Many think that mobile phone security in West Virginia—anywhere really—is adequately handled by adding a passcode to prevent access by others. Security measures like facial recognition, fingerprint verification, and two-factor authentication are procedures many people know and understand even if they’re not in the tech industry.
But adding these security protocols to our smartphones doesn’t guarantee security. You have to wonder: Do phones listen all the time? The answer is “yes.” If you’re a small business owner, learn what steps you can take to protect the information in your conversations.
Mobile Phone Security in West Virginia: Is Your Smartphone Listening?
You come in late from work after meeting up with friends and flip your laptop screen open. You begin to chuckle again as you recall the conversation you and your friends were having about foldable mini-bikes. When you open your social media service your chuckles stick in your throat. There–in the sidebar–advertisements for foldable mini-bikes.
You have never researched these items before, you have never read news stories about them, and you had never even talked about them until one of your friends brought them up after work tonight. Suddenly you begin to wonder, is your smartphone listening to you? What other conversations have they been listening to? And what are they doing with your information? Read on to find out.
Mobile Phone Security in West Virginia: Do Phones Listen All of the Time?
We have all heard or read stories like these. Although they may seem fantastic and paranoid, your smartphone certainly could be listening to you. If the news stories discussed above are any indication, anecdotal evidence indicates the phones may be listening anytime and using that data for advertisements.
Security Steps to Keep Your Smartphone from Eavesdropping
There is no way to guarantee that any device with a microphone is not listening to us short of removing its power source. Technology experts agree that technology gives our smartphones the ability to listen to us all of the time. The devices must be listening in order to be ready when we say “Hey Siri” or “OK Google” to engage a digital assistant.
At least one cell phone mogul readily accedes that it is recording and storing our conversations from “Hey Google” searches. Google stores recordings of what is said after triggering Google’s digital assistant. You can actually monitor and manage those recordings on the Google Voice and Activity page. Apple has also acknowledged that it records what we say to Siri but without indicating how it uses that information.
We may not always get a straight answer when asking whether our smartphones listen to us all the time. But we can still take steps to protect our information and ourselves.
Smartphones as a Security Risk for Small Business: How to Protect Yourself
Since smartphones have become ubiquitous, there can be no harm in taking steps to ensure that, if your smartphone is listening to you, you are not allowing it to listen to confidential or sensitive conversations. The easiest way to do this is not to have your phone with you. But because we are attached at the hip to our phones—sometimes literally—the next best alternative is to turn the phone off when you do not want your smartphone listening to you.
Sometimes we need our phone for access to information during a meeting. What can you do short of turning your phone off? You can also modify your phone’s microphone permissions. In your phone’s settings, you can allow or deny permission for different applications to use your microphone. For many, the only application that actually needs to use the microphone is the phone application. Those who record video with their phones or use the digital recorder application might want those applications also to have access to the phone’s microphone.
After you’ve made the adjustments to microphone permissions on your phone, review those permission settings periodically to ensure that you haven’t accidentally given an application permission you had not intended. Making this step part of your regular security checkup will help ensure that your mobile phone isn’t listening when it shouldn’t be.
You shouldn’t have to worry about smartphones as a security risk for small business. If you have any questions about mobile phone security in West Virginia or other business communication issues, call ComTech Consulting, LLC at (304) 720-8491 or email us at Sales@ComTechSBS.com. The IT security and business communication professionals at ComTech are ready to help with all of your technology questions.