Smartphone security threats to be aware of this summer

Summer is here and with it comes warm weather and lots of gorgeous sunshine. Summer is the time of long days and long nights hanging out and having fun. It’s the season of selfies, so you’re going to have your phone on you and out constantly. Being aware of the security threats you’re more likely to face in the summer will go a long way towards avoiding becoming a victim of these summer time threats. We’ve developed a list of things to watch out for to keep your smartphone safe this summer.

Festival thefts
With summer time comes a bevy of festivals, big and small, which have been identified as a prime target for thieves hoping to take advantage of the large crowds and carelessness. You’re unlikely to be a victim as long as you always store your phone safely, preferably always keeping it on your person. Never leave any valuables lying around in your tent as they can easily be lifted and unless you see who did it, they’ll likely never get caught. Use lockers for anything you’re not carrying with you. Put your phone in a pocket or your bag, preferably somewhere that can be zipped/buttoned up. These simple tips alone will dissuade most opportunists, as they’d rather move on to easier targets.

Bogus WiFi hotspots
You’ll probably travel to new places this summer and want to connect to the internet at some point, maybe in the evening to chill and stream videos or catch up on social media. Many legitimate restaurants and hotels offer free WiFi if you connect to their hotspots, but sometimes malicious individuals create lookalike hotspots, called ‘Evil Twin’ hotspots, and try to get people to connect to their own by mistake. They can then spy on all the data coming and going to your phone through their hotspot, compromising your privacy and security. Always be sure you’re connecting to the correct WiFi hotspot and never send sensitive information while on a connection you cannot trust.

Pickpockets
Pickpockets typically hover around major attractions and take advantage of tourists, who will likely never be in the area again and won’t get their phone back. All it takes is a momentary lapse in concentration and a clever pickpocket can take advantage to lift your phone. Simple tips like don’t put your phone in your back pockets and keeping any zipped/buttoned pockets closed can prevent most opportunists. Be aware of where your phone is on your person and what it feels like. It can be very easy to forget about it and knowing how it feels to have should help avoid being distracted and not noticing when someone tries to take it.

Leaving your phone on the table
Summer is the time for going out and enjoying outdoor dining and beer gardens. If you’re the type of person to take your phone out of your pocket and put it on the table or on the bar, then be extra vigilant about keeping track of it. Many people get up to leave and completely forget about it. Unless the phone is noticed and handed into staff, it’s not likely you’ll ever get it back if it’s taken while you’re away. Ideally don’t have your phone out in place sight unless you are using it and get in the habit of keeping it on you rather than putting it down when not in use.

Be aware of pop up stall scams
During the summer, many big shopping centres and markets will have stalls that pop up selling a variety of things from food, calendars and most importantly, mobile phone accessories and repairs. Pay careful attention to what they are selling, as market stalls have been known to pass off fake batteries as real ones. These can be very dangerous, as they have have likely not passed the rigorous safety checks that real ones must. In the very best case scenario they simply don’t work for long, but in the worst case scenario they can spark and cause a fire that could destroy your phone and potentially more. Always buy official products from trusted sources.

Hey, I’m Rory and I am the ultimate accidental geek.
Born in London I was never interested in technologies until I started a part-time job at Apple and now I can’t get enough. Join me as a help you navigate the world of tech with some of my fellow geeks.

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