If you have any questions about information security (antivirus, hacking, cybercrime, data theft, etc.), send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The column answers questions left by readers on Thursdays.
When people close to you cannot be trusted, it is risky to use biometrics to unlock your phone with fingerprint or face recognition. However, other security measures can also fail. – Photo: Altieres Rohr / G1
WhatsApp spied on by boyfriend
Help me to know how do I block my boyfriend's access to my cell phone. He enters my WhatsApp via his cell phone and away from me, and it is not via WhatsApp Web. How do I block? I can't take this anymore! – (name withheld by the blog)
First of all, it is important to know that hacking other people's devices is a crime. Therefore, spying on a friend, boyfriend or wife's smartphone is prohibited by law.
If he is even spying on your WhatsApp without using WhatsApp Web, it is very likely that there is a spy program installed on your smartphone.
The standard guideline for any case of suspected espionage is to restore the cell phone to the factory setting. This will remove all your data from your phone and all installed applications – in the vast majority of cases, any spy programs will also be removed by this process.
If you have an iPhone, see instructions for restoring your smartphone here. If your phone uses the Android system, the steps may vary depending on the model, but some instructions are here. If you experience difficulties, seek technical support from the manufacturer.
Before performing this procedure, make a copy of your photos and other files in a safe place, either on your computer or on a cloud storage service of your choice. In some cases, it is possible that your photos and application data are already synchronized, but it is important to check that everything has been synchronized correctly. Without this, you can lose this data and you will not be able to recover it.
After performing the factory reset, it is important that you set the screen lock on the device. G1 has already published these and other tips to help prevent your device from being spied on.
The problem is that nothing will be able to protect your smartphone from a close person who intends to spy on you. When the enemy is so close, and part of the circle of people we trust, most security systems are unable to function and prevent the "enemy" from acting.
When a hacker or enemy takes advantage of an eventual opportunity to attack a device, that attacker has a short time to act. It is in this interval that everything needs to go right for the attacker: your cell phone may be unlocked, an application has not been updated, and so on.
But a close person can take advantage of one of these situations at any time, with no room for carelessness.
In addition, a close person has unique opportunities to circumvent screen locking systems, taking advantage of the capture or abuse of biometrics (when you are sleeping, for example). A very determined person can even watch your phone use to know your password on the lock screen.
Thus, you would be forced to hide the existence of the device completely and always turn off the phone (or disable biometrics) when sleeping. This is a stressful situation and probably not viable.
Technology is rarely able to solve problems between people. If it is not possible to reach an agreement of mutual respect with dialogue or therapy, you will have to ask yourself if you really want to remain close to a person with this criminal behavior.
Is 'Covid Preview' malicious?
I received this site – https://www.covidvisualizer.com/ – and I would like to know if it is a virus. – Maricleide Pinheiro
This specific website is an academic project and does not contain malicious code. However, knowing reliable sources of information is more important than just identifying one or the other site that does not contain malicious code.
Currently, the reference for the coronavirus is the Johns Hopkins University map, which compiles information from various health agencies around the world. You can access through this link.
You can also consult the Ministry of Health or press sites (such as G1) that reproduce numbers and guidelines from official agencies.
Facebook receives complaints for 'false news'. – Photo: Reproduction
Propagation of 'fake news'
I have never seen so many fake news as in this difficult time that we live. How to break this evil? – Davi Quadros
Fake news, like internet scams, try to take advantage of shocking or important topics for people. The new coronavirus pandemic, therefore, is a "full plate" for the proliferation of rumors and scams involving the topic.
In general, it is very difficult to check if an invented information is true. Sometimes the facts appear so distorted that it is not possible to research them. In other cases, there are some real "crumbs" in the middle of the lie – like a recent fraud on WhatsApp that promised a link to register the non-existent "citizen assistance", which was based on the true news that the government would help self-employed workers with R $ 200 per month (this amount has been increased to R $ 600).
G1's Fact or Fake section is one of the best ways to find out about some of the false information that is being disseminated on any topic.
But the main measure to avoid getting information about false news is to look for reliable means of information.
News that circulates on WhatsApp, mainly in videos, texts or graphics sent directly on the platform (without a link to certify the source of the material) must light the red light.
If there is no link or any source identification in the material (such as a brand on a news site) it cannot be trusted unless you can find identical material on the original site – which takes work.
Of course, a link is not an absolute sign of trust. Even the WhatsApp fraud, mentioned above, was propagated by a link. But the link ends up being a basic condition for the veracity of the content, since you will not have an easy way to check it without indicating the link.
A message that asks to be forwarded is also usually not very trustworthy. In most cases, they are fake.
In democratic countries, such as Brazil, the internet is not censored and, for this reason, it is not possible to prevent false information from circulating through the networks.
Everyone should play their part as a citizen, be wary of messages without clear identification of their origin and even try to check trusted sites when possible. If it is not possible to find other reliable sources for the same information, it is very likely that it is a lie.
On some social networks, you can also report fake content using the service's own tools. This helps to decrease the reach of this type of material, which can be educational for those who are sharing the fake content and to discourage new publications.
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