Keeping a business safe from cyber threats while allowing it to thrive is every CISO’s goal. The task is not easy: a CISO has to keep many balls in the air while being buffeted by an increasingly complex and always shifting threat landscape. Consequently, the importance of a good CISO should not be underestimated. Mistakes to avoid, practices to implement Francesco Cipollone, CISO and director at UK-based cybersecurity consultancy NSC42, says that he has seen … More
Ever experienced buggy features on your phone? Well, there’s a way to solve them and it does not involve sending your phone packing to the nearest repair shop – it’s called the safe mode and, yes, it works just like Microsoft Windows’ repair and debugging environment. So, what is safe mode on my phone? Long story short, it could be your only shot at making that phone off your works again.
Screen freezes, unresponsive features, cascading restarts – all could be symptoms of a conflictive application. Unfortunately, uninstalling the application in question may not resolve the issue. Anyway, here’s how to switch on the safe mode on your phone.
What happens when your phone reboots in safe mode?
Basically, the safe mode is an environment where you debug faulty applications, turn off the feature that is otherwise hidden in normal mode. A Windows user knows best that in order to completely uninstall an app, you would need to go into safe mode. Well, that’s, more or less, what happens when you use this smartphone feature.
The environment is not at all different from your regular UI – all the apps are there, menus, connectivity options. However, while running in safe mode, you won’t be able to use widgets and some third-party applications; you won’t need them anyway since your goal here is to determine what went wrong with your phone. Well, that’s about it in safe mode. Yes, I know that it’s not a lot, but then again, you can’t get more straightforward than this.
Oh, by the way – most of the smartphone mishaps are generated by latent malware. On that note, I would wholeheartedly recommend using Thor Mobile Security, our latest malware-busting tool. Take it for a spin – first month’s on the house. If you don’t like it, you can always cancel your subscription and rely on your tool of choice.
How do you turn on the safe mode on your phone?
The quickest answer would be that it depends on what operating system your phone runs. Interestingly enough, the procedure’s the same across all iPhone devices, regardless of the OS. I’ll start with this one.
Turning on safe mode on your iPhone
Here’s a rundown on how to switch on the safe mode feature on your iPhone.
Step 1. Power down your phone by holding the power button.
Step 2. Wait until the phone’s completely powered off.
Step 3. Press and hold the power button again.
Step 4. When the screen lights up, hold down the Volume down button. Keep the two buttons pressed until the Apple logo appears on the screen.
Step 5. Your phone will now boot up in safe mode. Now you can safely remove any malfunctioning applications.
That was suspiciously easy, wasn’t it? Told you that the procedure’s the same when it comes to iPhones. Now that the fun part is over, let’s see how to switch on the safe mode on your Android device.
Turning on safe mode on Android
Let me start by showing you how to switch on this feature on most Samsung Galaxy phones.
Step 1. Drag down the notification bar.
Step 2. Tap on the “Safe mode enabled” button.
Step 3. Confirm and wait until your phone restarts. Congrats! Your phone is now operating in a safe mode.
Pitch-perfect! But that’s hardly the only way to switch on the celebrated safe mode. As I might have mentioned, the procedure depends on the type of phone you have. The list below will show you to unlock the feature on your Android phone.
Safe mode on HTC phones
If you have an HTC device, here’s how to switch on the safe mode.
Step 1. Press and hold the Power key. It should be located on the right side of your phone.
Step 2. Hold the Power key for about three seconds.
Step 3. From the power down menu that appears on the screen, tap and holds the Power off icon. After a couple of seconds, a new power down option will appear on your screen – “Reboot to safe mode”.
Step 4. Hit the Restart button. Your phone will now boot up in safe mode.
Safe mode on LG phones
To switch on the safe mode on your LG phone, start by holding the Power key and select the Restart option. Once the LG logo appears on the screen, hold down the Volume Down key. To see if safe mode is enabled, take a closer look at the bottom left corner of the screen. If you followed the above-mentioned steps, a Safe mode icon should appear.
Safe mode on Moto G phones
If you have a Motorola smartphone, please follow these steps in order to enable safe mode.
Step 1. Press and hold the Power key.
Step 2. Please release the power key when the Shut Down menu appears.
Step 3. Long-press the power off button.
Step 4. When the Reboot to Safe Mode option appears on your screen, tap on OK to initiate safe mode.
Safe mode on Huawei smartphones
It’s trickier to switch on the safe mode on Huawei phone since it involves removing the battery. Just follow the steps below.
Step 1. With the phone turned on, remove the back cover.
Step 2. Remove the battery.
