Anthony Albanese, Prime Minister of Australia, said last Friday, during the appointment of the national cybersecurity coordinator of the oceanic country, that turning the smartphone off and on once a day is a cybersecurity measure that users should practice. “We all have a responsibility. Simple things, turn off your phone every night for five minutes. For the people who look at this, do it every 24 hours, do it while brushing your teeth or whatever you’re doing,” the president said.
The statements have drawn attention because the benefit is not immediately clear. It is obvious that with a phone turned off, or even without a battery if you want greater security, the malicious activity that is taking place it will stop as long as it stays in that state, but does it get anything else?
The truth is that it is a recommendation that organizations and experts have been making for years. The US National Security Agency, NSAincludes it in its guide to best security practices with a smartphone, although with a nuance, once a week instead of every day.
The doctor Priyadarsi Nandaa professor specializing in cybersecurity at the Sydney University of Technology, has told The Guardian that periodically turning off the mobile for five minutes minimizes risk by forcing background applications and processes that may be being monitored to close by a threat to collect data. Some of the benefits of a reset can be achieved by closing applications from the phone’s settings, but there are processes caused by malicious software that can only be stopped by turning off the phone.
“If there is a process running from the attacker’s side, turning off the phone breaks the chaineven if it is only for the time that the phone is turned off, without a doubt thwarts the potential hacker. It may not fully protect you, but rebooting can make things difficult,” Nanda explains.
Another expert consulted by the media, Dr. Arash Shaghaghia professor at the University of New South Wales, points out that restarting the smartphone “can be challenging for attackers, as it is possible that need to find alternative means to exploit the device once it comes back on”.
Therefore, a reboot will not remove a malware, but yes hinder your activity. According to NSA recommendations, phone resets serve to protect, to varying degrees, against threats classified as rogue Wi-Fi networks, Nearby Access Network (NAN) and access network attacks, untrusted cellular networks, interception foreign legal, collection of calls/messages/data through the network and that the device can be geolocated.