Turning off your smartphone once a week is important: here's why and how to do it

Did you know that turn off your smartphone once a weekbe it a device Android or a iPhonecan strengthen its defenses and contribute to the fight against cyber attacks? This is reported in a document Mobile Device Best Practices (in Italian “Best practices for mobile devices”) published byNSA (National Security Agency), or the US National Security Agency, which has provided some suggestions on how to make mobile devices more secure. Among these “tips” there is precisely that of do not keep your device turned on for more than 168 hours consecutively. This is because, when you turn it off, you interrupt potential flows of data leaks due to cyber vulnerabilities known to the software or device manufacturer, commonly called zero-day exploit.

Why turn off your smartphone once a week and what are the other tips from the NSA

Zero-day exploits are one of the most dangerous IT pitfalls ever and for a very simple reason: these vulnerabilities, not being known to the company that produced the device or to the developers of the various apps installed on the latter, if they are discovered by cybercriminals can be immediately used by them to the detriment of users. This, therefore, leaves “zero days” for companies called upon to develop the necessary security patches before any damage is actually perpetrated on users.

As the NSA explained, however, restart your device at least once a week can in fact go to break the flow of data and information which is transmitted from the device to the attackers, which often happens invisibly, without the victim realizing anything. This doesn't mean that the security measure in question is always effective against cyber threats of this type, but it could still hinder cyber criminals, which is not a bad thing at all. Not to mention, then, that restarting the phone could be effective for solve various software problems which make it work “stuggily”, prevent it from connecting to the network or which have led to overheating of the battery.

The NSA also provided other safety tips which, combined with the habit of restarting devices at least once a week, can increase their security, including the following:

  • Bluetooth: it must be deactivated every time you are not using it, taking into account that activating airplane mode does not always disable it.
  • Location: disable location services when they are not needed and do not take your device with you to sensitive places.
  • Wifi: Don't connect to public Wi-Fi networks, turn off Wi-Fi when you don't need it, and delete unused Wi-Fi networks.
  • Microphone and camera: both components should be covered when not in use.
  • Unlocking your device: use a 6-digit PIN/password for the lock screen and set the device to automatically lock after 5 minutes or less. Consider using biometric authentication (e.g. fingerprint and 3D facial scan), which are more secure than PIN entry.
  • Applications: install them only from official stores (such as the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store), uninstalling unused ones.
  • Updates: download them as soon as possible both for the operating system and the apps.
  • Attachments and links: do not open attachments and links from unknown contacts, taking into account that even trustworthy senders can transmit malicious content accidentally.
  • Smartphone accessories: only use original charging cables or ones purchased from a reputable manufacturer and do not use public USB charging stations.
  • Operating system: do not perform operating system “unlock” procedures, such as root for Android or jailbreak for iPhone and iPad.
Credits: NSA.

How to turn off your smartphone

The turning off the smartphone it is a rather simple procedure to implement but which, not being very “practiced”, could raise some doubts in some. To actually turn off the smartphone, most of the time you have to press a combination of buttons and then tap on the virtual shutdown button that appears on the screen.

As for the world Android, the procedure varies depending on the device you are using. On some smartphones you need to press and hold the power button for a few seconds and then touch Switch off. on the screen. On others, however, you have to press and hold the button at the same time for a few seconds power button and the volume + button or the power button and the volume key – (depending on the model in use) and then tap the button Switch off (or similar wording) that appears on the screen.

On iPhoneInstead, you need to act based on the model you have. On iPhone X, 11, 12, 13 or later models, you need to press the side button and any volume button for a few seconds and then drag the power off slider on the right. On iPhone 6, 7, 8 or SE (2to or 3to generation), instead, you need to press the side button until the appears power off slider and then drag it to the right. Regarding the iPhone SE models (1to generation), 5 or earlier you need to hold down the top button until the appears power off slider and then drag it to the right. Alternatively, you can also open the Settings app, tap on the item Generalscroll the screen to the bottom and, after pressing the item Switch offswipe right on power off slider.

Regardless of the device in use, to complete the restart of the device you must press the again for a few seconds power button/side button (maybe after a few minutes of waiting after turning it off).

If you do not want to “manually” restart your device, from the system settings of many smartphones and tablets you can use shutdown programming functionswhich allow you to turn it off and on again at preset times.