What risks can a cell phone present if it is never turned off?

This process fixes security issues on the mobile device and keeps sensitive information such as passwords and sensitive images protected

The simple act of turning off the mobile phone reduces the risk of cyber threats

The simple act of keeping the cell phone on is the entry into cyberattacks that can infiltrate the mobile device, and use confidential information such as passwords and contacts without authorization.

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For this reason, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has issued an important recommendation for all mobile device users: turn off their cell phones at least once a week.

This advice, detailed in a recent report by the agency entitled ‘Best Practices in Mobile Devices’, is part of the measures to reduce the risks of hacks and improve the digital security of users.

Why it is dangerous not to turn off your cell phone

Criminals take every opportunity to attack
Criminals take every opportunity to attack. (Photo: Freepik)

Similarly, the danger of not turning off the cell phone can make the device more vulnerable to various cyber threats and their aftermath.

Among these threats, the NSA mentions malware and spyware, two types of malicious software that can be installed without the user’s consent when visiting suspicious websites or downloading untrustworthy applications.

These programs can steal personal information, send unauthorized messages, or even disable the device entirely.

How cybercriminals can control a cell phone

Cybercriminals hope to access valuable information stored on mobile devices
Cybercriminals hope to access valuable information stored on mobile devices. (Photo: Freepik)

Cybercriminals can control a cell phone by exploiting vulnerabilities known as ‘zero-day exploits’. These are security flaws that have not yet been detected or fixed by software developers.

Cybercriminals use these vulnerabilities to access devices, obtain sensitive data or take control of the cell phone. Shutting down the device weekly can help mitigate these types of exploits, because the power interruption prevents the execution of certain malicious codes.

The NSA report also underscores that threats to mobile devices are becoming more sophisticated and prevalent. Despite the advanced functionality of smartphones, these devices often sacrifice certain aspects of security in favor of convenience and usability.

The security of cell phones must be of the best quality
The security of cell phones must be of the best quality. (Photo: Freepik)

This lack of protection creates an environment conducive to cybercriminals developing complex techniques to infiltrate systems.

How to protect your cell phone from cyberattacks

To protect the cell phone from cyberattacks, along with the recommendation to turn off the cell phone weekly, the NSA offers a series of additional suggestions to improve the security of mobile devices. These include:

  • Turn on Bluetooth and GPS only when necessary: Both services can be used by hackers to track the device’s location or intercept transmitted data.
  • Use complex passwords and set a very low screen lock time: strong keys are harder to guess, and a reduced lock time minimizes the time the device is accessible if it is lost or stolen.
  • Set up remote lock: This feature allows the user to disable the device and remotely wipe data in case of loss or theft, preventing unauthorized access to personal information.
  • Keep the operating system and applications updated to the latest version: Software updates often include security patches that fix recent vulnerabilities.

Why it is important to protect your cell phone from cyberattacks

The cell phone handles information related to the home and other activities
The cell phone handles information related to the home and other activities. (Illustrative image)

The importance of mobile device protection lies in the growing reliance on mobile devices for personal and work tasks makes digital security more important than ever.

Cell phones store a significant amount of personal data and are often linked to bank accounts, social networks, and messaging apps, making them an attractive target for cybercriminals.

The NSA report stresses that following these practices not only protects personal information, but can also prevent unauthorized use of the device for illicit activities.



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