Is Your Smartphone At Risk Of Getting Hacked?
For the typical phone owner, it’s unlikely your device would be hacked or infected with malware. Smartphone security, especially that of iPhones, is not easily breached but it can be bypassed.
What’s more likely than getting hacked is having your bank account or Facebook profile hijacked. Have you ever gotten a vague Messenger text like “OMG so funny, thought of you” and a link in which you’re asked to log back into Facebook? Looks like Facebook but, oops, you just gave away your login info. Usually, it’s the user who is the weak link in the security chain.
Hacking, on the other hand, is done by remotely exploiting weaknesses in the operating systems of any networked digital device like a smartphone, laptop, or home computer. The goal of the hacker is to obtain unauthorized control of an individual’s device or network. Because our phones house so much personal data, they are a prime target for hackery, though unlikely it may be. Personal details, banking info, socials logins, photos, message history, and phone conversations could all potentially be compromised.
How is that different from a virus? Simply put, a computer virus is a piece of software hidden in a file or document that has the ability to replicate itself in computer, phone, and network systems to spread rapidly. Much like getting hacked, a virus can steal data and passwords, log your inputs, corrupt files, or spam your email contacts.
It’s not always easy to detect a hack or virus but here are some telltale signs. You may experience unusual popups or that apps are continually crashing. If you notice your battery suddenly starts draining quickly or doesn’t hold a charge as long, you could have malicious spyware running in the background and consuming power. Similarly, if you find your data usage suddenly increasing, this could be due to a virus sending your data to a remote server and using up your data allowance. In either case, go into settings to check the battery consumption and data usage for resource-hungry apps that you don’t recognize.
What should you do if your phone is compromised? You can download a trusted antivirus app and scan for infections, delete any apps that look suspicious, and – the coup de grâce – perform a factory reset. Of course, the latter will erase all of your data so make sure you have it backed up locally or your phone’s built-in cloud storage service.
To protect your devices from virus infection and hacker intrusion, always use a highly-rated antivirus app. Use a VPN (virtual private network) if you use public wi-fi networks (now or in the future). Always turn on two-factor authentication for accounts that support it. Don’t’ save passwords as plain text – use an encrypted password manager instead. Don’t download apps from third-party sources. Keep your phone and its apps up to date. Don’t visit suspicious websites or click on suspicious links. Stay off the Dark Web – If you don’t know what that is, you’re probably better off!