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How often you should turn off your phone according to the National Security Agency

How often you should turn off your phone according to the National Security Agency

Turning off your phone can deter hackers and scammers trying to access your information.

It may seem completely irrational to even think about turning off your phone nowadays.

After all, airplane mode and silent mode are there for a reason.

But experts say that powering down your phone can protect it from hackers and scammers.

According to security experts at the National Security Agency (NSA), this alone helps to protect the device from some hacking attacks.

Given how much personal and sensitive data our phones hold, we need to do what we can to keep it safe.

NurPhoto / Contributor / Getty
NurPhoto / Contributor / Getty

'I always think of phones as like our digital soul,' said Patrick Wardle, a security expert and former NSA researcher.

It is now quite common for hackers to gain access to our smartphones via malicious links, but now we should be aware of so-called zero-click exploits.

These involve bypassing the smartphone’s security features step-by-step.

It starts with something as simple as a missed call, then the first installed files, which gradually allow access to the system and tap into information without any interaction from the user.

The hackers look for ways to persist in the system by installing malicious software into the smartphone's root file system.

'There's been this evolution away from having a target click on a dodgy link,' said Bill Marczak, a senior researcher at Citizen Lab, an internet civil-rights watchdog at the University of Toronto.

This usually goes unnoticed but can be prevented by completely rebooting the device.

FG Trade / Getty
FG Trade / Getty

Although it's not foolproof, rebooting does make them work harder to gain and maintain access.

'This is all about imposing cost on these malicious actors,' said Neal Ziring, technical director of the NSA's cybersecurity directorate.

So, how often should you turn off your phone?

The security experts recommend that you turn your phone off completely at least once a week.

Ideally, you should reset your phone even more frequently. Doing so not only reduces security risks but also helps the mobile operating system run more smoothly.

If you have an Android device, you can check how long your phone has been running since it was last turned off.

To do this, go into Settings > Device > Status. The uptime is displayed there in hours.

If it's been a while, maybe turn off your phone for a bit just to be safe.

Featured Image Credit: NurPhoto / Contributor / FG Trade / Getty