How to secure a basic mobile phone?

A phone that has the primary purpose of only calling & sending text messages.

Insert GIF BASIC PHONE

VULNERABILITIES

These phones constantly give out information about your location through calls, texts and other services. Mobile and landline network providers, and well-equipped third-parties may have access to the call, text and data information that passes through their networks, though this may be difficult to access unless your abuser is considerably influential. Information about who you call can be used to build a revealing personal profile.

GPS enabled phones share embedded information in photos, SMS messages, and internet requests such as location. You can receive malware through opening links in text messages, or MMS. Switching off the phone DOES NOT make it completely safe from surveillance unless the battery is removed. Unless you know your abuser/stalker works in intelligence or knows people who do, do not remove the battery in case you need your phone in an emergency.

ACTIONS
  1. Get a new phone and SIM card that your abuser has no connection to.
  2. Always use your phone's security lock codes or Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) and keep them secret (unknown to others).
  3. Always change these from the default factory settings.
  4. The 15-digit serial or IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number helps to identify your phone and can be accessed by keying *#06# into most phones, by looking behind the battery of your phone or by checking the phone's settings. Make a note of this number and keep it separate from your phone, as this could help to trace and prove ownership quickly if it is stolen.
  5. Do not give your number out to anyone who you don’t completely trust.
  6. Disable Bluetooth and GPS when you are not using them.
  7. Do not store sensitive information on your phone.
  8. Do not send messages with sensitive information in them.
  9. Never leave your phone unattended.
  10. Never sign into your accounts on someone else's phone.
  11. Observe your phone's behaviour and functions.
  12. Look out for unknown programmes and running processes, strange messages and unstable operation.
  13. If you don't know or use some of the features and applications on your phone, disable or uninstall them if you can.
  14. Use a Google Voice Number.
  15. Don’t pick up and answer calls from numbers you don’t recognise.

High Risk level: Do not register your phone with a service provider - only use a prepaid SIM card. Change phones and SIM cards often. If you can’t get a Prepaid SIM card without registering your identity, then do not use a phone for a while. You can also try to get a trusted relatively/friend to register for a SIM card under their name to avoid detection. Switch off the phone and remove the battery completely to avoid surveillance.


How to secure a smartphone or a tablet?

An internet-enabled mobile phone - kind of like a mini computer.

Information also applicable to Tablet devices.

GIF SMARTPHONE

VULNERABILITIES

These phones constantly give out information about your location through calls, texts and other services. Mobile and landline network providers, and well-equipped third-parties may have access to the call, text and data information that passes through their networks, though this may be difficult to access unless your abuser is considerably influential. Information about who you call can be used to build a revealing personal profile.

  1. Passwords can be accessed if they are not protected.
  2. Spyware can be used to track your smartphone.
  3. Unauthorised access to device storage when your data and device isn’t secured or encrypted.
  4. Smartphone devices can be hacked via public mobile charging points.
  5. Internet-enabled apps
  6. Tracking apps (malware).
  7. Mobile bugging/wiretapping
  8. Someone may have downloaded a tracking app onto your phone in order to track you. Here are some examples of these tracking apps. Go through your applications and delete them.
  9. Bluetooth
  10. Camera
  11. Geotagging
ACTIONS

Same tips as above but here are some additional ones:

  1. Disable Wi-Fi, mobile data, Bluetooth and GPS when you are not using them.
  2. Educate yourself about the apps on your phone, know exactly what they do and what information they store.
  3. Turn off location services throughout the apps on a phone, but in particular, on the camera and on the social media.
  4. DO NOT log into Google Maps. Google Maps tracks your every movement unless you turn it off, and you can be tracked remotely through the app.
  5. Google Play tracks your location as well, make sure you’re signed out of the Play store and your GPS is turned off. See Delete Google Maps? Go ahead, says Google, we'll still track you
  6. For apps that you trust, restrict unnecessary app permissions.Remove suspicious and unfamiliar apps as these may be malware.
  7. Delete apps which store location or any other information.
  8. When using someone else’s device or a public computer, sign in with precaution. If you do - delete your history and saved passwords.
  9. Use incognito or private mode on mobile web browsers
  10. If you’re not comfortable with websites having your mobile number use an app like Burner.
  11. Some accounts (Google and Facebook) have the option to remotely log yourself out of all devices. See How to Log Out From Gmail, Facebook and Other Web Services Remotely
  12. Encrypt the storage medium (the phone storage and /or additional SD card).
  13. If necessary get a new phone and new phone number.
  14. Use apps which encrypt information wherever possible.
  15. Use an anti-virus/malware scanner on your smartphone. Recommended: ZoneAlarm ; Remove Spyware on Smartphone

High threat level: Ditch your internet-enabled phone or keep it only for emergencies. Never give your number out to anyone you don’t completely trust. Use a pay phone if possible. Make sure the pay phone isn’t located too near your residence or workplace or any place that your stalker can link to you.


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