A single fumble of your finger against a dangerous hyperlink could download malware that locks you out of your phone, so you must be careful. Here are seven ways cybercriminals try to break into your phone.
- In-person hacks - Not all attacks are made remotely. Someone can gain physical access to your phone, and if you have little or no security enabled, they can simply act as you to access personal and financial information.
- Stalkerware - One creepy trend is stalkerware. That’s when someone installs an app on your phone to track you. These apps provide your stalker access to the GPS location of your device, along with images, call logs and even your browser history.
- Bad downloads - Treat your phone with the same caution you would your computer. You may download a PDF or some other document with malicious code embedded in it.
- Bad apps - Not all apps in your smartphone’s official store are safe. Some are infected with malware. Online fraud is skyrocketing thanks to phony apps.
- SIM swapping - Hackers will target anything, even your SIM card. That’s the little chip inside your smartphone the cell network uses to identify your device. In SIM-swapping scams, criminals contact your mobile phone carrier and pretend to be you. They say your phone is lost or stolen and ask to activate a new phone. This is easy: They just need to answer a few security questions to pass the identity checks. Your phone carrier then deactivates your SIM card and sends your calls and texts to the scammer’s phone.
- Bluetooth - Bluetooth vulnerabilities are another way hackers can waltz into your phone to steal data. Here’s how it works: When you turn on the Bluetooth setting, your phone broadcasts a device identifier called a MAC address. Hackers can intercept that address and inject your phone with a custom code that takes over your device.
- Public charging ports - When your smartphone runs out of juice, USB power plugs can come to the rescue. There’s just one problem: Hackers can use them to steal your data. That’s why you should get a USB data blocker, which stops the risk of phone infections or malware injections.