• Burton Kelso, The Technology Expert

6 Ways to Hack-Proof Your Smartphone



Smartphones have become the preferred tech device for most people. With the rise of the popularity of smartphones, hackers have turned their attention away from breaking into computers and are now focused on hijacking mobile devices and the accounts associated with them. Cybercriminals want access to your account to purchase additional equipment to be sold and are targeting your emails, photographs and banking information to commit a variety of crimes such as fraud, blackmail, and theft. How can you protect yourself? Take the following precautions.

1. Setup protection with your phone carrier. All phone carriers are aware of smartphone hacking and have taken steps to make sure that their customers are protected. Your phone carrier should request you to create a PIN for your account. Whenever you contact service provider to inquire about your account or to make changes to your account, your PIN is requested. If you think you do not have a PIN, call your provider and make sure you have one.

2. Beware of Phishing Attacks. Phishing Attacks are one of the more popular ways Phone hijacking can occur. Don't click on suspicious links in emails, especially if they look like they come from your mobile provider. These links take you to website that look that they are your mobile provider and ask for information criminals can use to get access to your phone or your account. When in doubt about any phone calls or emails about your mobile account, call customer service or stop into a stop of your provider.

3. If you can help it, do not publish your phone number online. Keep your cell phone number off of your social media accounts. Cyber criminals are always looking for any piece of personal information they can use against you. If a criminal get a hold of your number, they can do a internet search to see which provider you use. Then they can impersonate a customer service representative and gain valuable account and personal information from you. If you need to have a public number for people to reach you, get a phone number from Google Voice and make that public instead.

4. Review your phone bills monthly. In this day of the email statement and auto pay, it's tempting to just pay your bill without looking at your statements. You won't always get an alert from your phone provider if something bad happens. Keep a close lookout for any odd changes. If something doesn’t add up, report it immediately.

5. Do not use the same usernames and passwords . Cybercriminals count on people to use the same user names and passwords. If criminals get your account information, they will check on all of your accounts using your information. If they log onto one account, then they move on to others. Make your passwords long, complicated and difficult to guess. Need help keeping up with all of those complicated passwords? Use a password manager like Lastpass.

6. Be careful when using public Wifi with your smartphone. Using you phone provider's connect is the best way to stay secure, but if you have to connect to public wi-fi, verify with the public location that you're connecting to their network. For added protection, use a VPN (virtual private network) like TunnelBear (available free for Android and iOS). A VPN will route your traffic through a private encrypted channel, so even if someone is monitoring your traffic they won’t be able to see what you’re up to.

Criminals are constantly finding newer ways to scam people. They use a combination of technology and tactics to gain access to information.

If you have any questions about your technology and your devices, please feel free to contact us. Our friendly tech experts at Integral are always standing by to answer your questions and help make your technology useful and fun.

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