Step 3. Put the battery back in the slot.
Step 4. Hold down the Menu.
Step 5. Long-press the Power Key. Don’t let go of that Menu key.
Step 6. If done correctly, the message “Safe Mode” should appear in the lower part of the screen.
Safe Mode on Blackberry PRIVs
Here’s a quick guide ton how to turn off the feature on your Blackberry PRIV phone.
Step 1. Long-press the Power button.
Step 2. When the Power Off menu appears on the screen, long-tap the Power Off button.
Step 3. After a couple of seconds, a safe mode prompt will appear on your screen.
Step 4. Tap OK to confirm.
Safe mode on Xiaomi smartphones
There are two ways to enable this feature on your Mi smartphone. Check out the guide below.
Step 1. With the device powered on, long-press the power key.
Step 2. When the power menu appears, let go of the power key.
Step 3. Long-press the Power Off button.
Step 4. After a couple of seconds, the Android Safe Mode message will appear on your screen.
Step 5. Hit the Reboot button to restart the device into safe mode.
Step 1. Restart your device. You can do that by selecting the Restart option from the Power Off menu.
Step 2. When the Xiaomi logo appears on your screen, tap the Menu key.
Step 3. Continue tapping the menu key until you see the lock screen.
Step 4. The Android Safe Mode message should now be on your screen.
Safe mode on your Oppo smartphone
Oppo phones are the latest addition to the market. Can’t say I’ve had too much contact with them, but from what I’ve gathered, they’re cheap and surprisingly high-performing. So, here’s how to switch on the safe mode on your Oppo phone.
Step 1. Press and hold the Power key.
Step 2. In the Power Off menu, tap and hold the power off. Keep it pressed for a couple of seconds.
Step 3. A second power off menu till appear.
Step 4. Tap on OK to confirm booting into safe mode.
Well, that’s about everything you need to know about the issue at hand (what is safe mode on my phone). As I’ve mentioned, sometimes it may be the only way to get rid of buggy applications and unresponsive features. And, if all else fails, there’s always the restore to factory settings feature. Hope you’ve enjoyed the read and, as always, for comments, rants, beer donations, shoot me a comment.
Still thinking about buying a new phone? Well, trading your old one (and probably some extra cash) for a spanking-new smartphone would be the most sensible thing to do. However, there’s still the issue of actually making sure that the buyer can’t access your personal data. Sure, you will argue that wiping the phone’s storages would put an end to this debate.
As it happens, data can be extracted from a device even if the owner deleted everything by hand. So, are there any workarounds? There are, but it takes more than a simple memory wipe to ensure that the data’s totally safe.
Still willing to go through with this? Awesome! Here’s are a couple of data protections you should consider taking if you plan on selling your phone anytime soon.
1. Backup, backup, and even more backup
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of backup. Doesn’t matter if want to sell your phone or use the computer for other purposes than entertainment; you still need a copy of your data in case something goes wrong.
So, the first step you will need to take would be to back up everything on your phone. If you’re the proud owner of an iPhone, you can take advantage of the iCloud feature and back up everything to the cloud.
You can also plug it in your Mac and save a local copy just to be extra safe. Don’t know your way around the iCloud back up feature? Chill, fam! I got you covered. Just tap on Settings, choose the Storage & Backup option from the menu, and then head to iCloud Backup.
Bear in mind that you will need an iCloud account to store data on the cloud. When you’re ready, tap on the Back Up Now button and that’s it. Your phone will then copy your data on the cloud. Sit back and relax because this is going to take a while.
Paging Android smartphone owners! Yeah, I know that not having the luxury of an in-built Cloud backup solution can be frustrating, but where a USB cable, there’s always away. As I was saying, the best and fastest way to back up the stuff on your Android smartphone would be to connect it via USB and copy every byte of data on your computer.
It may not be pretty, but it works. Sure, you can also try your luck with third-party Cloud backup software for Android like G Cloud Backup, MyBackUp Pro, Titanium Backup, Migrate, or Resilio Sync. You should do this preferably before wiping the internal and external storages. Just saying. No pressure.
2. Get rid of the SIM and any attached SD cards.
Doesn’t matter if you have an iPhone or Android smartphone; that SIM card must go away before reaching its new owner. As you probably know by now, SIM cards are used to store contact info, like phone numbers, email addresses, and names. You really wouldn’t want that kind of info to fall into the wrong hands, do you now?
So, before trading in your phone, make sure you yank the SIM card out of its slot. Newer smartphones have special trays, which facilitate access to both components.
