Among all of the threats online including phishing attacks, identity thieves, and sexual predators, hackers are among the worst. They sneakily intercept their victim’s personal information and infect iPhone and Android phones. But, how can the average person protect their devices from these online criminals? Below, we discuss various aspects of hacking, including how to protect your phone from hackers.
Who Are Hackers?
Hackers are people online who attempt to access personal data and private information online that they don’t have permission to view. A hacker usually acts with a specific goal in mind whether it is for financial, personal, or political reasons. However, it’s important to realize that not all hackers have criminal intent. For example, white hat hackers (aka ethical hackers) test out systems to find flaws and loopholes. They infiltrate a system in order to help the owner strengthen it.
However, when it comes to the average phone owner, they are usually targeted by black hat hackers. These hackers are considered the “bad guys” of the hacking world. They attack their victims with harmful intentions such as stealing one’s identity or online harassment.
Ways To Protect Your Phone From Hackers
Avoid Using Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi is definitely convenient if you need an internet connection while out and about. However, not all public connections are secure. Many of them don’t have the proper security measures in place to protect the people who are using them. And sometimes, public Wi-Fi networks are actually fake connections created by hackers.
Turn-Off Bluetooth When Not In Use
An easy way for hackers to access your phone is by intercepting your phone’s Bluetooth signal. The simplest way to prevent this is by only turning on your Bluetooth when you want to use it. For example, having it on when you have your phone connected to your vehicle.
Utilize A Monitoring Application
Cell phone monitoring apps are typically used to track another person’s phone, but they can actually be useful in monitoring one’s own mobile device as well. These applications can help track practically all activities on your phone including text messages, downloaded apps, emails, call log, and more. If there’s any suspicious activity on your iPhone or Android device, such as from a hacker, these apps can detect it. It can also double as a safety solution by backing up your phone data in the event your phone is lost, stolen, or infected by a hacker.
Use Your Phone’s Built-In Security Settings
All phones come with built-in security and privacy settings users can utilize. Some of the typical features most phones include are password protect, lock screen, facial recognition, and fingerprint authorization. There’s also the Find My iPhone or Find My Device apps that can be used to locate a phone and lockout anyone that may have it.
Use App and Account Settings
Just like with your phone’s built-in settings, the apps and other accounts you have on your phone have security settings as well. These settings may include 2-factor authentication, password and question protection, and data encryption. If you have questions regarding the settings available to you, contact the app or account company.
Get Mobile Antivirus Software
If a hacker is trying to gain access to your device, they will likely use malware and viruses to do so. By using an antivirus software or app on your cell phone, it will stop and quarantine these threats from affecting your mobile device instantly.
Don’t Click On Suspicious Links
One of the ways hackers can get access to devices is by sending their victims links to infected sites through email and text messaging. The bottom line is that if you get sent suspicious links from someone you don’t know via email or text, don’t click on it. Delete it immediately and block the contact.
Keep Your Phone Updated
Often, hackers find flaws in cell phone operating systems they can exploit to get access to phones. Sometimes, but not always, phone software developers and companies will warn users if a flaw or bug is found. To be on the safe side, always make sure you install software updates on your phone when prompted.
What To Do If Your Phone Is Hacked
Change All Your Phone Passwords
The absolute first thing you should do if your phone is hacked is to reset all of your phone passwords. This includes phone login, app, banking, and social media passwords. When you do so, make sure the passwords are strong, containing 16+ characters of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
Do A Spring Cleaning Of Your Phone
Just like you would with your home, do a spring cleaning of your phone. Delete any apps you haven’t used in months or don’t recognize. Remove all downloaded files, whether or not you remember them. Block people who have texted you soliciting something you don’t want. Do everything you can to remove unnecessary content from your phone.
Update Your Phone
As said previously, hackers can exploit flaws in your phone’s operating systems. If you believe your phone has been hacked, update your phone’s software. You can usually find any updates by going into your settings app.
Reset Your Cell Phone
If you did all of the above and your phone is still hacked, conduct a factory reset. Yes, you will lose all of your phone data, but it will prevent you from having to get a new cell phone. You may also want to consider changing your phone number as a safety precaution.
Why Care About Getting Hacked?
Being hacked is something every consumer should be aware of, but not obsessed over. Hackers are capable of committing many different criminal acts when they get a hold of someone’s personal data. Stealing your identity and finances, opening up credit cards in your name, and holding your data for ransom are just a few of them. The list goes on and on pertaining to what hackers can do to people and companies.
By taking the necessary precautions listed above, your phone will be less likely to be hacked. However, your phone will not be hack-proof. Always be aware of your phone activities and be on the lookout for signs of hacking.