Which smartphone user are you?

 

Do you want full control over your phone or do you only use it for calls, emails and text messages? See if you can recognize yourself in these four smartphone types, and hear what security expert Janus R. Nielsen from www.MYSecurityCenter.com advises you to do in order to prevent yourself from hackers and malware.

 

The Unaware: You use a smartphone because you have been urged to do so by your boss or children, but in reality, you are better off with a traditional mobile phone. You cannot manage to familiarize yourself with the functions, which mean you only use your phone for calling, texting and to send emails. And lastly, you do not download apps unless you are guided through the process.

 

The Minimalist: You are happy with your phone and use it for the most basic things. You download apps every once in a while, but only the most necessary ones such as WhatsApp, Skype and Facebook. You keep the smartphone until it breaks and the latest phone models do not have an interest for the Minimalist. “Both the Unaware and the Minimalist should be extra careful when clicking on links in emails and text messages, because they are not as trained to see whether it is malware or not”, believes Janus R. Nielsen. “It is often these two groups who do not have passwords on their phones because they think it is a little too difficult, which just means they are more vulnerable if they lose their phones.”

 

The Enthusiast: You find it hard to be without your phone.All your pictures are on it, most of your communication happens through it and you are curious to download apps, so that you can get even more out of your phone. You play various interactive games with the people around you and transfer money with mobile banking.“You need to be extra careful when downloading apps – always read their reviews before installing. If there are no comments or stars, then make sure to do further research about the app on the internet. Lastly, stay away from using mobile banking in public places with wifi.”

 

The Extensive: Your phone has become an extension of your arm, both at home and at work. You use it for everything and continue to explore new features and apps in order to make it even more efficient. You have extensive technical knowledge of how your phone works and demand high level of safety. “This type of smartphone users often installs antivirus protection on their device so that they can detect, block and back-up the phone if anything should happen. Of course these people are also exposed to potential wifi hotspot risks, man-in-the-middle attacks are getting increasingly widespread on public networks. Here, an attacker can interfere and manipulate the information that transfers from your phone to the network.

 

The obsessive: You often replace your smartphone with new ones to get the newest technology. In order to get the maximum from you phone, you delete several of the phone’s default programs in order to organize it to your liking. “Users are rarely aware that hacking (jailbreaking and rooting) opens the phone’s SSH port, which means anyone potentially can connect to your smartphone and steal or add data”, says Janus R. Nielsen. These users often installs unauthorized third-party apps which are free, but these can easily add malware to your phone. “The Obsessive can for instance benefit from a mobile VPN-service (virtual private networks), where they can connect to their home network, away from home, via encrypted channels, so that strangers are not able to track their online surfing.”

 

No matter what type of smartphone user you are, Janus R. Nielsen recommends first and foremost that you make sure to have the basic security measures in place:

 

1.      Get a password on your mobile, consisting of both numbers and letters.

 

2.      Read reviews and comments before downloading an app. If it has none then stay away.

 

3.      Read the terms carefully before you approve and start downloading an app. For instance there would be no need for a puzzle game to get access to your messages and location.

 

4.      Consider whether you would benefit from an antivirus program that can track your phone, block it and make back-ups if you lose it.

 

5.      Beware of public wifi hotspots.

 

6.      Please note that the warranty does not apply when you jailbreak your phone.

 

7.      Be careful with apps from unauthorized app stores, as they can easily contain malware. The same applies push advertisement in free apps.

 
 
 

2 thoughts on “Which smartphone user are you?

  1. I have only recently acquired my first smartphone, a Samsung Galaxy Ace, and one of the first things I did was to download and print off the User Manual – all 60+ pages of it!

    I am approaching my 76th birthday, and would classify myself as somewhere between “Unaware” and “Minimalist”, learning more about the ‘phone as I go along. However, I do have a problem with the manual, as I do with your article – much of both I find totally incomprehensible!

    Why cannot these things be written in language that those of us who grew up and lived most of our lives before modern technology came on the scene can actually understand, for example what do “jailbreak you phone” and “push advertisement” mean? I have never been to jail and, to the best of my knowledge, neither has my phone, and I wouldn’t dream of even trying to push an advertisement anywhere!

    To sum up – HELLLLLLP!

  2. I am sorry that our article was less than clear to you and will be happy to answer your questions.

    Jailbreak refers to a method of removing the manufacturer lockdown of a handset. In the case of your smartphone, a jailbreak would not be required since the handset is not supplied by Apple (the only company so far who employ this method of lockdown). Apple devices employ a security measure which prevents software (apps) from being downloaded and/or installed to the device unless they are sourced from the Apple Store online (iTunes). Android devices such as your smartphone do not require a jailbreak in order to download from anywhere. They do require a different method called rooting which allows users to alter any and all aspects of the device including the user interface – most users do not need or want to do this.

    Push advertisements are simply ads that you have not requested or have not allowed (by viewing a website or hosted page where these ads are generally seen and selecting a checkbox to agree to receive marketing). The system works in a similar way to phone updates where the user does not need to interact in order for the service/ad/update to be presented to the handset. Many companies, both legitimate and less trustworthy, make use of push ads. Legitimate companies use these to inform clients of product updates, special offers, etc. Less scrupulous entities use the same system to spam (send unsolicited contact) to users who either do not want to receive it or who have not agreed to receive it. A push ad may also contain malware (unwanted or dangerous software) which can damage the handset, cause your personal data to be compromised (stealing your passwords or credit card info) or even use your device as part of a botnet (a collection of devices linked together and (usually) used to commit illegal or unsavoury acts)

    In summary, if you intend to use your smartphone “as is” and only install apps from a reputable source such as Google play or Android market you should be fine. There are still dangers to be considered as no system is perfect. We recommend that all smartphone users employ security software on their smartphone, there are many security suites available from reputable suppliers.

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