‘Can my smartphone be hacked?’ This is a question that is often asked and the answer is ‘Most certainly, yes.’
Not only can your smartphone be hacked, it can be done easily without your knowledge.
Hackers are often interested in the data stored on your phone such as contacts, e-mails and passwords rather than hacking the device itself.
They’re also interested in the services your phone depends on such as images and data stored in the cloud. Here are the three main ways that smartphones are hacked:
Wi-Fi in public places such as cafes and airports is often insecure. It’s not too difficult for hackers to access email and passwords via these public Wi-Fi networks.
To protect yourself:
- Be careful when connecting to free Wi-Fi and avoid sharing sensitive information
- For instance, don’t do online banking or shopping on public Wi-Fi and its best to avoid using email accounts too.
- Rather keep your online activities simple such as website browsing. This way you’re not giving out sensitive information.
Operating system flaws
Smartphone operating systems often have vulnerabilities. If these are discovered by hackers invariably attacks will take place.
- Device manufacturers release operating system updates frequently to protect users.
- If these updates aren’t applied a phone will remain vulnerable.
- When updates are released hackers also learn about the vulnerabilities and attempt to breach smartphones that have not been updated.
- Sometimes people don’t apply updates because they think it will adversely impact the phone’s operation. This is not the case. Updates contain really important security fixes.
Malicious apps are a major source of smartphone hacks. Hackers typically sneak malware infected apps onto websites or even into official app stores. These apps often have malicious code that is designed to steal personal data such as passwords and banking information.
The following steps can help protect:
- Limit the number of apps on your smartphone to those that you only use
- Pay attention to app messages that say things like: 'This app will have access to your email and your contacts.’ Is this something that you want?
- Before downloading an app do a little research to find out what other people say about it.