A few years ago, there was such an epidemic of iPhone thefts, especially in New York, there was a name for it. They called it apple picking. The technique was as brazen as it was simple. The thief would walk right by a person and take the iPhone right from their hand.
This led to Apple initiating the software feature, Activation Lock. The feature was so good, the police force started actively promoting it in a bid to cut the rate of smartphone thefts. Apple picking wasn’t exactly ended with that initiative. But it was greatly reduced.
One might say that Apple is doing their part to keep your tech safe. Are you? Here are a few things you can do to keep you and your tech from becoming just another statistic:
Secure Your Home
By now, we have all learned that no one should leave expensive consumer electronics in their car. That is a good way to get your devices stolen, and your car windows busted. When you leave the car, take the devices with you. The same is not true for the home. When it comes to expensive consumer electronics, we absolutely must leave home without them most of the time.
These days, it is not enough to lock the doors and windows. It is now necessary to have some type of monitored security such as the ADT home security system. It is like an extra level of insurance. A burglar is much less likely to rob a home with a security system. Security systems decrease residential burglaries.
I’m not saying that your government is out to get you. But with mobile forensics techniques as good as they are today, the government is not the only entity that can dissect the data on your phone to track your every movement. It should be a sobering thought that your smartphone is an advanced spying device that can, and will be used against you by everyone with the technical acumen to do it.
It is not just your government, every government is out to spy on as many people as possible. Some use malware to do it. Others will be more direct and take as much information as they can from your devices at the border.
You should know that there is no way to completely thwart a determined adversary who also has physical access to your device for a long enough period of time. The best you can do is encrypt everything so that the task is more difficult.
Start by purchasing devices that are hardware and software encrypted out of the box. Make double-sure your messaging app of choice is end-to-end encrypted. It is a simple search to find out if yours is encrypted.
Always use built in security measures like passcodes and activation locks. And be sure to set up two-factor authentication wherever it is available. Encryption makes it easier to recover stolen devices, or at the very least, harder for thieves to get your sensitive information after they take your smartphone.
Phishing is not new. Before computers, it was called mail fraud. Today, it is more sophisticated than ever. What makes it so bad is that it is extremely easy to impersonate companies you trust.
It comes down to this: Never, ever open a link sent to you in an email, even from a friend or trusted company. That link may not actually come from your friend. And no reputable company sends you emails with links requiring you to enter login or financial credentials.
Ignore the story. The story is always compelling. They will tell you there has been suspicious activity with your account, or that a transaction has been denied, or that you need to reset your password, or any number of other reasonable sounding things. When you click on the link, it looks like the official site. Fill in any information into that form, and you are owned.
At the end of the day, you are the only one responsible for keeping your devices and information safe. Secure them with a home alarm, encryption, and fraud detection skills.
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