A recent survey, developed by Motorola and an expert from Harvard University, found more than half of Generation Z respondents described their phone as a best friend, and 35 percent of respondents agreed they spend too much on their smartphone.
Apple and Google have launched different devices to help consumers better manage the time we spend on our digital devices. Apple recently launched the Screen Time tool for the iPhone — and Google released Digital Wellbeing, a similar tool for Android devices and other Google products.
For those who tend to check their phone often, Screen Time has a section dedicated to letting you know how many times you’ve picked up your phone. You can see the total number of pickups and the average amount of times you pick up your phone per hour. It’ll also tell you between what times you picked up your phone the most. For example, our most pickups at one point was 33 times between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Digital Well Being
There’s a new type of malware on the loose—and over a million Android devices have already been infected. Although, most of the infected devices are in Asia, 19 percent of them are in America, and 13,000 more devices are hacked each day. It’s the largest breach of Google accounts ever, and it’s definitely cause for concern.
You can pick up the malware aka Gooligan, by downloading seemingly harmless apps from sources other than the Google Play store. Once downloaded, Gooligan gains access to all of your data, including Gmail, Google Docs, Google Drive, Google Play and more.
Even though Gooligan has access to a lot of your personal data, it doesn’t appear to use it. Instead, Gooligan downloads apps from Google Play in a scam designed to collect advertising revenue. These apps may provide Gooligan’s creators with cash for each download or show ads to generate income. Compromised Google accounts may also leave reviews on these fraudulent apps to make them appear more legitimate to other users.
Here’s an easy way to check if you’re infected. Security firm Check Point has created a tool that shows if your email address is among the compromised accounts. If your device is compromised, you’ll want to do a clean installation of Android on your device
How to keep your device secure
- Install the latest version of Android, including the security patches. Your carrier should provide instructions when updates are available.
- Don’t download apps from anywhere other than the Google Play store. Newer versions of Android will warn you if you try to download apps from elsewhere. Pay attention when it does!
- Run a reputable anti-virus application. While anti-virus protection can sometimes be frustrating — anti-virus apps can accidentally identify non-malware as malware — it can help keep your phone secure. Try AVAST, AVG, Kaspersky, McAfee or Norton, all of which are free and known for their solid desktop anti-virus protection.
Researchers have discovered that data can be recovered after a factory reset. The file itself isn’t actually overwritten — the system just throws away all the info on the file, essentially tossing it in with whatever free space you have.
What can you do to prevent someone from recovering your data?
Encrypting your Android Phone is the strongest way to prevent its data from being recovered. Devices running Android 6.0 Marshmallow are required (except maybe some low-end devices) by Google to have mandatory encryption for maximum security.
Devices running Android 5.0 Lollipop or lower (and supports encryption), it’s highly recommended you turn on encryption (Settings > Security > Encrypt phone) to scramble its data before doing a factory reset. (The setting location may vary on different devices.)
Then factory reset it
Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting Apple devices and you can expect more of the activity in 2016. Expect to see a rise in attacks on its operating systems, security experts suggest. According to security firm Symantec, the amount of malware aimed at Apple’s mobile operating system (iOS) has more than doubled this year, while threats to Mac computers also rose. Security firm FireEye also expects 2016 to be a bumper year for Apple malware.
Systems such as Apple Pay could be targeted, it predicts. Apple is an obvious target for cybercriminals because its products are so popular. While the total number of threats targeting Apple devices remains low compared with Windows and Android, Symantec is seeing the range of threats multiply. Users can no longer be complacent about security, as the number of infections and new threats rise.
Hackers are also increasingly targeting corporations, where Mac use is now more prevalent. A corporate espionage group known as Butterfly which attacked multi-billion dollar companies in 2015 developed malware tools that attacked both Windows and Apple computers.
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