Many detective TV serials show us how special agents or criminals use expensive, complicated equipment with some undercover techniques to spy on specific targets or ordinary citizens by accessing their phones or for various legal or malicious actions. Unfortunately, modern hackers have found ways to hijack smartphones and get all necessary information in far less complicated ways.
Why Is It Important to Protect Your Phone?
In the past, people couldn't even imagine that they would have so much vital information in one small portable device. Now that we have all the benefits and smartphones simplify our lives greatly, many people forget about the dangers and threats our smartphones carry as well.
What amuses us the most is how we treat the same physically present assets and those available via remote operations. If people keep any serious amount of money or precious jewelry at home, they find the most secure place there or use a secret safe. Otherwise, they opt for professional storage services at a safe deposit box, etc. However, a smartphone with all the sensitive data about its user, their family, friends, and so on can be easily accessed by a stranger in many cases.
An unlocked device, default locking settings, weak passwords are just several common reasons for smartphone hijacking. It can be performed by ordinary criminals who aren't even amateur cyber attackers and don't know about any up-to-date technologies or tricks but still can steal what they need. Imagine what harm can be done if an experienced cyber criminal takes over your phone and gets all your data. In that case, adverse consequences may be catastrophic or tragic.
How Cyber Criminals Act to Take over Your Phone
The most trivial way of phone hijacking is transferring an old phone to a new device by a phone service provider. First, a criminal analyzes what information your service provider needs to change the telephone (basic ID, SIN, or other sensitive data). Then they search for the victim's data available on the Internet or otherwise. After that, the criminals get through to the provider with a specific plan - either provide all necessary data or make up a very convincing story with a lost device, etc.
If the provider finds their story trustworthy, the hackers will have your phone with all the apps, photos, and other sensitive data on it. As auto recovery with your mobile phone is one of the most widespread security precautions, the malicious actor can get access to all significant apps and accounts. And now they can do anything with your assets and personal information.
Smartphones' vulnerabilities are similar to those of a computer. That is why they can be targets of all types of cybercrime - phishing, malware, cyber espionage, etc. However, apart from network, app-, and web-based threats, there are other more unique ones, including hijacking - remote and physical. Attackers can be after our mobile accounts, wallets, as well as mobile processing chips.
Individual Mobile Security Precautions
No matter individual or corporate mobile cyber security, it always starts with and depends on end users. The victim can be an individual though the real target can be the same or a company they work at. Here are the main actions to prevent mobile security threats or mitigate the risks:
improve cyber hygiene - share data via the Internet carefully, and manage permissions;
use strong passwords, multi-factor authentication, and appropriate reputable password management, encryption tools and other enhancing cybersecurity solutions;
Targeting mobile devices isn't a new trend in the cyber criminal world. Each year attackers make up more and more tricky ways to deceive people and get what they want. Please, take mobile cyber security seriously before it's too late. Get professional help soon when it's needed.
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