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Android Security 101: How to Secure Your Communications & Messages « Android :: Gadget Hacks

Due to the overnight success of smartphones, millions of people are connecting with others. Currently, over 15 million text messages are sent every minute worldwide. Most of This kind of communication is usually happening within the open where any hacker can intercept along with also share within the discussion unbeknownst to the participants. However, we don’t need to communicate insecurely.

Securing your messages requires addressing three components of communication: The network, the apps, along with also your social decisions. By implementing our recommendations, you can make of which significantly harder for someone to access your messages. These steps are not foolproof, nevertheless they’ll make of which less likely of which you are a victim of the next major cyber attack.

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Step 1: Get a VPN

When of which comes to securing your communications, you’ll first want to focus on the travel of data. VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, provide security along with also privacy for your data by encrypting all traffic. Encryption is usually like a virtual safe of which hides your data through malicious individuals. By using encryption, your data (including its contents) is usually protected.

VPNs also provide privacy by hiding your IP address. Your IP address is usually like your home address, identifying your smartphone to the internet. Your network uses This kind of information to send along with also receive data to along with also through your device, nevertheless if This kind of information falls into the wrong hands, hackers can conduct cyber attacks. VPNs hide your IP address by moving all your traffic through their servers before moving to its destination along with also changing the source IP address. By doing so, your real IP address remains hidden through the web.

There are many excellent VPN services on the Play Store, nevertheless our recommendation is usually NordVPN, as of which provides a balance of security along with also speed. NordVPN uses the highest encryption method to protect your data along with also has over 1,000 servers in 61 countries, allowing of which to maintain a fast data connection while doing so.

Its Android app is usually very simple along with also straightforward. Once you open the app along with also log into your account, while on the main page, select “Quick connect.” A pop-up will emerge asking if you wish for NordVPN to control OpenVPN for Android. Select the checkbox asking if you trust the application then, choose “OK.”

Afterwards, another pop-up will emerge asking if you give NordVPN permission to intercept all network traffic. Choose “OK” along with also at This kind of point NordVPN will connect to the nearest server of which has the lowest traffic ensuring minimal lost of internet speed while using VPN protection.

NordVPN also features a feature known as CyberSec, which provides additional protection by actively monitoring the websites you visit to protect against malware, ads, along with also botnets (attacks which use your smartphone to attack additional devices).

Step 2: Encrypt Your Phone Calls along with also Messages

Besides a VPN, the applications used for communications should also provide some level of encryption. If the app is usually the weak link in our security fence, our communications can still be compromised by an external threat.

Recently, the news has talked about end-to-end encryption along with also how many favorite messaging apps are using of which to protect their customers. End-to-end encryption is usually when an application encrypts your data both on each device along with also during travel, providing complete protection.

For example, if Bob wishes to communicate with Alice, both Bob along with also Alice would certainly generate a pair of keys — one public key, along with also one private key. Before communication begins, Bob along with also Alice must exchange their public keys. Their smartphones exchange their keys using a temporary secret code known by both parties or additional secure protocols of which ensure the safe passage of the keys.

Once exchanged, Bob can compose his message along with also encrypt of which using Alice’s public key. Only Alice’s private key can then decrypt the message. As long as Alice’s private key is usually uncompromised, the message can only be read by Alice. When Alice replies back, she will use Bob’s public key to encrypt the message, along with also just Bob’s private key can decrypt of which.

Image by Winstonlee/Wikimedia Commons

However, with regular messages, your service provider is usually the weak link, as many cell carriers collect data about you along with also your communication for advertisement purposes. Typically, no keys are generated, along with also instead, your device is usually sending the message hoping of which of which arrives unaltered or viewed. You can achieve end-to-end encryption by using instant messaging, where the message travels through the internet instead of over your carrier’s SMS network.

Although most favorite apps (such WhatsApp along with also Facebook Messenger) provide end-to-end encryption, we recommend using Signal because of the amount of metadata of which collects. Metadata is usually all the information about the message besides their content. Who the message went to, the location of each user along with also even the IP address of those communicating are just some examples of metadata collected by companies. Signal collects the least amount of metadata compared to its competitors.

