Mobile phones have grown to be the new victim of preference for hackers and other nefarious individuals. Once compromised, our cell phones offer easy access to your personal and financial information, giving hackers the ability to sell that information on the dark web and also to ransom our information.
But despite the growing threats to your smartphones, most people — even most commercial professionals — still don’t take basic security safeguards. According to a 2016 survey on mobile security by Intertrust, the price tag on mobile software hacks and breaches will reach $1.5 billion by 2021. Yet mobile device security often gets less attention than security for network systems or even our laptop computers. The same survey says $34 million is spent annually on mobile iPhone app development while only $2 million is spent on application security. This reinforces the old adage that the money allocated to security is never enough until there can be an incident… and then it is never enough.
There are all varieties of ways that our cell phones can make us vulnerable to assault. Many people use their mobile for two-factor recognition and security password resets. We all feel safer when our bank or investment company or email professional sends us a text message with a secure confirmation code when we’re logging in. But hackers may take control of your phone number and transfer it to a fresh phone — one which they control. Then your secure verification codes go straight to the hackers, providing them with access to your web accounts.
Apps are other ways that hackers can infiltrate your phone. A destructive code can be placed into free variations of popular apps. Once you have downloaded the application — for example, antivirus software — the hackers will ask you to spend money to get rid of viruses it found on your phone. If you refuse, the app can completely disable your mobile phone until you pay up. Think of it as a Trojan horse. Once you understand what’s happening, most of the time it’s already too overdue.
These are just two techniques hackers can wreak havoc on your mobile phone. What can you do to protect yourself and your mobile device? Here are 15 easy steps that can make you a harder aim for:
1. Immediately change manufacturing plant passwords on your phone. Stay away from 0000, 1234, your birthday, or similar easy-to-guess codes, and avoid configurations for auto-login or protecting passwords. Change your voicemail security password from time to time, too.
2. Keep your operating system up-to-date, and less difficult your telephone regularly. Install software and system improvements as soon as they are available, because these revisions may be fixing a bug or security issue.
3. Start using a dedicated email address for authentication and pin quantity resets. This email should be different from your personal day-to-day email address, which might be widely known.
4. Be cautious about installing programs from unknown sources, especially free editions of popular apps.
5. Only download software from the App Store, Yahoo Play, or other official resources, as they constantly display and remove suspicious apps.
6. Do not gain access to hypersensitive information (your money, for example) when using unsecured open public Wi-Fi.
7. Work with a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to create a more secure route between your smartphone and the internet.
8. Placed your phone’s lock-screen feature to engage quickly when the phone is not used.
9. Set your cell phone to auto-erase if too many inappropriate logins are attempted (and ensure that you back up your telephone regularly).
10. Turn off your phone’s Bluetooth feature you should definitely in use.
11. Enable the “Find my phone” feature so that you can quickly find it whether it’s lost or stolen.
12. Consider installing security software on your mobile — but only approved and well-known software (which usually is not free).
13. Try not to keep private information on your telephone for too much time. Keep your mobile phone as “clean” as is feasible by moving images and documents and images from it to a more secure device.
14. Turn off your devices you should definitely in use (do not just hibernate them), in particular when traveling.
15. Install personal privacy screens for your devices. (These are tinted display protectors that prevent bystanders from seeing what’s on your display screen.)
No one easily recovers from being hacked. While personal computers will always be vulnerable to attack, your mobile has evolved into the target of choice for crooks. Protect yourself by spotting the threats in advance and making the work to mitigate them.