Security on personal data has become a major concern in the quest for the freedom of expression following the victimisation of media professional and bloggers in general, to reveal their sources and in some cases just to give explanations on the content they publish.
The Digital Society of Zimbabwe in conjuction with MSA Zimbawe has highlighted on some of the steps that can be taken especially by android software users in securing their data.
By Tongai Mwenje and Shyline Guvakuva
The following are some of the steps that can be used;
ACCESS TO YOUR PHONE
Enable Lock SIM card, found under Settings -> Personal -> Security -> Set up SIM card lock. This will mean that you must enter a PIN number in order to unlock your SIM card each time your phone is switched on, with out the PIN no phone calls can be made.
Set up a Screen Lock, found under Settings -> Personal -> Security -> Screen Lock, which will ensure that a code, pattern or password needs to be entered in order to unlock the screen once it has been locked. We recommended using
the PIN or Password option, as these are not restricted by length.
Set the security lock timer, which will automatically lock your phone after a specified time. You can specify a value which suits you, depending on how regularly you are willing to have to unlock your phone.
1.1 DEVICE ENCRYPTION
If your device uses Android version 4.0 or newer, you should turn on device encryption. This can be done in Settings -> Personal -> Security -> Encryption. Before you can utilise device encryption, however, you will be required to set a screen lock password (described above).
Note: Before starting the encryption process, ensure the phone is fully charged and plugged into a power source.
1.2 NETWORK SETTINGS
Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth by default. Ensure that Tethering and Portable Hotspots, under Wireless and Network Settings, are switched off when not in use. Settings -> Wireless & Networks -> More -> Tethering & Mobile hotspot.
If your device supports Near Field Communication (NFC), this will be switched on by default, and so must be switched off manually.
1.3 LOCATION SETTINGS
Switch off Wireless and GPS location (under Location Services) and mobile data (this can be found under Settings -> Personal -> Location).
Note: Only turn on location settings as you need them. It is important not have these services running by default in the background as it reduces the risk of location tracking, saves battery power and reduces unwanted data streams initiated by applications running in the background or remotely by your mobile carrier.
1.4 CALLER IDENTITY
If you want to hide your caller-ID, go to Phone Dialler -> settings -> Additional Settings -> Caller ID -> hide number.
1.5 SOFTWARE UPDATES
To ensure that you phone remains secure it is strongly recommended to keep your software updated. There are two types of updates that need to be checked:
1. The phone operating system: go to: settings -> About phone -> updates -> check for updates.
2. Apps you have installed: Open the Play store app, from the side menu select My Apps.
Note: When updating your phones software it is important to do it from a trusted location such as your internet connection at home instead of somewhere like an internet cafe or coffee shop.