Being a victim of phone hacking is a nightmare. The worst case of phone hacking is that the threat actor gains access to your online accounts such as your social media, email, online shopping accounts or worse, your banking information. This would force you to go through the headache of change a lot of passwordsshould block your creditcontact your bank and online store sellers (Amazon, eBay, etc.), and try to locate everything else the hacker had access to†
It is always better to be proactive rather than reactive. Don’t wait to get hacked to care about your privacy and security. Take steps to protect yourself now.
Here are some tips that you should always have with you to stay safe from potential hackers.
Use a passcode lock or Face or Touch ID
When people think of being hacked, the first thing that comes to mind is someone in a remote location running a bunch of code to gain access to your device. This can sometimes be true, but the reality can sometimes be much more boring than that. Hacking simply means that someone gains unauthorized access to data on your device. This means that if someone physically accesses your phone and accesses your data without your permission, you are by definition hacked.
Your mobile device’s first line of defense is your passcode or face or touch ID. While this technology isn’t 100 percent foolproof, having a password or other authentication measure will certainly keep a large percentage of people out if they somehow get their hands on your phone. While it may seem like a minor inconvenience to add a lock to your phone, it’s nothing compared to the inconvenience of getting hacked.
Back up your phone regularly
It is good to back up your phone regularly for several reasons. Even if your phone isn’t lost or stolen, having a full backup of your phone makes switching to a new phone so much easier.
But if your phone is doing If it is lost or stolen, you can remotely wipe the data on that phone while making sure you still have access to all your data. Remember, if you don’t have at least three copies of your data, your data doesn’t really exist. Here is how to backup your iphoneand your android phone†
Don’t store passwords (or other sensitive information) on your phone
In general, it is best not to store passwords or other sensitive information, such as credit card details or personally identifiable information, on your phone. If your phone is hacked and the threat actor has access to that information, it will cause more than just a headache – it can completely destroy your credit and drain your bank account.
like you to do If you want to save passwords to your phone, make sure you have a password manager† If you’re short on cash, you can even get one for free† Password managers require a master password to access all your account credentials, so create a strong master password and make sure it’s something you can remember. Most importantly, don’t store that master password on your phone.
Only download apps from an official app store
This is especially true for Android users, as Apple’s app checking process is much stricter than Google’s. In addition, you can download third-party apps with Android, which makes it possible to download a malicious app.
Also keep in mind what permissions you grant apps. Some apps ask for access to your camera, microphone, photos, etc. While some apps have obviously legitimate uses for this, if you mindlessly give access to everything each app asks for, it exposes you to fraud.
Keep your phone and apps up to date
While it can be easy to defer updates, many of these updates provide critical security patches and/or improvements. If there are known vulnerabilities in an operating system or app, rest assured that threat actors will take advantage of them. Keeping your apps and phone systems up to date will help you stay one step ahead of potential hackers.
Additionally, if you’re not actively using an app, it’s a good practice to uninstall it.
Always use two-step verification (2FA)
Two-Factor Authentication, also known as 2FA, is an authentication method that improves the security of your accounts. Instead of requiring only a password to access your account, you must provide a secondary method of identity verification.
2FA comes in many forms such as SMS, authenticator apps, Bluetooth and even physical security keys. Each type of 2FA offers a different level of security. Understanding the basics will help you decide which method is best for your situation. However, when it comes to your phone, you really can’t beat one physical security key†
Use a VPN
When surfing on public Wi-Fi, always use a virtual private network (VPN)† A VPN masks your IP address and encrypts all data you transmit, making it difficult for threat actors to intercept or understand. This makes things like buying something online a bit safer. But that just means they can’t access your personal information. Can They Really Hack Your Phone If You Don’t Use VPN? Yes.
Without a VPN, your IP address is out in the open. A method of hacking known as Hacking remotely, is when a threat actor gains access to your IP address and uses it as a backdoor to your smartphone (or any other device you may be using). With a VPN, you use the IP address of the VPN server you are connected to rather than the real IP address of your device, protecting you from remote hacking.
Have a plan B if your phone is stolen or hacked
In the unfortunate event that your phone is doing If you get hacked or stolen, it’s important to have a plan in place so that you can quickly neutralize any damage the hacker can do to you.
First, don’t wait to learn how to remotely wipe your phone until your phone is stolen. The sooner you erase your information, the better. After you’ve wiped the phone, now it’s time to locate it. You can use Find My iPhone from iPhone or Android Device Manager from Google to find your device even after you wipe the phone or if the thief/hacker has done a factory reset.
The next thing you want to do is contact your local authorities to report the theft. Be thorough in your description to the police and write down any important information that you may later need to report to your insurance company or phone manufacturer, such as the officer assigned to your case, case number, and so on. If your phone has been hacked but you still have physical access to the phone, you can report the crime to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) if you live in the US.
If you believe that the hacker has accessed your personal information, such as bank or credit card information, contact your bank immediately to block your account and all associated cards to prevent unauthorized purchases. Also, freeze or lock your credit so that the threat actor cannot open accounts in your name.
Finally, take a deep breath. Everything will be fine.
[Further reading: What to do when your laptop is stolen (and how to prepare for it)]