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Phone passcodes are far from hacker-proof

Business Technology | May 1, 2014

You protect your smart phone with a passcode that you need to enter before it springs to life. So how much protection does this passcode actually provide? The troubling answer? Not quite enough, according to a recently available story by the tech Web site Lifehacker. The article details the many passcode exploits that hackers have used recently to compromise smart phones. The good news is, the story does something a lot more reassuring, too. It tells users the best way to protect the data on their smartphones.

Passcode problems

The Lifehacker story examines recent passcode exploits targeting the Samsung Galaxy and iPhone smart phones. Based on the story, the attack against the iPhone allowed hackers to, utilizing the phone app, make phone calls, view photos and modify the contact lists of users. Hackers couldn’t gain full access to the phone, but they gained enough power to cause plenty of problems for owners. The Samsung exploit worked differently. Hackers had the ability to flash the phone’s home screen for about a second. This gave hackers ample time to either launch apps on the phone or start downloading an even more dangerous app that allows hackers to get full control over a smart phone.

No magic bullet

As these exploits show, having a lock-screen passcode is no guarantee that hackers won’t be able to break into your phone. As the Lifehacker story says, passcodes today are little more effective at keeping out hackers than are regular passwords. Which means that you need to take the extra steps if you wish to secure your phone from cyber criminals.

The protection you need

Lifehacker offers tips for protecting your phone. First, set up a passcode for your phone’s lock screen that is consisting of symbols, letters and numbers. These passcodes are far harder for thieves to crack. Next, encrypt your phone’s data. Lastly, sign up for services such as Find My iPhone from Apple or the third-party app Prey. These nifty apps allow you track your phone if it’s stolen or you’ve lost it. You will be able remotely erase the data stored on it, protecting yourself from hackers.


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