Articles / News/PR

Is your smartphone spying on you? Take the test

Is your smartphone spying on you? Take the test

Your phone is listening to you and making it easier for marketing companies to target you. What can you do about it?

Over the past year, there has been a 5% increase in the installation of monitoring apps, according to the NordVPN study. However, some users suspect that their smartphones are spying on them even if they do not have monitoring apps installed.

This is a truth. Virtual assistants like Siri, Google Assistant, or Alexa listen to their users all the time. They have to listen continuously in order to hear voice commands and be useful. However, some of the things people say are being recorded for companies’ own benefit, such as improving their quality of service or for marketing purposes.

When you ask the Google Assistant or Siri to find something, this information is used for the purpose of providing you with online advertising. It’s nothing different than typing something into Google’s search engine. If you’re looking for car deals in your city, you’ll start seeing car-related ads all over the internet. In a way, a virtual assistant is just another search engine,” says Daniel Markuson, NordVPN’s digital privacy specialist.

He explains how you can check if your phone is spying on you.

How to test your smartphone?

The best way to see if your phone is helping marketing companies target you is by cheating on it.

  • Choose a good theme. It should be something that doesn’t normally associate with your personality, something you’d never talk about.
  • Isolate the theme from your phone. Don’t use your phone or any other device you own to search for information on this topic. The best way to do this is to think about it silently. Make sure you’ve never Googled this topic.
  • Choose the keywords. Think of a list of topic-related keywords that search engines can use.
  • Discuss the topic aloud next to your phone. You can do it alone or with someone else for several minutes. Do this for several days in a row. Make sure you never look for information about the topic in any other way: your phone should only hear you talk about it.

Once you’ve cheated, check to see if new ads appear on your social media or other digital channels that are related to this topic. If this happens, then your phone is probably helping you receive this advertising.

Is it legal to listen to users?

When a user uses a virtual assistant, they are actually agreeing to the terms and conditions of the service provider. As you have given your consent, it is legal to track your conversations with Google Assistant, Siri, Alexa, and others for marketing purposes.

This only becomes illegal if an app spies on you without your consent. That’s why it’s essential to review the permissions you’re giving to each service and know the ways your phone is tracking you.

How can you protect your privacy?

First, you should review your apps’ permissions.

When given access, apps can do whatever they want with that data. Then make sure you create a routine to check the permissions of the apps on your phone, and think twice before accepting the demands of an app,” emphasizes Daniel Markuson, NordVPN’s digital security specialist.

Some apps may want to access your microphone for no reason. This could allow malicious actors to spy on you in the background or collect data for advertising purposes when you don’t want to be heard. Check your smartphone settings and make sure your apps can only access the resources that are essential to fulfill their function.

Also, delete logs of your activities from time to time, and turn off the audio recording feature. Apple, Google, and other service providers allow you to clear your dictation history. Choose carefully the information you tell your phone in general.

Don’t share too much information with your phone. The less I know, the better,” says Daniel Markuson.

Finally, install a VPN on your smartphone to enhance your privacy. A virtual private network masks your IP address and encrypts your online traffic, thus improving your privacy.

Read Next: Microsoft lists 5 endpoint management predictions in 2023 for CISOs

Share This Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>