June 20, 2024

The Secret Service advises: Restart your smartphone often

Turn off, wait, turn on again. This usually takes a minute on a smartphone – and can save you from becoming a victim of computer crime. Reason: If you restart your device frequently, you can stop unwanted exploitation of programming vulnerabilities by criminals. This comes through a best practices paper issued by the US National Security Agency (NSA), which specializes in the field of electronic espionage, and which Forbes.com refers to.

The advice is to turn the device off and on again once a week. In many cases, this can help combat malware installation via phishing and against so-called zero-click exploits. That’s how this thing works.

Android smartphones have a restart button. It usually appears after pressing the power button and volume up button at the same time. iPhones need to be turned off once, wait briefly and then turned back on. The slider button for this appears after pressing the lock button and volume up button at the same time.

The NSA paper lists some other everyday tips to make smartphones and tablets safer. Install updates as quickly as possible. Advantage: There is always a reboot.

Disable WiFi and Bluetooth when you don’t need them. Avoid using public WiFi networks. Use a strong passcode. Thus six-digit PIN codes are sufficient if the device deletes itself after 10 unsuccessful entries.

Don’t click on unexpected pop-ups asking you to install software. If this happens, you should close all active programs. To do this, swipe up from the bottom of the screen and close all active windows. On iPhone and Android devices that have a home button, this can be done by double-clicking the button.

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Then there are the advanced clues. However, it is more aimed at people who keep secrets and perhaps less aimed at ordinary smartphone users. Do not conduct secret conversations near a mobile device that is not configured for this purpose.

Consider using a device case that protects the microphone. This prevents so-called hot microphone attacks, in which the microphone is activated unnoticed. Cover the camera when not in use.