15 Things That Make Your Phone An Easy Target for Hackers
Is your phone vulnerable to a cyberattack? If you’re making any of these very common mistakes, the answer is yes.
Be wary of sharing your location
In a blog post about security threats, Jolera.com advises against publicly sharing your location for both financial and physical security: “Hackers can use information about your location to spear phish you.” In other words, they can closely target you with phishing e-mails based around places you’ve been and regularly go. Criminals can also use your location to make robbery attempts where you are—or at your home when they know you’re away.
Don’t open unknown e-mail attachments
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“People tend to forget that their smartphones are in fact very capable computers. You are inviting trouble if you open suspicious e-mails and click links downloading malware unknowingly. Nine out of ten cyberattacks start with a simple phishing e-mail.” —Mihai Corbuleac, Information Security Consultant at StratusPointIT. That’s just one of the common computer mistakes you should have stopped making by now.
Think twice before clicking texted links
“Unless you are 100 percent sure of who the sender is, like a friend or family member, and at a minimum get confirmation that the link is OK, don’t click. Clicking links that might come from your phone carrier, a vendor, a merchant, or really anyone could be subject to malware infections, especially on an android phone.” —Robert Siciliano, security expert for Porch.com
Use complex passwords
“Many apps and websites require complex passwords, but many do not. It is always best to have passwords of at least 10 characters or more, mix uppercase and lowercase letters, and use special characters. Complex passwords are hard to remember. It may convenient to use the notepad on your computer or a mobile device to save them for easy copy/paste access, but exposing passwords to an insecure platform allows others to access them as easily as you do. E-mail and SMS are insecure platforms as well. The best place for storing passwords is inside your head.” —Clay Miller, CTO of SyncDog. Check out these red flags that someone may be spying on your computer.
Be careful about agreeing to app permissions
“Before installing an app, check whether it displays ads. It’s a safer option to pay a few bucks to get a version of an app that doesn’t show you ads if that is available. It’s a good idea to sanity-check the list of permissions before you enable them. While it makes sense for certain apps to ask for permissions [on things] that may seem sensitive, sometimes the list of permissions just seems too invasive and I will stop the product from installing. Or you may not want to enable all the permissions for apps that ask for them. For example, I don’t want the mobile app for my fitness devices to track my runs, so I’ve disabled location permissions for that app. I have a game that allows you to share photos, but I don’t want to do that with the app, so I’ve disabled those permissions.” —Lysa Myers, Security Researcher for ESET
Watch out for rogue Bluetooth connections
“Short-range wireless technologies such as Bluetooth can give away information about who owns a device that can easily be picked up by someone nearby. While Bluetooth requires that a user approves to connect or pair devices, it is easy to make a mistake and allow a rogue device to connect to your device. We recommend disabling Bluetooth when not in use and only permitting approved devices to connect to your mobile device. If in doubt, don’t allow it!” —Richard Gold, PhD, head of security engineering at Digital Shadows. Don’t miss these clear signs you’re about to be hacked.