If your phone doesn’t have a device tray, you’ll need to remove the back cover and probably the battery as well to gain access to the SIM\SD slots. You should refer to the phone’s manual for detailed instructions on how to safely remove the SIM and SDs.
3. Encrypt your data
Scrambling the data on your smartphone using an encryption key may be the best way to ensure that the data is totally unreadable. What happens is that the residue left behind after a total reset (I will get to that in a moment) will be locked by the phone’s unique encryption key.
Yes, it means that no one will be able to read or use a byte of information even if, by some miracle, someone does manage to get ahold of your deleted data.
For iPhone owners, you don’t need to do anything out of the ordinary to encrypt your data, since the phone does this by default. Unfortunately, things are not the same when it comes to Android devices. Not to worry.
Here’s what you need to do in order to encrypt the data on your Android smartphone. Tap on Settings and head to More. Scroll down until you see Security. Tap on Encrypt Device and use the slider to start the process.
Depending on the amount of data on your smartphone, the encryption could take anywhere from a couple of minutes to one hour. When it’s done, you can proceed with the next step which is performing the factory reset.
4. Performing a factory reset
As you would imagine, the final step before the phone will be shipped to the next owner would be to wipe it clean. Sure, you can go ahead and delete everything manually, but do bear in mind that this procedure usually leaves behind “breadcrumbs” (loose pieces of data that can be used to reconstruct a big deal of what used to be there).
As a result, the best way to go about scrubbing your phone’s memory would be to perform a factory reset.
On Android, head to Settings, tap on Privacy and select the Factory Data Reset. Tap again on the Factory Data Reset button to confirm. Your smartphone will restart a couple of times during the process.
If you have an iPhone, head to Settings, tap on General, and select Reset. Go to the bottom of the screen and tap on Reset Phone. It’s going to take a while, so take a chance to chill.
So, these are the basic steps that you will need to take before you sell your phone. Of course, there are always more ways to ensure that your phone’s clean as a whistle before giving it away.
Additional steps to take before you sell your phone
Step 1. Unpair all devices
If you have headphones, smartwatches, or Wi-Fi\Bluetooth speakers paired with your smartphone you should consider, well, unpairing them before proceeding with the above-mentioned steps. For Android, tap on Settings and head to the Bluetooth menu.
Turn on your Bluetooth to see a complete list of all paired devices. To unpair them, tap on the gearwheel next to each item and hit the unpair button.
In case you have an Android-compatible associated with your phone, you may want to wipe its memory as well. For most Android watches, go to Settings > Privacy > Factory Data Reset. Confirm the process and that’s basically it.
As for iPhones, to unpair, an Apple Watch head to the My Watch menu, select the active watch and click on the “information” button next to it. Hit the Unpair button and you’re all set. Just remember to keep that smartwatch close to the phone while performing the unpairing process.
Of course, you shouldn’t forget about wiping your Apple Watch’s internal and external storage after unpairing it. To do that, fire up your smartwatch, go to Settings and then tap on General. Select Reset and tap on Erase All Content and Setting. Choose the Erase All option to confirm.
Step 2. Sign out from all tertiary services
Another thing you might want to try before you sell your phone would be to sign out from all accounts. This includes Facebook Messenger, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Google or Apple Pay, and everything in between. Do bear in mind that some apps like Facebook’s IMS and Gmail stores passwords.Be sure to wipe them as well before signing out of your accounts.
So, if you have an Android phone, you would want to tap on Setting and then on Cloud and Accounts. Tap on Accounts. Select one of them and then tap on the Remove Account button. You will have to repeat the procedure for each item in the list.
iPhone users should remember to switch off iMessage, the Wallet & Apple Pay, Find my phone, and Apple ID. You will find all of these items under Settings.
Step 3. Delete credentials from browsers
Most browsers store credentials by default. So, before saying buh-bye to your old phone, you may want to delete your credentials. Since Chrome’s most used mobile and desktop browser on the market, I’m going to show you how to purge the credential cache. First, open up your Chrome browser.
Tap on the More menu (icon look like three parallel lines) and select Options. From the left tab, select Privacy and Security. Scroll until you see Forms and Passwords. In the next dialog box, please select Saved Logins. Tap on the Remove All button. Congrats! You’ve just cleared the browser’s password cache. You can now sell your phone or at least try to find some interested party.
Step 4. Unregister your device from the Apple account (Apple phones only)
To unregister the device from the account, hop on your Apple ID account. When prompted, type in your username and password. Go to the bottom of the list and click on Devices. Select your current device from the drop-down list and click on the Remove button.
