Phone passcodes are far from hacker-proof

Hackers are becoming ever more clever with regards to gaining access to the data stored on smart phones. And hackers are accomplishing this even though consumers protect their phones with lock-screen passcodes. As a current story on the Lifehacker technology Web site says, passcodes have never been a foolproof way to secure your smart phone. Thankfully, there are actions you can take to better guard your phone. And there are solutions you can enlist to protect yourself if you’ve lost your smart phone or someone has stolen it.

Passcode problems

The Lifehacker story highlights the most recent passcode exploits which have permitted hackers to compromise Apple’s iPhone and the Galaxy Samsung smart phones. The Apple exploit, permitted criminals to access the iPhone phone app. Hackers didn’t gain total access to phones. Nevertheless they were able to use the app to make phone calls, view pictures and view or edit users’ contact lists. The exploit focusing on Galaxy smart phones operated in a different way. Hackers could flash the phone’s home screen for just about a second. This presented them enough time to launch apps or start downloading an app that gave them full control over the phone.

No magic bullet

As the Lifehacker story says, none of these attacks should surprise smart phone users. Passcodes offer protection, nevertheless they have never been failproof. As reported by Lifehacker, passcodes do no better a job securing your phone than passwords or PINs do protecting your bank accounts or membership Web sites. Hackers can either crack your phone’s lock-screen passcode or, in the case of skilled cyber thieves, break into your phone’s hard drive to gain access to your data.

Protecting yourself

Lifehacker offers tips for protecting your phone. First, set up a passcode for your phone’s lock screen that is composed of symbols, letters and numbers. These passcodes are far more difficult 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 enable you track your phone if it’s stolen or you’ve lost it. You can then remotely erase the data stored on it, protecting yourself from hackers.

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