The mobile phone era has arrived. Do you know how to protect your phone from hackers?
No one wants their photos, texts and personal conversations posted for all to see on the internet. What's more, we don't want key financial information such as bank account and credit card numbers compromised. As with computer security, phone security is a serious concern.
In this guide, we're going to walk you through the dangers of phone hacking and offer a number of tips to keep your devices secure and your personal information protected.
In This Guide
The Dangers of Phone Hacking
Hackers may break into voicemail, text messages and live conversations. They hack into data contained on a smartphone, remotely send texts or take photos from your phone camera. Another hack is the denial-of-service attack which can freeze mobile phones or take control of it with malicious software.
Hackers constantly develop new tools of attack. The New York Times reports that recent research shows phones can be hacked via sound waves. Researcher and electrical engineer Kevin Fu showed sound waves could be used to hack self-driving cars via a cell phone app.
Consider the infamous hacking attack on the University of Michigan athletics Facebook page in the summer of 2015. The University lost all administrative access to their account and scrambled to regain control and contain the damage.
Mobile devices have evolved into pocket-sized computers. We use them to store important data, not just as a phone camera. Cell phones vulnerable to hacks from various sources. It could be and ex-friend or an identity thief. It makes sense to safeguard your mobile phone against hackers.
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How to Protect Your Phone from Hackers
Everyone with a cell phone should take preventive steps to protect it from phone hacks. There are people out there who don't have your best interest in mind. It is important to protect your personal information and even your phone number.
- Use passwords on mobile phones. Hackers are snooping after information about your family, friends or co-workers, or are hunting for credit card or bank account information. Realize that hackers can swoop in with a hack tool and steal key data and text it to themselves or others. We have a guide to creating strong passwords you should read up on.
- Do not share your passwords. Do not share with friends, acquaintances or coworkers, and don't let anyone see you enter your password.
- Be wary of storing private data on your mobile phone. If a hacker gets into your cell phone, private data could be lost and you may not be able to retrieve it.
- Backup key data to cloud storage, on your laptop, external hard drive or google account and clear data from your phone regularly. Employ end-to-end encryption whenever possible. Not a fan of iCloud? Here are our cloud storage top picks.
- Don't send personal or financial information in emails or text messages.
- Don't share your phone number or email address with anyone who doesn't need it.
- Consider using a VPN service to keep your online identity safe.
- Install anti-virus software from a reputable source on your phone to protect against malicious software hackers might leave behind.
How to Protect Your Phone from Identity Theft
Smartphone hacking is employed by identity thieves to steal personal and financial information. Identity thieves can delete your data, invade your email, install malware or gather personal information from your phone.
There is plenty of phone hacking software on the market. While such spy software is intended for parents or employers monitoring cell phones, it can be used for identity theft by hackers.
Dedicated hackers with technical skills can also create code generators, Android-based tools that generate code to bypass security features. The code generator can be used to attack your phone, Facebook account, Google account, bank account, Gmail account and other online accounts with sensitive personal and financial information.
Pro Tip: It is possible for an identity thief to hack an android phone with only an IP address. Potential hackers have access to information online on using an IP address to hack an android. Hacks can even be launched using test messages.
Tips to Protect Your Identity from Hackers
- Use a password for your voicemail. Put a robust password into place to keep your voicemail password protected. Include password protection for remote access to your voicemail from other phones.
- If your phone comes with a default voicemail password, change it right away to your own strong password. Think like a hacker when you set up a new password. Don't use your birthday, phone number, anniversary, or any number that would be easy to associate with you. A strong password can foil a code generator trying to crack your passcode.
- Each account should have a distinct password. Keep a record of your password strings away from your cell phone to help you remember. They can be written on paper and kept in a safe, private place. You may want to label a folder or envelope for a physical copy, or a password manager for a secure digital record of your passwords.
- Do not pay your credit card or access your bank account on an open wireless network. We have a step-by-step guide here to show you how to secure your WiFi.
- Use two-factor authentication whenever possible.
To take even stronger measures against identity theft, you can check out our review of the strongest identity theft protection services.
The Pew Research Center reports that an increasing percentage of Americans reach the internet with cell phones or tablets, as opposed to laptop computers. It's standard to employ a passcode lock, end-to-end encryption and two-step verification for backing up your laptop on the cloud, for example. It's time to employ rigorous security procedures with cell phones too.