Step 5. Remove factory reset protection (Android only)
FRP (factory reset protection) is an Android-exclusive failsafe that prevents factory reset and manual wipe in case your phone gets stolen. In other words, if someone were to run out with your phone, this in-built countermeasure will not allow the thief to wipe the phone’s memory in an attempt to get rid of the evidence.
So, it’s only natural to deactivate FRP before attempting to sell your phone. To do that, tap on Settings and go to About device/phone. From there, head on over to Software info. Write down your phone’s version.
After that, go back to the Settings menu and select the Security or Lock Screen Security menu. Under Screen Lock, move the slider to the off position. All you need to do now is perform a factory reset and find a customer (good luck with that).
Step 6. Fill the phone with dummy data
Not what you might call a regular pre-sale tactic, but considering the staggering number of cyberattacks, one cannot be too careful about data security. And yes, your personal info can still end up on the dark web even if you took all the precautions.
Filling up your dummy data prior to encryption and factory reset is one of the best ways to make this type of info totally unusable and virtually irretrievable. What this means is uploading stuff other than sensitive info on the phone.
This includes pics, videos, and empty documents. During the encryption process, the dummy data become interwoven with personal info. So, even if the phone ends up in the hands of a hacker, he/she will be unable to make heads or tails of the data that was on your phone.
Step 7. Clean your phone, add accessories, and scan
Now it’s time to add the finishing touches: cleaning, packing, and scanning the device. Yes, I’m aware that the cleaning and packaging parts don’t have any kind of bearing on data protection, but this doesn’t mean that they are unimportant.
Would you really consider buying a dirty and dusty smartphone? So, give a good clean before placing it in the original box. Don’t forget about blowing the battery compartment with a can of compressed air. Finally, place the phone in its box. Don’t forget about including the original accessories: charger, USB cable, user’s manual, headphones, and back cover spares.
Before taking it to the new owner, give it one last malware scan. I’m painfully aware that the memory was wiped clean, but some types of malware, especially those that get themselves attached to the boot sector, can persist even if the device’s entire storage has been wiped-clean. Now your device is ready to be shipped to its new owner.
That’s about it on how to prepare your phone before shipping it to its forever home. To wrap everything up nice and neat: backup, remote SIM and SD card, encrypt and perform a factory reset. I hope you’ve enjoyed my article and, as always, for any rants, comments, beer donations, shoot me a comment. Ciao!
The post 4+ Essential Data Protection Steps to Take Before You Sell Your Phone appeared first on Heimdal Security Blog.
Because I really don’t want to rile up all you wonderful Mac users, I’ve decided to do a follow-up on the whole hiding your folders in plain view dilemma.
If haven’t done so already, be sure to check out my article on how to hide your files, folders, and disk drives; it may not apply to Mojave or whatever else OS you’re running, but at least you’ll get an idea of what you’re up against. So, how do you hide folders on Mac?
Get yourself acquainted with the Terminal (Mac’s version of Windows’ command prompt) because, as it happens, it’s the only way to hide folders on Mac without resorting to third-party tools. Let’s dig in.
How to Hide Folders on Mac – Quick and Painless Version
If you really don’t want to trouble yourself with code, there’s a very easy and extremely fast way to hide your folders on Mac -by using the FileVault.
Basically, it turns your hard-drive in a Fort Knox-like vault which cannot be opened without the proper cipher, which in this case is the username and password associated with your admin account.
Yes, I know it’s like curing the disease by killing the patient, but I did say that it’s the easiest way to go about hiding your folders. Anyway, here’s what you’ll need to do, should you choose to use FileVault for masking your files, folders, and everything in between.
Step 1. Click on the Apple icon located in the upper-left corner of your screen.
Step 2. Click on System Preferences.
Step 3. Click on Security & Privacy.
Step 4. Head to the FileVault tab (it’s right next to the General tab).
Step 5. Click on the padlock icon to make changes.
Step 6. Click on the Turn On FileVault button.
Step 7. In the next dialog box, select the recovery method. You can choose between iCloud and generating a local recovery key. I, for one, would go with the later version since it’s more secure (no use compromising two accounts if your password gets stolen).
Here’s what’s going to happen if you use the local recovery key method: you will be taken to another dialog box where you will be going to see a system-generated code.
It looks very much like a Windows or antivirus activation key. Put this code in a new document or something. That the recovery key you’ll be using in case you don’t remember the password.
Step 8. Click on Continue.
Step 9. Click again on the Continue button to finish the process.
