Having a cell phone is extremely common in this day and age. Smartphones are particularly popular and widely used amongst people from all walks of life. You may remember a time when smartphones were only affordable to those with padded back accounts or who used such devices for business purposes. Well, times have changed. With cell phone plans to fit every budget and prepaid phones being available for purchase, it is more common now to see a smartphone in the hands of people rather than the brick or flip phones of days past.
While technological advances are great, there are drawbacks to contend with as well. Phone hacking has become an increasing problem, especially if there is sensitive information contained within your phone. Not only do you put yourself at risk by logging into things such as credit card and bank accounts, but the simple act of storing information can be dangerous to you if your phone were to be lost or stolen.
Being proactive in the prevention of hacking threats is necessary to ensure the survival of your personal data and information. To prevent phone hacking, there are a few steps you can take.
1. Don\'t loan your phone. If a stranger comes up to you with a crisis and begs to use your phone, you may want to help. Do this by handing over change for a payphone rather than your own personal phone. Even people with good intentions may accidentally turn settings on or off, jeopardizing your safety without you even noticing.
2. Bluetooth should be and remain off when not in use. Have you ever tried to connect via Bluetooth to another device in a public place? If so, you have no doubt seen the plethora of \'discoverable\' devices in an area at any given time. Don\'t be one of them.
3. Use password protection to secure any personal information such as pin or account numbers. Ideally you should not store these on your phone at all, but if you must, use a security app to keep them safe (apps vary by manufacturer, so check the app store for your phone type). Also be sure to change any default device passwords that come with your phone. Default passwords are usually an easy to guess series of numbers such as \'12345\' or \'0000\' and only make hacking easier.
4. Do not partake in unsecured public Wi-Fi. A lot of people use the Wi-Fi feature on their phones to save money on their bills. If you use public Wi-Fi rather than the internet through your cellular provider, you do not waste precious data that can result in having your speed throttled or overage charges on your bill but you do open a door for others to access your phone.
5. Turn off location services when you do not need them. Used for the purpose of GPS, weather, and such, location services can give out information about your location that might hit a little too close to home...as in those services can help others determine where you live and where you are at any given time, which is information to which you may not want everyone to be privy. There is metadata stored and associated with files on your phone and geotagging is possible when you upload pictures, both of which contribute to the availability of information about your location. It is especially important to turn off location services on phones used by children.
6. Do not let your phone store or remember passwords. If you do, all it takes is for someone to roll the cursor over the right boxes and your passwords will populate, handing over the keys to the kingdom.
7. Do not take or store intimate photos on your phone as they can be leaked and used against you, resulting in great embarrassment. There is a politician who knows a lot about this. Learn from his mistakes. Also, if your location services are not turned off as mentioned above, your photos will be geotagged and your location information can be shared.
8. Clear your browser cache, cookies, and download history. All of this information is stored on your phone as you move between websites and it is up to you to dump it as it will not go away on its own. Rather, it will be there waiting for someone unsavory to take advantage of it when the opportunity presents itself.
Remember that hacking your phone is not something that is necessarily only done to gain information in hopes of stealing your money, identity, etc. Some hackers do it simply because being malicious is fun for them. An encounter with this sort of hacker can result in deletion of your data and information to give hackers a laugh or they may instead give you a nasty virus that will do their dirty work for them. Whether someone hacks into your calls, voicemail, photos, email, and/or banking information, it is your privacy that is being violated. Do not allow that to happen. Your privacy is not there to be exploited for someone else\'s entertainment or gain, so be certain take the necessary steps to prevent such things from happening and whenever you find yourself in doubt, simply take your phone battery out until you are once again in a safe location.