Security analysts have been warning us for a while now that malware is an issue of concern on the Android Smartphone platform.  The operating system from Google is the most popular operating system in todays’ smartphones. 

Hackers can do more than just spam your contact list with free offers for pharmaceuticals or deals on your next vacation.  They can gain access to months of your personal life history or in extreme cases even potentially turn your phone into a spying tool, by remotely taking over your phones microphone or camera to capture data without your knowledge.  Don’t underestimate the appeal for smartphone hackers.  There are 1.4 billion smartphones traveling around in our purses and pockets and most consumers still think of them primarily as phones, rather than a treasure trove of their personal information.

While many people spend more time worrying about the loss or theft of a wallet or purse, it’s important for consumers to realize that these days there is far more personal information to be harvested from a Smartphone than from a wallet.  A hacker with access to a phone and a password essentially gains access to everything you’ve done and have stored in that device.   Every call you’ve made, every text message or email you’ve sent, potentially even those messages you’ve already deleted are all now potentially at the hands of a criminal.  Cell phone hacking will continue to be appealing until people start recognizing the very personal nature and value that our smartphones carry and to take steps to mitigate their risk accordingly.

The first and simplest step to protecting yourself is to establish a password or code to access your phone.  Even a 4 digit code is better than nothing, but for added protection a longer password (8-10 digits) is recommended. Secondly, never allow your phone to auto-connect to WiFi or blue tooth.  Connecting to free WiFi is a quick and easy method for a hacker to gain access to your phone.  If you use your Bluetooth or hands free device in your car, be sure to turn it off when you’re done using it because hackers will look to tap into your phone that way as well.

If you suspect that someone has gained access to your phone or accounts, the best option is to select a “factory data reset.”  It’s also a good idea to install a wiping program on your phone so you can erase stored personal data in the event that your device is lost or stolen.  Additionally, Android phones can be outfitted with an app that tracks the location of your phone when activated remotely (in the event of a theft or loss). Just be certain that the app you install is legitimate.   Taking proper precautions while using your Android will go a long way to mitigating your risk of being victimized. For additional questions or concerns regarding smart phone safety, contact the ITRC toll-free at (888) 400-5530 or visit online at www.idtheftcenter.org. 

"Cell Phone Hacking – Android Platform" was written by Matt Davis.  Matt is Director of Business Alliances at the Identity Theft Resource Center. We welcome you to post/reprint the above article, as written, giving credit to the author and linking back to the original posting.

 

 

 

 

 

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