It’s hard to imagine a world without smart technology, but there’s no looking back now. We rely on these devices now more than ever, but what should we be careful of, and what are the urban legends surrounding security? Mark Pocock is the comms expert at has the answers on the most frequently asked questions from consumers.

Do you know a techonology truth from a techonology myth?

Do you know a techonology truth from a techonology myth?

Sim card fraud

According to Mark, what you’ve heard about sim card fraud is real, but just maybe not how you might think.

“Hackers are not stealing your bank details via information stored on your sim card. Sim card fraud actually refers to using your personal information to try to dupe your mobile provider into transferring your number onto a mobile they control and then using that to access your online banking logins.

“Fraudsters can do this by gathering information on you to answer basic security questions that your phone company might ask. You would be surprised at what you might have shared online to help them with this, from your pet’s name to re-tweeting your birthday wishes. Some social media games are even designed to assist this. Circulars like ‘Your Star Wars name is the town you were born and your first grandmother’s name’ may be giving enough info to crack your questions.

“The fraudster, with "your" SIM card, can get in touch with the bank claiming to have forgotten the online banking password so they are offered a one-time code to use to change it via text and clear out your funds. The moral of the story? Be very careful with the information that you share.”

2. Moving your router can change the power of your Wi-Fi.

According to Mark, this is true! He says: “If you are looking for a signal boost, then carrying out a bit of Wi-Fi Feng Shui might actually do the trick.”

“It’s a fairly common sight to see someone waggling their mobile over their head to attempt to get a better mobile signal but you are less likely to see people holding their router aloft and waving it around seeking higher speeds. The surprising truth is that, actually, where your router sits can affect the signal. As a rule, for optimum broadband Feng Shui, have it higher up and away from anything that might interfere with the signal – microwaves, or baby monitors for example. Try not to have it in a nest of metal objects as Wi-Fi can reflect, so keep routers clear of mirrors and shiny surfaces. Thick walls are also a potential obstacle, with anything from steel joists to the denseness of the concrete potentially sapping the signal.”

3. Your mobile is listening to you and uses this information to decide what to show you.

It’s not confirmed whether this is true or false, but Mark does have some tips on how to track how social media chooses your ads.

“There is plenty of anecdotal evidence of users suggesting they are being targeted for items they have only spoken about aloud and the technology, in theory, does exist. Think about it; for all of those who have their iPhones set to respond to ‘Hey Siri’, surely the handset has to be listening to some degree in order to know when it’s being called out to and when to respond with relevant information. There is little clarity around this and industry experts can’t seem to agree.

“That said, spooky accuracy could simply be down to incredibly effective targeting – your phone, discounting the microphone, has the capability to know a lot about you and sophisticated algorithms can then predict the type of thing you will be looking for using everything from your social media profiles to your search history. Clicking on things like ‘Why am I seeing this ad?’ on Twitter will give you a sense of who they think you are and why you might be seeing something.

"If you are worried about inadvertently giving away your secrets then disable voice assistants and check which apps on your phone currently have microphone permissions and switch them off if they do not need them. You might be surprised by how many apps that seemingly do not need microphones ask for this.”

4. Even after you erase your details from a mobile, it is still recoverable…

Mark says this is statement is actually false, but only if done correctly.

“Simply deleting everything bit by bit won’t delete everything off the handset – there may be some ghost information lingering that you aren’t aware of.

“Fail to clear your phone correctly and you could find that when you go on to sell or give it away, there is some data that’s still available and accounts that are logged into – making your information readily available to others who you wouldn’t like to have access to it.

“If you are worried about phantoms left on your handset, there are guides available to ensure you get rid of every trace.”

5. Your neighbour can have a much higher broadband speed to you, even on the same package…

This is true, says Mark. “Even on identical packages, there will be factors such as how many gadgets you have linked to your Wi-Fi, how many people are connected to the network, and even your distance from the cabinet if you’re on FTTC.”

“Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) is the process of receiving your broadband by running fibre optic cables from the telephone exchange or distribution point to the street cabinets which then connect to a standard phone line to provide broadband.

“If you are suffering from Wi-Fi envy, odds are there will be some things you can do to improve it and the first port of call is to check what you’re getting is in line with what you have paid for. Check your speed using a tool like this and use it as the basis of a conversation with your provider. They’re there to help. If there is a mismatch then you have grounds for a complaint.”

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