Beware of all the things your smartphone can really do

Most people don’t think about cell phone hacking. They know it can occur, but they assume it will never happen to them. Contrary to that belief, cell phone hacking is becoming more prevalent. At first, the rich were the main targets. Now, everyone with a cellular device is a potential target. This is understandable considering that almost everyone has a cell phone.

Don’t panic though. You’ll learn everything you need to know about how to protect your information here. The first step is to learn what is cell phone hacking and how it is done.

What is cell phone hacking?

Cell phone hacking isn’t a term that you’ll find in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, yet. Put simply, cell phone hacking is when a third party gains access to your mobile device without your authorization. They can do this in a variety of ways including, but not limited to: sim swapping, phishing, and Bluetooth hacking.

Most features that we find convenient in our cell phone are what hackers are using against us to gain entry into the personal data we keep on our phones. Here is how they’re doing it.

Sim swapping

Using the sim swapping method to hack a mobile device requires a hacker to convince your cell phone provider that they are the rightful owner of your mobile number. They then proceed to switch your number to a new sim card that they have. Once they’ve gained access to your number they can retrieve verification codes through text messages to access your other accounts.

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Bluetooth hacking

There are a few Bluetooth hacking methods out there. Through bluejacking, hackers can send unwanted messages to your device over Bluetooth connections. Bluesnarfing means that the hacker is actually collecting personal information that is stored on the device. Then there is bluebugging, which is when they upload malicious data or are able to gain access to your device through your Bluetooth connection.

Phishing

Most people are familiar with the term phishing because they’re on guard for it through their email. Well, the same phishing applies to your mobile device. Mobile hackers will send phishing links via text messages. In some cases, the link will get sent out in a group chat with a bunch of strangers in hopes that someone will click the link. Once the link is clicked, they have access to your device. Phishing lures can also be sent through social media apps.

Mobile protection

There are other ways that hackers can gain access to your device, but if you follow these general guidelines you lessen the chances of becoming a victim.

“At first, the rich were the main targets. Now, everyone with a cellular device is a potential target.”

First is to make sure your passcode to unlock your device is not simple. In the event that someone physically picks up your device, you don’t want them to easily guess your passcode to be able to go through your phone. Don’t have it set as 0000, 2580 or 1234. Those are the most common.

If your device can support having six digits to unlock it, do that. If you can create an alphanumeric code that is even better. If you have an iPhone, turn on the Find My iPhone feature so that you can track it and also wipe it remotely if need be.

Second, do not connect to any unsecured, public WIFI. Manage your Bluetooth connections and turn it off when you’re not using it. Use a security app like Webroot, which is available on both iPhones and Android devices. Regularly delete your browsing history, cache, and cookies so that if you are hacked, there will be less information for them to obtain.

Last, use strong passwords. A lot of devices and browsers offer suggested passwords. They are super long with random numbers and words that you can’t remember and that is why no one uses them. However, those are exactly the kind of passwords you need.

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