10/14/2014: Smartphone Smarts

We’ve come up with a list of what we think are best practices for increasing privacy and security on your mobile device without spending any money. This is based on SnoopWall’s counterveillance research for improving your privacy from eavesdroppers and helping you from getting infected with spyware that could cost you your identity. They are:

  1. Disable your GPS at all time except in an emergency or when you need to use your smartphone for navigation purposes;
  2. Disable your NFC (Near Field Communications) or on Apple devices, iBeacon, permanently (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT6048);
  3. Disable Bluetooth at all times except when you are in your car, driving, if you want to have hands-free calls, if supported by your car;
  4. Verify Apps behavior and privacy risk BEFORE installing – do some research and ask the questions “why does this app need GPS, MICROPHONE, WEBCAM, CONTACTS, etc.?” – most apps don’t need these ports unless they want to invade your privacy. Find an alternative before installing risky Apps;
  5. Either put masking tape over your webcam and microphone when not in use or pull the battery out of your smartphone when you are not using it.

Read what the authors suggest about the popular Flashlight apps, and which ones you should remove from your phone:

SNOOPWALL FLASHLIGHT APPS THREAT ASSESSMENT REPORT