Phones have become an inseparable part of our daily lives. According to the results of a survey conducted by reviews.org, 75.4 percent of respondents believe they are addicted to their phones. In addition, nearly two-thirds of those polled said they checked their phones up to 160 times a day! We’re not here to pass judgement on anyone’s smartphone addictions, but we do want to help you learn how to keep your phone safe from hackers.
You’ve come to the right place if you’re wondering “how to stop hackers from my computer” or something similar. We’ll go through seven easy-to-follow tips in this article to help you defend your phone from hackers.
Keep Your Tracking and Remote Locking Settings On
We’ll assume you’ve set up your phone’s lock screen with a multi-digit passcode, face/fingerprint recognition, or a complicated pattern at this stage. This is particularly useful if you misplace your phone or if a robber has taken possession of it. However, if you believe that your screen lock can prevent criminals from using your phone, you are unaware of the techniques hackers can use to circumvent the phone’s initial protection mechanism. Both fingerprint lock and facial recognition authentication protocols can be circumvented!
The ability to remotely lock your computer is critical in this situation. This is the first line of defence against hackers or someone else who shouldn’t have access to your phone. Fortunately, almost all phone companies provide Find My Device and remote lock features. All you have to do now is download the applications (if they aren’t already on your computer) and register your device.
For Android phones, you can use the Google Find My Device app, and for Apple phones, you can use Find My iPhone. Choose your device form below and follow these simple instructions to unlock these apps:
- For iPhones: Go to Settings > Passwords, and Accounts > iCloud > Activate Find My iPhone, allow Offline Finding, and send the most recent location.
- For Android Phones: You just need to link your Gmail account in Google Find My Device app, and it will start working without any further settings.
- All the android device providers have this feature available. You can also use Samsung’s Find My Mobile tool on Samsung phones.
These apps also allow you to lock your phone from a distance. If you’re certain your phone has fallen into the wrong hands, you can remotely wipe your phone’s memory so that no one can access your information. Erasing your phone is a dangerous move, so back up your essential data on a regular basis.
Install Security Software Tools on Your Mobile Device
Antivirus and anti-malware applications aren’t just for computers anymore. To shield your phone from hackers, you can also use them on your mobile phones. Different types of malware (such as viruses, trojan horses, worms, and others) can be installed on your computer when you browse the internet via malware-laden websites. Malicious email attachments or applications are another way for your smartphone to become corrupted.
Not only does security software detect and uninstall malware, but it can also alert you when you visit a malicious website or download a malicious app. Malware can be downloaded into your phone without your knowledge. Any time anything downloads to your account, a good security programme scans it and notifies you.
The basic service is usually free with “freemium” security applications. You can upgrade to a commercial service if you want to tighten the security and get more functionality. To find the best option for your computer, compare the benefits and drawbacks of both free and paid models.
Enable the Bluetooth Connection Lost Notification on Your Smartwatch
Link your phone to your smartwatch and switch on the “Bluetooth link missing” (or whatever word your system uses) notification feature. This feature is available on both Android and Apple watches. When the watch’s Bluetooth link with the phone is lost, the user is notified. When you’re in a public place and your phone moves out of a certain range, the smartwatch will warn you right away.
Bluetooth compatibility is lost on average within 100 metres (328 feet) of a computer. So, if you get a message like this, you know your phone is still nearby and you can start looking for it right away. So long as the system isn’t switched off, you can hear the phone ring. Even if the phone is turned off, you can use the iPhone’s Find My iPhone feature or Google Find My Device to make a noise (a beep sound or ring tone) on it.
Be Judicious About What You Download and Install on Your Phone
Not all seems to be as it seems. When downloading photos, videos, files, songs, email attachments, and other files from the internet, be cautious. When downloading content from the internet, there are a few general guidelines to follow:
Only Download Files from Well-Known, Reputable Websites
Before uploading any files, run them through your antivirus and antimalware software.
