Having a phone in the digital age means that everything you do on it is well documented and tracked.
While private organizations try to protect their data from hackers as much as possible, these protective measures do not also include the prying eyes of advertisers, law enforcement, and other unauthorized parties.
And while one cannot entirely guarantee that they are protected and secured 100% of the time, there are some steps you can take to ensure that your phone is as protected as possible.
Regardless of what type of phone you have purchased, what is certain is that it is not 100% safe from thieves and hackers.
While it is undoubtedly true that some phones are created in a way that ensures more excellent protection than others, this does not mean that even those phones are entirely secure.
To ensure that you are purchasing a phone with the most significant amount of security, you will need to find a phone that is very literally designed to protect your data — these days, this means purchasing a Purism Librem 5.
These phones are made with privacy and security top of mind in that they use an open-source operating system and avoid the use of any trackers. A bonus?
The phone also includes a removable battery so that its owner can fully turn off their phone and the power to very specific sensors that control the phone’s WIFI, cellular data, and its camera and microphone.
This technology also allows for the GPS to be disabled if all three of these sensors are turned off at once.
In addition to these elements, this phone is also powered by Matrix, which exchanges data and messages with other platforms (using an open standard network) and allows for end-to-end encrypted phone calls and messages.
If you are preoccupied with your phone’s safety, we suggest stopping any communication that is occurring via SMS.
The reason for this is that if you send and receive any data over this standard, it is unencrypted as it travels the network.
What this means is that for those who can read phone data, this can be done quite easily with unencrypted data.
Instead, if you opt to use a platform that encrypts – and thereby protects – your messages, this means that they are locked away safely in a digital safe and are only available to those who have the metaphorical key.
The gold standard where this process is concerned is Signal Private Messenger, which is an encryption protocol that is used by most major messengers. This protocol allows users to send messages and make and receive calls that are end-to-end encrypted – otherwise put, to send messages and make and receive calls securely from beginning to end.
For this process to occur, it means that a specific amount of metadata – that is, data about data – is captured each time. This kind of information might include details such as time, location, and user.
If you prefer not to play around with your phone settings or to use an end-to-end encrypted app, another option might be to use a burner app.
These apps allow users to utilize internet data to dial out and make calls while using a second number that is not theirs. Some of the best apps to use include the burner app on both iOS and Android devices.
Another great option for privacy is to make use of a virtual private network (VPN). This network gives you the option of adding layered security by rerouting all of a person’s data to a server that serves as a mediator between the user and all other users on the internet.
By using a VPN – and its new IP address – you are able to add a wall of protection by sending all incoming and outgoing packets through the VPN first.
While a VPN is not necessarily needed, it is an additional hurdle that hackers, ISPs, and government officials will have to first get through before reading any of the data on your phone.
Offline Messaging for Local Communication
If you are looking for an even safer form of communication, then you might consider taking your communication endeavors offline.
When users send their messages in offline mode, this means that they are not traveling across traditional attack surfaces such as Wi-Fi or mobile data.
This also means that if hackers are hard at work, these moments of communication are much harder to intercept.
Stingray Detector App (Android)
A great device to help ensure protection is a stingray. These devices essentially pretend to function as cell towers and are commonly used by organizations such as law enforcement in items such as cars, vans, and planes to track targets.
For it to work properly and for devices (many at that) to connect to it, the stingray requires a strong signal.
Additionally, to protect your data from these kinds of devices and the mass surveillance they are responsible for, you can opt to purchase a much more secure phone, or alternatively, you can purchase a Stingray detector app.