It's standard to employ a passcode lock, end-to-end encryption and two-step verification for backing up your laptop on the cloud, for example. It's time to employ rigorous security procedures with cell phones too.
We tend to think of these hand-held devices as a phone and a camera, but they collect and store the same data your computer does. Cell phone users can download mobile security apps to their phones to help protect from hackers and spy software. You can passcode lock the mobile security app itself.
WhatsApp recently improved its security with a two-step verification process. The latest mobile devices offer security features with a two-factor authentification.
Android Mobile Security Features
Android phones such as the Samsung Galaxy support mobile security software. It's a good idea to check which mobile security apps work best with your make and model of phone.
Whichever Android phone you use, take the time to become familiar with its security features. The Samsung Galaxy comes equipped with lots of security options. Here are some typical features to look for:
- Lock Screen Options
- SD card encryption
- Fingerprint security
- Smartlock options
- Automatic security updates
Read More: Go here for a more in-depth analysis of the Samsung Galaxy line of phones.
Mobile Phone Virus & Malware
Mobile phones are not subject to viruses that plague laptop and desktop computers. However, they are vulnerable to Android malware apps designed to steal information from your phone. A good mobile security app can screen your phone for malware and stop android hacks.
Take care to download anti-malware apps only from bonafide sellers or manufacturer app stores for your Android device. Do not download from pop-up notices or unsolicited emails, as they could be from a cell phone spy. Furthermore, if you do happen to encounter any malware on your phone, you should take the necessary steps to remove the malware.
Apple iPhones are designed with security features built in. If you have a "jailbroken" Apple iPhone, it may be susceptible to iPhone hacking. There are iPhone apps available to enhance security from Lookout Mobile Security and others.
For iPhone users, it's important to keep your operating system up to date. A flaw in iOS 9.3.5 allowed hackers to take over iPhones with one iPhone text. As with a denial-of-service attack, your phone could be shut down. Despite warnings from Apple, many users were slow to download the new iOS, leaving them vulnerable to the iPhone text hack.
It's always a good idea to move sensitive date off your cellular phone. iPhone users can back up their data to their iCloud account. Be sure to protect your iCloud account with two-factor authentication and other security measures.
Antivirus Software Tips
For Android smartphone or tablet owners, it is a good idea to install an anti-malware app. Antivirus software is best purchased from the manufacturer's app store where you can be sure it's authentic.
- Apple has included a number of built-in security features with the iPhone. PC magazine gives in preventing iPhone hacking.
- For Android phones, look for antivirus apps that include malware prevention and detection, along with privacy features.
- The best anti-virus apps allow you to take a picture, wipe data and otherwise control a stolen phone remotely. It's also ideal to password protect the security app itself, check for this feature as you shop.
Mobile Phone Spies
Highster Mobile is a mobile phone spy app that allows users to monitor Android as well as iOS iPhones and iPads. It is exactly what anti-virus software is meant to protect you from.
The app was developed to help parents and employers keep tabs on their children and employees in a consensual arrangement, not to aid in hacking android phones. There are several such cell phone hacking apps on the market.
The Highster Mobile spy app is legal when used consensually with employees, but it is often used as a hack tool by unscrupulous parties who wish to act as a mobile spy.
How do you know if a cell phone spy has installed a spy app on your phone without your consent? Look for telltale signs like unusually high data usage, and a battery that drains rapidly. Cell phone hacking apps can cause phones to crash or shut down, even when freshly charged. If the device lights up when it's idle or sends texts or takes photos on its own, you may have a mobile spy in your pocket.
With hacking apps like Highster on the market, it's no surprise that celebrated hackers like John Draper, a.k.a. Cap'n Crunch, have also been hired as security experts by leading tech companies. Who knows how to stop hackers better than an expert hacker?
We live in an era when our phones have become pocket computers. These convenient and useful handheld devices make life easier but also pose a threat to our privacy and financial well-being if hacked. With cell phones in our pocket, it's a good idea to keep in mind basic security tips to keep our phones and data safe.
Remember to keep your passwords, financial, and social media information secure and private. Only share it with the people you trust. You can use a password manager to store all of your passwords safely and securely if you have a hard time remembering them. It also a good idea to backup your data to another device or the cloud in the case of a virus, a hack, or the device was broken/stolen.
It takes a proactive approach to safeguarding your personal and financial data on your mobile device. It's worth the investment of time and energy to learn wise use of your cell phone to avoid being hacked.