Complete your homework
If you’re downloading a new or unfamiliar app, do some research on the app’s creators and read user feedback online. Malicious applications are responsible for 70% of all smartphone fraud.
Check the Permissions of Your App
When you instal an app, it will most likely ask for access to some of the device’s most important features, such as the camera, email, contact list, photo gallery, and location. Examine each of those features carefully and ask yourself, “Does this app really need to access this feature?” If you’re downloading a food delivery app, for example, it’ll almost certainly include location tracking. However, there’s probably no reason it needs access to your email clients, phonebooks, folders, or camera. Enable not!
Here’s how to search all of your installed mobile apps’ permissions:
Go to Settings > Privacy on your iPhone. A list of all the device’s features will appear. To see the apps have permission to use that feature, click on it. From that screen, you can disable the permission.
For Android: Go to Settings > Permission Manager*. You will be given a list of features as well as the applications that have permission to access those features.
*Note: The permissions testing tab is known by different names on different Android phones. It all depends on the phone you’re using.
Protect Yourself from SIM Swapping
If a bad guy calls the mobile service provider and requests a new SIM card, this is known as SIM swapping. If a hacker has access to some of your personal information (such as the last four digits of your social security number or other identity evidence document) and uses it as part of a social engineering scam, this illegal SIM swapping is possible.
If they can persuade your mobile provider to port your number, the intruder will be able to listen in on all of your phone calls and SMS text messages, as well as potentially gain access to all of your accounts and services connected to your phone number.
If you use a one-time password (OTP) as part of your bank’s two-factor authentication (2FA), for example, attackers will obtain your OTP or a secret code via SMS and complete the transaction! All you’ll see on your end is that your phone has lost coverage and that you won’t be able to make or receive calls.
As if that weren’t bad enough, the perpetrators already have access to all of your applications (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so on) that use your phone number as a user ID. They simply need to click on the “forgot password” links and update their passwords using the links sent to them via SMS text message.
Set up a special PIN or passcode with your mobile service provider to protect yourself from illegal SIM swapping or number porting. This is a number that only you know and that you must use to access or change your mobile account (including porting your number/account to new devices).
You can also add another layer of protection by using apps like Google Authenticator, Authy, or Google’s code-less authentication system. If anyone attempts to log in from a new device, Apple’s two-step authentication feature will send an OTP to a registered device (rather than the phone number). This provides an extra layer of MFA protection to your system that isn’t dependent on SMS.
To put it another way, even if the attacker instals a replacement SIM card into a new device, they won’t be able to unlock it until they have the OTP, which iOS only sends to your (registered) device or another phone number linked/connected to your primary phone number. You can also create an app-specific password, which ensures that no one can access your apps without knowing the passwords.
Keep Your Operating System and Other Software Up to Date
Daily updates and patching will keep your mobile device’s operating system and applications as stable as possible. This means you can apply all new updates as soon as they become available.
Some people believe that patches are only used to improve the software’s appearance and functionality. So they don’t bother with updates if they’re satisfied with the current configuration and functionality of their OS or games. However, these users are unaware that updates have a significant effect on system security.
Updates are used by software publishers and computer manufacturers to repair bugs and patch security holes in their products. Hackers are constantly on the lookout for computers that are running unpatched software in order to take advantage of their security flaws. As a result, you should instal any updates as soon as they become available.
Avoid Using Public Wi-Fi (Or Use a Virtual Private Network If You Do)
Insecure links can be used by hackers to eavesdrop and steal data from connected devices. It’s a man-in-the-middle (MitM) assault of some kind. So, here’s our next trick for keeping your phone safe from hackers: don’t use public Wi-Fi (in airports, malls, hotels, shops, cafes, etc.). Instead, use data from a cellular network.
When using a mobile hotspot, make sure it’s password secured to keep it secure. But what if you don’t have a lot of cellular information? Then wait until you can use a safe link to do your professional work or access websites where you need to have some confidential or sensitive information.