That’s it! Now FileVault will begin encrypting all the data on your drive. Depending on your specs, this process can take anywhere from a couple of hours to a few days.
Don’t worry too much about ending up with a potato computer; you’ll still be able to surf the web, watch movies, or play games because everything happens in the background.
One more thing: don’t forget to hook up your Mac to the power outlet. You really wouldn’t want to run out of juice in the middle of a procedure involving the drive on which your entire data is stored.
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How to hide folders on Mac using Terminal
There’s also a way to hide folders on Mac, but it involves using the Terminal. Don’t worry; it’s just a couple of command lines. Nothing too fancy or complicated. So, here’s how to hide files/folders using Terminal.
Step 1. Click on Finder.
Step 2. From the left panel, select Applications.
Step 3. Scroll down until you see Utilities. Double-click to enter the Utilities menu.
Step 4. Double-click on Terminal.
Step 5. Type in the following line:
Step 6. Create a new folder on your desktop. Fill it with stuff that you want to hide.
Step 7. Drag-and-drop the folder on to the Terminal window. If you look closely, you’ll see that the folder’s path has appeared.
Step 8. Press Return to hide the folder.
Great! Now that your folder’s out of sight, out of mind, let’s see how we go about accessing it. There are three ways to access hidden files and folders.
Method 1 – Using the Go to Folder function
From the Go menu, select Go to Folder. In the dialog box that appears on your screen, type in the path of your hidden folder. Don’t forget to include the “~” sign before the path.
It should look something like this: “~/Desktop/MyHiddenFiles”
Method 2 – Using the Open/Dialog function
Double-click on Finder and select Desktop from Favorites. Press the Show items as icons, in a list, in columns, or in the library (the pictogram looks like a rectangle divided by to straight lines). You may need to perform this operation a couple of times before the folder becomes visible.
Method 3 – Show hidden files in Finder
It’s possible to see a hidden file in Finder, but you will need to tinker a bit with Terminal. So, fire up your Terminal, and type in the following line:
defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE
Press Return to continue. After that, please type in or paste the following line:
Again, press return, go to Finder, and there you are – what was once hidden, can now be seen. Enjoy!
How to hide folders on your Mac by using Terminal Aliases
Aliases are macros or shortcuts to various commands. Albeit temporary, we can easily turn this into a more permanent solution. Again, you will need to fiddle around with the Terminal. So, here’s what you’ll need to do:
Step 1. Open the Terminal.
Step 2. Type in or paste the following line:
sudo nano ~/.bash_profile
Step 3. When prompted, type in the username and password associated with your active admin account.
Step 4. Press Return to continue.
Step 5. Scroll down to the end of the open .bash_profile.
Step 6. Type in or paste the following line:
alias showFiles=’defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles YES; killall Finder /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app
Step 7. Navigate to the following line and type in or paste the following:
alias hideFiles=’defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles NO; killall Finder /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app.
Step 8. Save the file.
Step 9. Exit Terminal.
That’s about it. Now, the next time you will launch Finder, all desired folders will be hidden.
Even more ways to hide files and folders on your Mac
As they say, there’s more than one way to skin something (please don’t say “cat”). So, if you found that the methods described are much too difficult, here are a couple of more ways to hide folders on Mac.
Using the “mv” command
The “mv” command in Terminal moves a file or folder from one place to another. How does this help you? Here’s the trick: the “mv” command moves the folder from its original location to a period folder.
Now, by default, period folders are hidden because they contain system-critical information. Basically, it’s the same thing as moving files or folders to your System32 folder in Windows.
To make files invisible in this manner, open Terminal and type in mv filename .filename. Replace “filename” with the name of the file you want to hide and the “.filename” parameter with the name of the system-protect file.
Deploy Apple’s Developer Tools
If you’re in the mood to do a bit of tweaking, download and deploy one of Apple’s Dev Tools and enter the following command in Terminal: setfile -a V <name of the file you want to hide>. The name of the file should follow the “V” parameter without the “<>”. This command will set the file’s attribute to invisible.
Dump everything in the Library folder
When everything else fails, try the Library folder. It’s hidden by default, making it the ideal place to store top-secret stuff. Just fire up your Finder, navigate to Finder, right-click, create a new folder, and drag all the files in there.
Use third-party file-hiding software
You can also use special software to keep your folders away from prying eyes. The best ones are Altomac and Hide Folders. However, there are also open-source alternatives such as AES Crypt, Axcrypt, or File Lock PE. Give them a try if you’re looking to beef up your account’s privacy.
That’s it on how to hide folders on Mac computer. Know any more methods? Hit the comments section and let me know.