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Phone passcodes are far from hacker-proof

Business Technology | May 8, 2013

Hackers have gotten ever more clever when it comes to accessing the information stored on smart phones. And the hackers are doing this even though consumers protect their phones with lock-screen passcodes. As a recent story on the Lifehacker technology Web site says, passcodes never have been a foolproof way to secure your smart phone. Fortunately, there are actions you can take to better secure your phone. And there are solutions you can enlist to protect yourself if you’ve lost your smart phone or someone has swiped it.

Passcode problems

The Lifehacker story examines recent passcode exploits targeting the Samsung Galaxy and iPhone smart phones. Based on the story, the attack on the iPhone enabled hackers to, using the phone app, make phone calls, view photos and alter the contact lists of users. Hackers couldn’t gain full access to the phone, but they gained enough capability to cause plenty of problems for owners. The Samsung exploit worked differently. Hackers were able to flash the phone’s home screen for approximately a second. This gave hackers enough time to either launch apps on the phone or start downloading a more dangerous app that enables hackers to get full control over a smart phone.

Not foolproof

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

The protection you need

To protect yourself, first make sure that your lock-screen passcode is at least complicated to guess. Lifehacker recommends a passcode made up of letters, symbols and numbers. Next, make sure you encrypt the data that you store on your smart phone. Last but not least, consider paying for services such as Prey or Apple’s Find my iPhone. These services give you the ability to track your phone after it’s stolen or you lose it. Better yet, it allows you to eliminate the data stored on it, so that hackers can’t get at it.


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