Android Smartphone Security, How to securely use your Android Smartphone or Tablet

Last Updated: June 18, 2019

Google’s Android operating system powers many popular cellphones including the popular Samsung Galaxy S10. Most Android Smartphone users as well as most of the pubic at large do not think very much about security.

If your phone is not running the latest Android Monthly security patches or is Android 6 or older, you are open to attack. A recent Wall Street Journal article showed that only 2.8% of Android devices have the latest security patches. Compare that to 79% of iPhones, due to Apple’s more uniform eco-system.

As of February 2019 only Android 7 to 9 receive security updates now)

Most Up to Date Android Smartphones

This flagship phone runs the latest Android version and is patched regularly. Sold directly from Google or from a couple wireless carriers.

You can check this Google Support page that shows when updates will be available for Google devices and when devices stop getting updates.

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Updated Safe Gadget Security News – Security Alerts 2019

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The following alerts have been updated to reflect new and important security protection schemes:

10/1/2019: iOS 13 has a handy feature to stop unwanted calls.  You can set the phone to send unknown callers straight to voicemail! (Those not in your contacts) – Settings – Phone – Silence Unknown Callers

5/12/2019: Thrangrycat Attacks Cisco Switches, Firewall and routers.  Update and patch now

3/19/2019: Windows 10 is loading more and more crap.  These scripts let you uninstall the junkware and reclaim privacy.

2/1/2019: Google has patch a major bug in Android where you can get hacked just by looking at a picture in a SMS, Email, or web page!  Update your Android software right away.  If your phone no longer gets updates, please consider buying a new one.

1/2019: Marvell’s Wi-Fi chip is used in millions of devices.  Unfortunately, it has a major security flaw. Look for updates soon.  Devices that have no way to get updated are worrisome.

12/2018: Marriott – Starwood Hotels got hacked, leaking a ton of data. Change your credit card if you booked there.

10/4/2018: Bloomberg reports that China has infiltrated major tech companies by compromising servers from their Chinese factories.  Never trust your hardware!

8/24/2018: HP Inkjet printers with Fax capability have a Faxploit exploit where someone could fax you a special page and take over your entire network. Patch now.

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How to use Wireless Networks or Wi-Fi securely in Public

Last Update: June 18, 2019

Free wireless Internet, Wi-fi, sign

Free Wi-Fi is available in many locations, from your local café or Starbucks to McDonald’s and many other restaurants. Using these mostly unsecured, public wireless networks puts your information at risk. It is important to employ several safeguards when surfing at a public hotspot. If you are using a cybercafe’s shared computer, we would only use it to view information, not to even get your e-mail. Chance are high that it is compromised.

Many public wireless networks are completely unencrypted so that users can log on to them easily. This opens up a huge security hole as any hacker or sophisticated computer user could easily see all the sensitive data being transmitted. Passwords to online stores or email accounts can be easily captured by increasingly easy to use tools. In this article, we will help you access public wireless networks safely. Settings within your operating system may need to be optimized, additional software installed, and third party services may need to be subscribed to.

McDonalds Free Wi-Fi

Finding Free Wi-Fi

  • Boingo has a Wi-Fi locator. The Starbucks and McDonald’s entries are free.
  • There are several free apps that help you find Wi-Fi – search the app stores for Wi-Fi

Secure your computer, web browser, Internet connection

Follow our guides to secure your Windows PC or secure your Macintosh by installing the right software, firewall, antivirus software, etc. Secure your mobile devices: iPhone, Android smartphone or tablet, iPad. Configure the settings and add plug-ins to you web browser so that it is more secure. Consult our tutorials for: Internet Explorer 9, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox. Secure your Internet Connection: Wireless Network, Public Wi-Fi.

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iPhone Security, How to securely use your iPhone

Last Updated: 5/18/2018

Apple iPhone 3GS

Matthew Green, a well respected cryptographer and professor at Johns Hopkins has a great article discussing Secure Computing – Desktops vs Smartphones, iOS vs Android and more..

Most iPhone users do not think very much about security. The iPhone is part of Apple’s closed ecosystem, helping to prevent viruses and malware from wreaking havoc. As the iPhone has grown in popularity, the smartphone has become more of a target by hackers and criminals. It is important that iPhone users immediately become more vigilant about smartphone security.  Our tutorial covers the iPhone through iPhone 7 Plus and iOS through iOS 11.

0. Obsolete Hardware

If you have an iPhone or iPad that no longer gets updates, we would recycle it and buy a new one RIGHT away. Keep in mind that iOS 10.3.3 is the first version that fixed a Huge Broadcom Wi-Fi bug. Without that fix, you can get hacked by just having a Wi-Fi signal nearby.

1. iPhone Software Updates

Apple upgrades the iOS software for the iPhone from time to time. Updates include additional functionality as well as security bug fixes. It is important that users apply updates immediately. Before iOS 5 users needed to connect their iPhones to a computer in order to update the smartphone’s software. Needless to say, this was inconvenient and led to many iPhones with obsolete software.

Always update to the latest iOS software available as soon as possible.

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How to: Safe Online Shopping

Last Update: 3/22/2017

PC, desktop computer

Online shopping has been gaining market share every year. Security breaches make headlines almost daily. With more and more shoppers going online, consumers are worried more than ever about keeping their online shopping safe and secure. In this article, we will help you shop more securely.

Secure your computer, web browser, Internet connection

Follow our guides to secure your Windows PC or secure your Macintosh by installing the right software, firewall, antivirus software, etc. Secure your mobile devices: iPhone, Android smartphone or tablet, iPad. Configure the settings and add plug-ins to you web browser so that it is more secure. Consult our tutorials for: Internet Explorer 9, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox. Secure your Internet Connection: Wireless Network, Public Wi-Fi.

1. Configure your wireless router for optimal security. Consult our article How to set up a secure wireless router for details. For maximum security, do your online shopping when connected by a hardwired connection such as Ethernet.

2. Ensure that your operating system is set up securely. Consult our computer security guides for Windows and Macintosh. For maximum security, you could start off a Linux boot CD or USB key.

Burning Linux Live CD to a write only media such as a CD/DVD or a USB drive with Write protect switch, helps prevent any changes to a virgin Linux distribution. Keep in mind that no bookmarks, password managers, etc would be accessible.

The CD versions do take many minutes to boot up and ask you if you want to try Linux, so the USB route is definitely preferred.

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