With the massive increase in cyber-crime and cyber-criminals, there has also been a correlative increase in the force exerted on this sector of the Nigerian society by the exceptional and unwanted Police unit, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The focus of this post is on securing your devices and ensuring your privacy is kept even when your devices are stolen or seized.
Truth be told, cyber-crime isn’t unique to Nigeria. In fact, advanced countries like the United States experience more superior cyber-crimes than the ones experienced in Nigeria. In this country, cyber-crime is usually noted with “Yahoo Boys” when the term is bigger than fraud itself. Cyber leak is another form of cyber-crime that is quite universally prevalent.
With the knowledge that the three characters (SARS, cyber-crime, and cyber-leak) in this post are some of the most talked about topics in Nigeria today, we have come up with this article to help protect your internet footprint whether or not you support the #ENDSARS campaign. This is an in-depth article for “Slay Queens” that could protect them from “Yahoo Boys.” Here’s an article for every lady and gent who doesn’t want to be involved in any altercation with SARS.
Let’s get it started
To protect yourself from the snare of cyber-leak, cyber-criminals, and SARS, there are some points you need to take home. You need to do more than take these points. You have to integrate them into your digital life.
1. Store Your Most Important Files in the Cloud
The cloud isn’t a service for the affluent anymore. It is here to stay, and it’s fast becoming an everyday utility. Those who are yet to grasp the possibilities within this service are missing a lot. As device users, we all have apps and files we don’t want everyone to see. It is, therefore, important that you save these files and apps in the cloud so you could hide them from unwanted eyes. Data is now cheap enough that you could virtually store all your files in the cloud. Even when your device is stolen, your files are still up there, and you can retrieve and utilize them on any device. More so, no SARS operative will tell you to open your Microsoft Azure account or your AWS account.
2. Hide Your Apps, Files, Images, and Contacts
Most smartphones now come with an encryption feature that allows them to hide their images from the gallery, and other files like apps and contacts. This is a key feature that could potentially save Slay Queens and their male counterparts from the snare of SARS operatives. Devices like Infinix only require that you press some keys on your contact screen to visit all your hidden files. The feature becomes unavailable the moment you press the home button or the minimise button on the left.
3. Lock Your Apps, But Not General Apps
Digital innovations have given users plenty to drool about. While it is important to lock some apps like your banking apps, your WhatsApp messenger (to prevent people from reading your messages), and a few more, you do not need to lock your Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat and Gallery apps. The more apps you lock, the greater suspicion SARS operatives have of you when going through your device. If you have any video or app you don’t want people to see, you can hide such on your phone. You could even save it in the cloud while uninstalling it on your local storage. You should only lock specific apps, especially banking apps to prevent financial loss.
4. Uninstall Apps and Delete Files You Seldom Use
Some apps can implicate you. For instance, an ordinary VPN app can implicate an innocent. If you seldom use this kind of app, you will be better off by uninstalling it or hiding it. Also, if you have documents or images (even screenshots) that could indict you, the best is to get rid of such (at least from your screen).
5. No Kidding, Your Phone is Important
We have been talking about the mode of storage. What if we tell you that the kind of device you use matters when it comes to mobile security and privacy? The iPhone is generally believed to have proficient encryption powers that Android devices can’t boast of. That’s true to some extent. However, some Android devices can equal or even surpass the iPhone’s security layers. Some of these phones include the BlackPhone 2, Google Pixel, BlackBerry PRIV, Samsung Galaxy 8, Gionee A1, and a few others. We will highly recommend all these phones and any iPhone from the 7 series up for security and privacy concerns.
6. Public Wi-Fi Network
We know you possibly can’t do without public Wi-Fi. However, you should desist from connecting to every free public Wi-Fi. This act is as dangerous as giving all your info to a stranger. Connecting to a public Wi-Fi is so dangerous that another person on the same network with enough IT capabilities can sneak into your device and steal all sorts of info therein.
7. Use Private Tabs
This tip is useful for everyone. There are times you need to browse without leaving any trace on the web. The internet saves every website you visit and everything you do with it. Therefore, it is vital to browse with private/incognito tabs when using the web for an activity that could potentially expose you to cyber-criminals or anything that could give SARS the least of evidence. Even if you do not use private tabs, ensure that you delete web history of suspicious activities.
8. Use Strong Passwords
Earlier, we told you to lock your most useful apps and unlock general apps to avoid being heavily suspected by SARS. It is also important to use strong passwords to lock your phone and apps. A strong password makes it difficult for your phone to be opened when stolen. This can save you from losing money. It can also save your reputation for those who have malicious files on their device.
9. Don’t Use the Same Password for All Apps
Many people are guilty of this. Using the same password (no matter how strong) makes you vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Also, you can easily give SARS all the info they need when you use a single password for all your apps – they wouldn’t need to ask you to open it anymore because they now have the key to the secrets on your device. We know it is hard to remember passwords; that’s why we advise that you…
10. Use Password Managers
Password managers like LastPass give you a central password platform that automatically fills passwords unto needed fields. With password managers, you don’t need to remember a password any longer. You only have to remember your central password – that of the manager itself. Password managers don’t automatically fill passwords alone; they also automatically generate passwords that are stronger than what any human can remember. The only downside to password managers is the fact that they are not 100% safe. The moment anyone can have your central password, they have your apps and files. That’s it.
That year when you started using the internet, you lost some privacy. That’s the truth we all have to embrace. However, you can decide how much of that privacy you really lost by protecting yourself with the mobile security tips provided in this article. Whether you are for or against the #ENDSARS campaign, the Police unit wouldn’t be scrapped, “Yahoo Boys” wouldn’t back down too; you are the one who needs to change tactics.
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