Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How Exactly DO You Protect Your Phone from Hackers?

A few weeks ago, I honestly didn’t think it was possible for someone to hack into your voicemails. I mean, I carry my phone in my pocket everywhere I go—surely there isn’t some magical way that a crook (or a sleazy journalist—no offense, sleazy journalists) could break into my phone.

Well, there is a way. Apparently. So, IS there a way to keep your phone from being hacked? 

Google-ing “how to prevent someone from hacking your phone” pulls up several thousand articles, so I’ve picked them over and pulled out the best pieces of advice:
  • If your password is still the default one, CHANGE IT. 
    I know, I know. You’re not a celebrity or a politician or a CEO, so why bother changing your password from whatever default one the phone company gave you? I’d bother. It takes but a second, and a quick Google search will give you step-by-step directions specific to your phone.
    • Some passwords are much more common than others. Crooks will try those first.
    According to Business Insider, the top ten phone passwords are 1234, 0000, 2580, 1111, 5555, 5683 (spells "LOVE"), 0852, 2222, 1212, and 1998 (?).

    I’d also add to this list your birthday, birth year, or address—that sounds a bit paranoid, but better to be safe than sorry. The rumor around town is that some phone companies won’t even let you program a code with only one numeral (1111, 2222, etc.), since they’re so common.
    • If you notice anything suspicious, change your passcode!
    By "anything suspicious," I mean not receiving messages, messages deleting themselves, etc. If a friend  just SWEARS they left you a message, but you don’t have any record of it, then someone might be messing around with your voicemails. Or your friend’s just making stuff up. One of the two.

    And the last piece of advice I found was...
    As John Fitzsimmons on reports:

    Alternatively, it is even thought the private investigators paid sources at CTI, the accounts company which held the accounts information for all the major phone companies except O2, to tell them the pins of celebrities. This is why victims like Sienna Miller - who reportedly changed her Pin hundreds of times - still got hacked.

    I feel like this is increasingly becoming the answer to these safety questions. You can’t. The moral of the story is that you’re relying on a password to keep your voicemails safe. If, say, the phone companies are SELLING ACCESS TO YOUR PASSWORD, then you can change it as many times as you like, a la Sienna Miller, and be no better off. 

    Be careful out there, folks--the best way to keep your voicemails entirely secure is by prompting deleting any sensitive messages. 

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