Privacy is a luxury for smartphone users. Whether you are on Android or use an iPhone, it is easy for someone to track you and know exactly what you are doing online. Especially, if you are a person as important as Edward Snowden, government agencies would be more than interested in knowing your whereabouts. But if you ask Snowden, how he manages to stay safe online while using a smartphone, it might make you feel like not using one altogether and switch to an old Nokia feature phone.
- Use a smartphone based on GrapheneOS and not Android or iOS
Snowden thinks that both iOS and Android is equally vulnerable. “The iOS and Android operating systems that run on nearly every smartphone conceal uncountable numbers of programming flaws, known as security vulnerabilities, that mean common apps like iMessage or web browsers become dangerous: you can be hacked,” he said.
To avoid this altogether, he would rather use a smartphone based on GrapheneOS. For those unaware, GrapheneOS is an open source privacy and security focused mobile OS with Android app compatibility.
- Remove microphones and turn off Bluetooth when not needed
Snowden suggests to literally ‘desolder the microphones’ in smartphones to avoid someone listening to your conversations secretly through hidden apps. Not just that, Snowden also recommends turning off the radios (cellular, wifi, and bluetooth) when not needed. “I would route traffic through the Tor Browser,” he added.
- Don’t use Wi-Fi at home on your smartphone
This might sound a bit too much to safeguard privacy but Snowden is actually suggesting people to not use Wi-Fi and instead plug an Ethernet cable in your smartphone to connect to the internet. “I wouldn’t use WiFi at home, because global maps of every wireless access point’s unique ID—including yours—are free and constantly updated. I would use ethernet; yes, ethernet on a phone. I would deny network permissions to any app that doesn’t need it using an app firewall,” he tweeted.
I wouldn’t use WiFi at home, because global maps of every wireless access point’s unique ID—including yours—are fre… https://t.co/YueQ2FtTVA
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) 1569079789000
- Use an Ad blocker and a password manager
Snowden feels that everyone should use an ad blocker and password manager to protect privacy. “I would use an ad blocker. I would use a password manager. I would block third-party cookies in the browser. These last three are steps that absolutely everyone should consider, because they’re simple, cost little or nothing, and protect you while making your phone faster,” he said.
- Use Wire or Signal instead of using email to communicate
Just don’t trust email says Snowden. “I would not (and do not) use email, except as throwaways for registration. Email is a fundamentally insecure protocol that, in 2019, can and should be abandoned for the purposes of any meaningful communication. Email is unsafe. I’d use Signal or Wire as a safer alternative,” he said.