How to Protect Your Mobile from Hackers & Cyber-Attacks
The landscape of cybercrime is constantly changing and growing as hackers are finding clever ways to make money. Traditionally, it used to only be celebrities getting hacked. Now it is not only the VIPs but also any ordinary citizen with a smartphone.
There are many ways a phone can be hacked. It ranges from hacking into a live conversation or voicemail to hacking into sensitive data stored in the smartphone. While living in the fear of the unknown can keep one on the edge, the hacker will most likely be someone you know. Today, phone hacking is a growing security issue. As people keep storing sensitive data on their smartphones, the opportunity to exploit privacy weaknesses becomes more tempting to perpetrators.
To keep your phone and its sensitive content away from sticky fingers, you have to establish an effective strategy that protects your valuable information. Here’s how to protect your mobile from hackers and cyber-attackers:
Update Your OS and Apps
Many software companies keep rolling out updates which are not meant for cosmetic improvements alone. Many software updates contain bug fixes and security improvements that strengthen firewalls and protect against data breaches and intrusions. Ultimately, this makes it harder for hackers to break through. Whenever you get a request for a software update for your operating system or any app you use, install it right away!
Stay Away from Public Wi-Fi
Most people get attacked on public Wi-Fi through 3 dangerous ways. They include; Main-in-the-middle attacks, Malware and Wi-Fi sniffing. Free public Wi-Fi in shopping centres, cafes, airports and other public venues is a breeding ground for online mischief.
It is only better to use a private cell connection every time you are in a public place. If you have no data, use a VPN app. VPNs act as a utility that tunnels network communications through an encrypted connection. However, be wise when choosing a dependable VPN service as not all Virtual private networks have the best quality of service. If you’re not using a smart watch, it is also advisable to switch off your Bluetooth.
Use Two-Factor Authentication
Getting two-factor authentication (two-step verification), is an easy process of finding a software authenticator that generates a unique code for when requested. Google authenticator is a great example. It integrates with your chosen SMS API which, once integrated, enables one to send two-factor authentication messages to their user-base. Meaning when one wants to use their app, instead of simply adding a normal password, they are also required to produce the password sent to them via SMS as a security measure. However, if the phone is lost or stolen, you’ll lose this security feature and not be able to access parts of the app or software in use.
Use Strong Passwords
Nobody likes passwords especially when you have to have a different one for all the applications you are subscribed to. If you don’t want to a hacker to easily crack your password, then you need a strong one that is not easy to retrieve. Passwords should always contain 16-20 characters with a mix of letters and numbers, upper and lowercase letters, and symbols. Unfortunately, brute force password crackers will still find a way to break through many strong passwords. But this fault is caused by people using their birthdays, pet names, or having the same password for everything.
There are a variety of secure password generators that can be found online. You don’t have to think them up yourself and you can simply change your passwords every six months to a year, or as soon as you hear about a data breach. Don’t always answer security questions honestly and try changing your answers for different setups.
Use built-In Device Protection
If your phone gets lost or stolen, you can manage the loss by using device tracking services such as Android’s Find My Device. It can easily locate your missing phone on a map, and sometimes even erase it. This service can also be convenient by making your phone ring and help you locate a device that you have temporarily misplaced. You can also adjust the phone to delete all information after a number of incorrect passcodes.
Using an Antivirus App
Hackers use malware to steal passwords and sensitive account information. But the good news is that you can counter that with a smartphone antivirus app. There are a broad variety of apps that provide enhanced security by ensuring apps, PDFs, images, or any other files you download aren’t infected by malware.
Keep Your Mobile Phone Number Private
Just like you wouldn’t give out your landline to any robocalls, it is also important to avoid giving it to any app that prompts you. The more entities have your number, the more vulnerable you are to SMS intrusion, scams and invasion of 2FA accounts. Consider having a second line or using Google Voice to shield your phone number from online miscreants. There are apps such as Sideline, Line2, and Hushed, which allow one to add a second line to your mobile phone.
You should always be prepared for the worst. Always make sure your phone is backed up so as to protect critical documents in case your phone is lost or stolen. As a precautionary measure, here’s how to back up your phone on your Android device in case hackers and cyber-attackers get you.