when your device is lost, your banking data is part of the valuable information that ends up greatly compromised. You must act quickly to prevent fraud.

If you’re using an iPhone and the Find My iPhone feature is turned on, you’ll be able to find out exactly where it is thanks to Apple’s online services. You can also do this with applications for the Android operating system. If your phone remains unfound, you will need to quickly contact your cellphone provider to have it deactivated and have the unique identification number (IMEI) added to a blacklist that makes your device unusable.

Does Bluetooth technology put my cybersecurity at risk?

Before we go any further, what is Bluetooth? It’s a wireless connection that uses radio waves at a reduced range and allows data to be exchanged between electronic devices. In particular, it allows replacing many connection cables. However, this technology is in a way the weakest link in cybersecurity. Permanently enabling this feature on your device makes you more vulnerable to certain attacks. This is all the more true if your phone hasn’t been updated for a long time. In 2017, a major security flaw allowing a phone to be hacked in just a few seconds was discovered in the Bluetooth protocol. Our best advice? Activate it only when necessary.

What about geolocation?

Geolocation makes many smartphone users fearful, though it makes it so much easier to use many apps. Are there risks associated with it? Undoubtedly. Ill-intentioned people can know your position at any time. That’s very helpful information if your Facebook page informs them that you live alone with your cat and that you have gone out to explore Quebec for the weekend. Any information you share publicly makes you more vulnerable.

What kind of text messages should I be wary of?

Text messaging phishing attempts are becoming more frequent and are sometimes misunderstood. You should be aware that your financial institution, government, or cellphone provider will never contact you by text message to ask you to confirm personal information or to notify you that your account has been suspended or that you are entitled to a refund. When in doubt, always call the company in question to make sure it is not an attempt at fraud. Never open the links offered to you in these messages and go directly through the provider’s website if you wish to validate certain information. In short, owning a cellphone carries risks, but by adopting safe behaviours, you will be able to minimize them.

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