If you must use public Wi-Fi, consider using a virtual private network to reduce your risk (VPN). There are several free or low-cost VPN providers to choose from. One of the many advantages of VPNs is that they transmit web traffic over a private encrypted channel. As a result, even if anyone breaks your internet link and intercepts your traffic, they won’t be able to read, interpret, or change anything because of the VPN’s encryption feature. You just need to download the VPN software and turn it on while using public Wi-Fi. It’s very easy to use.
Additional Tips on How to Protect Your Phone from Hackers
Before we go any further, take a look at these helpful hints for protecting your phone from hackers.
- Turn off the “Allow Siri When Locked” feature. Disable the Allow Siri When Locked function in Settings > Siri and Search. Previously, several bugs in the iPhone allowed anyone to bypass the screen lock and use Siri to access a few functions.
- Protect your cloud storage applications with a password. This includes Google Drive, Google Docs, iCloud, and other similar applications. More information on how to secure your iCloud account as well as your Google Drive and docs can be found in these resources.
- Turn off the “smart unlock” option. When you are in a “secure” location (home, work, etc.) or when your smartwatch is nearby, some mobile devices have this feature that automatically unlocks your phone. However, it is extremely dangerous because if the attackers are close enough, they can circumvent the lock screen authentication.
- Protect sensitive files, directories, and apps with a password to add an extra layer of protection. Folder Lock (available for both Android and iPhones) is a good example of such an app.
Use public charging stations sparingly. Hackers can intercept data and hack into your computer by compromising charging ports (known as juice jacking).
- Avoid using computers that have been jailbroken. Jailbreaking (or rooting) entails using software to make unauthorised modifications to a device’s default settings. People jailbreak their phones in order to unlock them (change service providers), use banned or pirated software, customise their appearance, or allow tethering (hotspot) service without paying a charge. When you jailbreak your phone, however, you not only void its warranty, but you also compromise its protection. Hackers can easily infect a jailbroken phone with malware and steal personal information.
Why Mobile Use Is Increasing in Popularity (For Users & Cybercriminals)
Simply put, mobile equals comfort. Cell phones are also used to conduct banking transactions, pay bills, and send personal and professional emails. But mobile is useful for more than just that; we use applications and browsers on our phones to shop, book cabs, monitor our health and fitness goals, order food, and so on. Simply put, cell phones are an essential part of our daily lives.
You can find yourself allowing auto-login or credential auto-fill features on your mobile apps and browsers for the sake of convenience. You can also store confidential information on your personal and company computers, such as photographs, videos, interactions on social media apps, health and fitness information, personal or work-related documents, and so on.
Hackers and cybercriminals are well aware of this, and they take advantage of our need for ease and connectivity. If anyone gains physical or virtual access to your phone, they can cause a lot of damage. They have the choice of selling your data to other cybercriminals. But it gets worse: they (or the person to whom they sell your information) may also:
- Steal your identity,
- Log in to your banking apps to conduct fraudulent financial transactions,
- Access your email and send phishing emails in your name,
- Use the data for ransomware attacks,
- Use your device as a zombie (bot) in botnet attacks,
- Harm your reputation by posting inappropriate things from your account, etc.
Wrapping Up: How to Protect Your Phone from Hackers
Nobody wants to think about being hacked, having malware installed on their phones, or having their data stolen. But, with a 680 percent rise in fraudulent mobile transactions, we can’t deny that no one is resistant to mobile fraud.
The easiest way to keep your phone safe from hackers is to do the following:
- Make every effort to keep your mobile account with your service provider secure.
- Be cautious when visiting websites or uploading files from the internet.
- Never underestimate the value of security software, and make sure it’s patched and up to date at all times.
- Use antivirus and antimalware software that you can trust.
We hope that this article has assisted you in improving the protection of your mobile device.