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Signal only collects your phone number, randomly generated authentication tokens, along with also profile information, such as an avatar along with also nothing more. Not only does of which protect your messages through being compromised, nevertheless if Signal became compromised, hackers would certainly gain insufficient information about you.

Signal also offers secure calling using VoIP. Similar to text messages, voice calls are weakly encrypted, along with also better protection is usually available using the internet. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is usually a system for voice calling over the web. Since Signal uses VoIP, end-to-end encryption is usually available to voice calls as well.

As long as you along with also the people you communicate with use Signal, all your messages along with also phone calls will be encrypted throughout the entirety of their travels, greatly reducing the chances of an external party hacking the conversation. Signal also offers encrypted video calls to help keep all communications secure.

If you want to learn more about how to use Signal Private Messenger, click on the link below to see all of our basic coverage on the topic.

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Step 3: Secure Your Email

A frequent target for hackers is usually your email. favorite email clients such as Yahoo along with also Gmail have measures in place to keep your contents safe, nevertheless their priority is usually maintaining fast performance along with also ease of use. Therefore, they don’t utilize the highest level of security to protect your emails. Recently, both Yahoo along with also Gmail had data breaches, with the former having the largest in history.

With emails containing so much information about us (including bank statements, love letters, receipts, etc.), any unauthorized individual who gains access can learn significant information about you, which can be used for malicious purposes. However, like our messages, we don’t have to continue to send unprotected emails.

Similar to additional forms of communication, your data is usually the most exposed while traveling between the sender along with also the recipient. For the highest level of protection, you want end-to-end encryption to secure your email through when you construct the message to when the recipient reads of which. You also want the highest level of encryption of which will evolve as hackers learn ways into current systems. Because of these reasons, we recommend using ProtonMail.

ProtonMail is usually a modern looking email client which provides security in a few ways. First of all, of which uses end-to-end encryption to protect your email throughout the entirety of its travel. However, unlike Gmail, your private key isn’t accessible to ProtonMail, as of which isn’t uploaded to their servers, ensuring security through breaches.

ProtonMail uses an open source cryptography which allows anyone to access their code. With of which being open source, of which will have faster adjustment to completely new exploits discovered. of which also protects against intentionally made backdoors (security holes of which enable continuous access of which are unknown to the masses) since the public can see the entire code along with also become aware.

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ProtonMail also records minimal metadata, none of which is usually personally identifiable information. Therefore, you are protected if a breach happens to ProtonMail or if someone wants to know whom you email. There is usually even an option for Self-Destructing Email which places a timer on emails you send, deleting them through the recipient’s inbox once the timer expires.

If you wish to learn more about ProtonMail, follow the link below for tutorials of which were written with beginners in mind.

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Step 4: Take Care of the Little Things

Even more important than the technology we use to communicate is usually the personal mistakes we make when of which comes to security. These errors include what information we send in communication — particularly passwords. Even if the conversation is usually encrypted, you should never send passwords or additional personally identifiable information in an email or text message. Most companies will never ask due to This kind of information through insecure lines of communication (especially email), so you should assume fraudulent activities if asked.

Secondly, avoid using public Wi-Fi. These are havens used by hackers to access individuals’ information, since of which attracts many devices which typically employ minimal security measures. If you must use public Wi-Fi, a VPN will provide you essential security along with also privacy for any form of communication. However, of which is usually Great practice to avoid these areas.

Connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots can leave you susceptible to attacks. Image by StockSnap/Pixabay

Finally, discuss security with family along with also friends. Even if you use a secure line of communication, if the destination is usually insecure, your content is usually exposed. To maximize the protection provided by Signal along with also ProtonMail, you both need to use the service. Share This kind of article with your loved ones so you can both enjoy secure communications between each additional.

Because of the popularity of smartphones, communications have become more accessible along with also more frequent. Unfortunately, much of This kind of communication is usually unencrypted along with also available for even low-skill hackers to access. By implementing these recommendations, you can provide yourself the necessary protection in order of which the person you intend to communicate with is usually the only person who can access of which.

After reading This kind of, what steps did you take to secure your communications? Did you use the apps we suggested, or did you discover another one? Let us know within the comments below.

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Cover image along with also screenshots by Jon Knight/Gadget Hacks

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