How to Minimize Your Risk of Smartphone Hacking

Your smartphone may be vulnerable to would-be hackers, and you may not ever know it. Hackers will attempt to gain access to your email, your password, your contacts, even your photos. And if you use your smartphone for work, hackers could also try to gain company intelligence from your mobile phone.

According to a CNBC article there are at least three ways in which your smartphone is likely to be breached.  Our Consumer Guide provides more information regarding security and your smartphone.

Unsecure Wi-Fi

  • Public Wi-Fi networks at cyber cafes, your local coffee shop, and airports are often not secure.  We recommend never connecting to public Wi-Fi networks. If it is unavoidable, make sure it is a trusted source.
  • If you see the warning “Cannot Verify Server Identity” on your iPhone, do not click “continue,” mobile security experts explain.  Your smartphone provides some intuitive security technology, and this is an example of your phone trying to warn you of the potential for intrusion by hackers. Unfortunately, experts say a majority of mobile phone users click on this screen.
 Image courtesy of CNBC article

 

Flaws in the Operating System

  • No smartphone operating system is bullet proof, so don’t trust that your phone is any more secure than your laptop or desktop computer. It is important to put security software on your smartphone and keep it up to date, protecting it as you would your laptop or desktop computer.

 

Malware in smartphone applications

With the massive number of applications (or “apps”) available for smartphones, it is almost impossible to know which might have malicious code embedded in them.  Limit the number of apps you download onto your phone. If you do download apps, make sure to do the following:

  • Stay away from “free” apps. They could harbor bad actors attempting to install malicious code onto your phone. Also be wary of clicking on ads for apps that pop up on the sides of web pages.
  • Pay attention to the messages you get when you are downloading an app such as “this app will have access to your contacts, your email,” and so on. We recommend you avoid these types of apps altogether.
  • If you just can’t live without a particular app, turn off or on the settings that limit the app’s access to your information. Go to your privacy settings and see which apps have access to what. Turn off those that are not necessary such as access to your location.  
  • And last but not least, update your phone’s operating system as soon as new versions are released.

If you have experienced smartphone hacking as a result of malicious mobile apps or unsecure Wi-Fi, please tell us about it via our Online Complaint Center.