Nearly every connection to the internet is dependent on the Domain Name System. DNS, as it's more commonly called, translates domain names like gadgethacks.com into IP addresses, which is what network devices use to route data. The problem with DNS servers is that they don't have your privacy in mind.
If you have friends who aren't privacy-conscious, you've surely heard the old "What do I have to hide?" excuse. Despite the fact that billions of people are using the internet each day, many of them don't know the dangers that can find them. And many don't know the tools to combat them.
When I review apps, I'll oftentimes end up downloading at least one or two "bad" apps that either lied about their functionality or were riddled with ads. These apps, while not as harmful as malware, can still be a major headache. This got me thinking about the other bad apps on the Play Store and how to avoid them.
Threats to your privacy and security are everywhere, so protecting your data should be the highest priority for anyone with a smartphone. However, one threat many people overlook is the company who supplies the operating system your Android phone runs — Google.
As smartphone users, we live in dangerous times. The value of phones continues to rise, making them prime targets for thieves. In 2015, the FCC estimated that one million phones are stolen each year, and with several devices starting to hit the $1,000 mark now, these numbers are sure to rise. But what do you do if you fall victim to phone theft?
Because of the way Google Play works, Android has a "bad app" problem. Google allows any developer to upload an app to the Play Store, regardless of if it works, how it looks, or whether or not it can harm users. Malware scanning happens primarily after apps are uploaded, and though Google has recently taken steps to safeguard users with its Play Protect program, you don't have to depend on them.
Due to the overnight success of smartphones, millions of people are connecting with others. Currently, over 15 million text messages are sent every minute worldwide. Most of this communication is happening in the open where any hacker can intercept and share in the discussion unbeknownst to the participants. However, we don't need to communicate insecurely.
After numerous scandals like the Equifax data breach and the 2016 US election, cybersecurity has become a significant issue for Americans. Unfortunately, anytime we use our devices, we're open to a cyber attack — especially when we browse the web. However, there are ways that we can make it harder for hackers and data miners.
The iPhone has a setting that will obfuscate the content of notifications on its lock screen until you're recognized by Face ID. Google implemented this same feature in its Pixel phones, but many Android devices have no such option. At least, not by default.
Biometrics have a major flaw: they don't work well with personal protective equipment. Whether it's a mask obscuring facial recognition or gloves blocking the fingerprint scanner, it's a lot harder to unlock your phone when you're wearing the proper PPE. Thankfully, there are a few ways to speed things up.
With protests springing up across America, there's a chance you may have your first interaction with law enforcement. Many demonstrators will have their phones in-hand to film the action, which, sadly, could prompt an officer to demand the device and any self-incriminating data it may contain. Before this happens, you should know there are tools at your disposal to protect your data in such situations.
When it comes to cybersecurity, one layer isn't enough. A complex password (or one created with a password manager) does a good job of protecting your data, but it can still be cracked. Two-factor authentication strengthens this by adding a second layer of security, giving you even more protection against online threats.
We're thinking more and more about our digital privacy these days. When we first started using smartphones, we'd download apps with reckless abandon, allowing permissions lists as long as novels in order to play free games. Now, we know that apps have access to things like our cameras and microphones, even when they shouldn't. Luckily, taking away these permissions is easy.