As a mobile phone user, do you know that your phone is a soft target for hackers? Gone are the days when the bad boys used to target computers only because the mobile phone is the new pocket computer that gives them access to the most crucial information they need to fulfill their dirty agenda. On average, mobile users in a developed market like the US spends at least an hour of their daily life playing with their mobile phones.
However, mobile phones are fast becoming tools for manipulation and spying. The sad truth is that people can tap into your phone and do any of the following activities without your permission and knowledge:
- Read messages
- Locate your current and previous geographical locations
- View your images and the videos you exchange over the phone
- Listen to your calls, including ongoing ones
Here are some of the ways that hackers can access your phone:
- Malicious applicationsThe first and easiest way that hackers use to infiltrate your phone is through malicious apps people download over the Internet. Most of these apps require too much permission to your mobile phone details such as SMSs, camera, and contacts. It is wise to avoid downloading such apps unless they are from credible developers and their installation is unavoidable. A good instance is the Facebook Messenger, which accesses your photos, location, and SMSs. However, this program is not malware.Most of these crooks have perfected their dirty tricks by sending people spam links via social networks asking them to install particular program. Additionally, they take advantage of people who love free apps by taking popular applications, infecting them with malicious codes, and then offering them for free installation. This way, their spyware gets access to your phone without your knowledge. In fact, a 2012 study shows that 85 percent of malicious apps infecting people’s Android phones came from such “free” applications.
- Spying appsThese apps provide another avenue for someone to spy on you. In this category, the spy is not a hacker who may want to harm or steal anything from you. They are people who know you well and they want to track your activities. For example, a parent can install spy software to track their underage kids, a spouse may use the app to track their unfaithful spouse, and employers who may install such apps to monitor their irresponsible employees.
- Advanced interceptionsLastly, hackers can use advanced interception to get access to your mobile phone signals. They use sophisticated and fake mobile phone towers to tap into the privacy of your mobile phone communications. These systems can access your photos, text messages, and calls from any phone they have managed to connect to their network.
So, what are these hackers up to?
Here are some of the things these bad boys are looking for when they snoop into your mobile phone.
Steal videos and pictures
Even though this kind of attack is not common, it is still possible with the aid of sophisticated tools in the hands of hackers. They can sell such images in the black market especially those related to nudity. Their real interest is not your personal privacy but how much money they can make by selling such images. For example, if they get access to intimate images of a celeb figure, it is easier for them to make money out of such video or photos.
Another reason why these crooks would like to get illegal access to your phone is holding it ransom so they can use it to extort money from you. First, they will capture your details and then use them to be secretly sending premium SMSs to a system they control, and in the process, steal money from you. The next tool they will to achieve this goal is offering anti-virus software only to ask you later on to send some money because your phone is infected. If you refuse to comply, they disable your handset especially using pornographic lock screens until you give in to their schemes.
How to secure your handset
In this section, we look at some of the best ways of keeping yourself safe from these threats.
- Download credible appsThe first way to keep your phone safe is paying particular attention to where you download your mobile apps. You need should only download apps from credible stores that are operated by trusted companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Apple. The reason why such online stores are safe is that these three companies have put strong measures in place to detect and eliminate all malicious and suspicious applications.
- Read the permissions carefullyAnother measure you need to put in place is reading carefully the permissions that apps ask before installing them. You need to ensure that they are not asking for too much because they can use that information against you. If they insist on accessing your mobile device identity, contacts, and messages, you should be wary and avoid such applications.
- Use a strong password for your phoneAnother way of keeping yourself safe is using strong passwords to secure your handset. You need to avoid using names and digits that people can guess easily and access your device. You should use passwords that comprise symbols, numbers, small and capital letters. If you use a password such as “me1989,” you are exposing your phone to hacking. A good example of a strong password is this—tes6codot&Me. This way, you make it difficult for a jealousy spouse or any other person with malicious intentions accessing your phone to download spyware onto your phone.
- Protect your email passwordLastly, you should mind the strength of your email passwords. The reason is that at times the hacker may not necessarily be interested in your phone. They could also be interested in accessing your email and using it for their malicious ends. For example, they could be looking for emails addresses to send spam messages to or use to send such messages.
Mobile hacking threats are real, and you need to be aware of that fact. As a phone user, you need to know the tricks they use to access your phone and their dirty intentions. This way, you will be in a better position to protect yourself from their attacks using the solutions we have shared in this post.