Cell Phone Privacy: How to Keep Your Information Safe

Last Updated on October 3, 2023

Solidifying your cell phone privacy is a crucial part of keeping your personal information safe and protected. With cell phones seamlessly incorporated into peoples’ lives, the dangers of hacking have increased as morally misguided people attempt to gain ahold of other people’s precious personal data.

Hacking has become more prevalent over the years due to how simple it is to become a hacker. Hacker software is available around the web to access personal data on your cell phone and other electronic devices.

What’s important to note is that this hacking software doesn’t need to be downloaded to your phone for it to work. Hackers can infiltrate your phone remotely by having the software attached to data. This data includes emails, text messages, and unprotected websites. This tactic is commonly known as ‘phishing‘.

There are other methods hackers use such as phone number hacking, SIM card hacking, WiFi hacking, and Bluetooth hacking. Phishing is the most commonly used method because of how easy it is for a hacker to master.

It may seem like your cell phone is a ticking time bomb just waiting to be hacked at a moment’s notice. It is a popular target for hackers due to how much information is stored on an individual’s cell phone. Thankfully, there are safety measures you can take to increase the security on your phone, decrease your chances of being hacked, and optimize your overall cell phone privacy.

Update your Phone’s OS System

Yes, updating your phone’s operating system (OS) may seem like a tedious task. But those periodic updates—even if they keep you from using your phone for a few minutes—can be very beneficial.

When phone manufacturers find a security gap in a cell phone’s operating code, they look to patch that gap via an OS update. These OS security updates improve security and cell phone privacy. They aim to block hackers from stealing your data when you surf the web, open certain media files on your phone, or connect to public WiFi networks.

If you are using an outdated model of a cell phone that is no longer supported with OS updates from the phone manufacturer, you may want to consider upgrading your device. Cell phones no longer supported with OS updates are at greater risk of getting hacked.

These OS updates cannot fully guarantee your cell phone is 100% impervious to hacking, but they still help out. So, the next time your cell phone’s OS needs an update, don’t drag your feet on it. Apply that update ASAP.

Reevaluate your Apps and Check for Updates

Apps transform the way you use your device with hundreds of games and tools at your disposal. Unfortunately, these apps can pose a threat to your cell phone if you’re not careful.

Popular app developers like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. are constantly providing app updates with new security protocols to protect against hacking. But other apps on your phone may not be as security-conscious.

While Apple guarantees prevention of hacking from its App Store, Android users are not as lucky; Google Play is, unfortunately, prone to hacks on certain apps. Here is an in-depth list of popular Google Play Store apps that, in late 2020, were considered vulnerable to hacking of user data.

If you’re an Android cell phone user, it’s imperative—for the sake of your cell phone privacy—to monitor app downloads and usage.

Check before downloading an app to see if it’s considered a trustworthy app that aims to protect against hacking.

Similar to your OS updates, always download the latest app version update in the Google Play Store. It might include a new security update to help prevent potential hacks. Location tracking with these apps may compromise your privacy, which you can read more about in our blog: GPS and EMFs.

Be Wise When Using Free WiFi

For those on limited data plans with cell phone carriers, a “Free WiFi” sign is a sight for sore eyes. However, you’ll want to think twice before you hop on that public WiFi network.

Joining a public WiFi network makes you an easy target for potential hacking. Other people can easily monitor what other devices are on the WiFi network. Once a hacker has used his device to locate other devices on the WiFi network, he has the potential to access those devices to pull personal information and private data.

From coffee shops, to cowork cafes, and even hotels, WiFi hackers are lurking at a variety of locations that commonly offer free WiFi, just waiting to compromise your cell phone’s privacy.

If you still prefer free public WiFi to save your mobile data, here are tips to protect your privacy.

  • Encryption tools: A third-party tool or the cell phone device scrambles data before sending it to the WiFi network. The scrambled data becomes untraceable to hackers and therefore keeps your device safe. Newer cell phone devices come with built-in encryption tools. cell phone users with older phone models might want to look at 3rd-party encryption options like a VPN tool.
  • Disable Auto-WiFi Connect: Many cell phones automatically connect to an open WiFi network once the device has come within range. It’s better to keep this setting OFF. You can manually review the WiFi networks available and decide for yourself which one might be the safest.
  • Check for the ‘HTTPS’ on websites: This rule has more to do with the website you’re visiting rather than the WiFi network itself. Websites without a ‘HTTPS’ tag in their website address should be avoided at all costs. ‘HTTPS’ is a standard tag for a secure website. Without it, website visits are at risk of potential hacking.

Use a Passcode for Your Device

As previously mentioned, hacking attempts usually come in the form of a digital attack (app, email, website, WiFi, etc.); but don’t forget that attempts of data theft are also committed through physical acts.

Your personal data could be stolen by way of having your cell phone taken off your person. That is why it’s important to have a passcode always enabled on your phone. By using a passcode, you are taking a necessary step of preventing your cell phone privacy from being compromised by blocking initial entry into your phone.

Make sure your passcode is unique and something not easy for someone to guess.

Use Protective Gear for Your cell phone

Bluetooth allows a variety of wireless devices to connect to your phone. What you may not know is that Bluetooth is also a popular method for hackers in close proximity—most Bluetooth signals can travel up to 30 feet—to gain access to your device and steal your personal information.

One way to prevent this is to turn off your Bluetooth, which also reduces radio frequency (RF) emissions coming from your phone. This will reduce your exposure to Electromagnetic Field radiation, or EMF.

Alternatively, you can place your device in a faraday privacy bag whenever you go out in public. Being in crowded public spaces is when Bluetooth hacking is most prevalent.

A faraday bag is the modern-day tool for people to keep their cell phone and credit cards secure from potential wireless data hackers.

Privacy bags work by blocking the network signal sent from your phone to a cell tower, and vice versa. This is done with an EMF shielding material (made with different metals and alloys) that creates a faraday cage around your device.

Privacy bags are optimal for people who need to have their cell phone on their person throughout the day, but who also need to conceal highly personal information on the device.

With all signal transmissions blocked while in the privacy bag, your cell phone is physically protected from wireless hackers.

What Evolving 5G Technology Means for Your Faraday Bag

As wireless technology evolves to use higher frequencies than ever before, make sure the faraday bag you use blocks all frequencies your device is capable of transmitting/receiving. Since 5G millimeter waves reach up to 100 GHz, they can transmit through most faraday bags on the market today.

Here at DefenderShield, our EMF shielding and ConcealShield products use the most advanced shielding on the market, capable of blocking all wireless and 5G signals up to 90 GHz. Our faraday bags are a great solution to keep your devices protected from potential hacking. Our other product lines are made to protect your body from direct contact with EMF emissions. These products are not faraday bags, since they only have shielding in the side resting against your body. EMF exposure from our modern day devices is an emerging health and wellness concern.

You can learn more about DefenderShield’s mission and history here. And make sure to follow us on the following social media channels for more helpful tips on how to keep and your loved ones safe and protected!

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Daniel T. DeBaun

Daniel T. DeBaun is an internationally recognized and influential expert in Electromagnetic Radiation (EMF) and shielding electronic emissions, with a particular focus on the effect of exposure from mobile devices such as laptops, tablets and cell phones. Daniel’s concern regarding the health impact of electronic radiation emissions grew from over 30 years of engineering experience in the telecommunications industry, where he held a variety of leadership and executive positions at Bell Labs, AT&T, SAIC and Telcordia. Daniel is co-author of recent bestseller, Radiation Nation: The Fallout of Modern Technology, a complete guide to EMF radiation safety and protection. Daniel is also a highly regarded industry consultant, speaker as well as frequent guest national radio and television programs discussing EMF health issues.