I have been telling the world (or at least everyone who reads this blog!) for the past few years about passwords, and why its so important to use something that isn't easy too guess, not to use them for all sites and to change them. (Click here for that blog article). Of course it is a pain in the ^$$ but that is what hackers are counting on! Well, the day has come where I have been hacked. I actually didn't have too bad of a fall out but here's what happened...
Smartphone Survival GuideIf you own a Smartphone or tablet, you are probably well aware that they are essentially mini, portable computers. Which means, they are susceptible to many of the perils a computer might face. The most obvious is hacking and theft of identity or personal information. I referred to them as portable to remind you that they are also prone to loss or theft.
As long as there are devices that collect personal information, there will always be thieves inventing new scams to try to separate you from personal information. For example, there is a new threat called smishing. We are going to run out of "ishing" terms to name these scams. This is when you get a text message with an offer to get something free by going to a link. If you go there it is generally a website that asks for information. Just by clicking the link the damage is already done. You'll never get that $1000 gift card and there is now spyware on your phone capturing the keystrokes that you type in, such as passwords, credit card numbers, etc..
Here are a few apps to safeguard your phone against these dangers. Most of these apps are free.
It's always easy to say after you have been hacked or lose your data, "I should have installed virus protection" or, "I should have backed up." What's really easy is installing Lookout on your phone. Lookout periodically scans your mobile device specifically looking for phishing, malware and spyware. It also checks any apps you load on your device and any websites you visit.
Norton Identity Safe prevents dangerous websites from stealing your personal information. It does this by letting you know if a site is dangerous before you visit it. This can be downloaded from the AppStore for free.
AndroidThis is the first and only phone locating app that you download AFTER you've already lost your phone. Having Lookout on your phone is the best way to protect your phone and find it fast, but use Plan B if you have already lost your phone and didn't already have Lookout installed. From another device, you can send the app to your phone OTA (over-the-air), as long as the phone is on. It will turn on the GPS and gmail your coordinates on a map back to you. I swear by this app as about a year ago my Droid Bionic was stolen nd using this app and the help of the police, I got it back.
Verizon Mobile Security provides antivirus protection to detect viruses and malware. It will also identify and warn customers of suspicious websites. That tier of the software is free. The next tier, available for $1.99/month per line, Verizon Mobile Security Premium also provides a recovery feature that allows customers to remotely locate, alarm, lock or wipe data from a lost or misplaced device using their My Verizon accounts.
Find My iPhone works on iPhones, iPad, iPod Touch or Mac. This will let you use another device to find and protect your data. Find My iPhone will help you locate your missing device on a map. From there you can choose to display a message, play a sound at full volume for two minutes, remotely lock your device or erase your data from it. You can even write a message and display it on your screen. Something like, “If found, Please call me at 408-555-0198.” Your message appears, even if the screen is locked.
One thing to be aware of in OS6. if you turn off location services, it will disable Find My iPhone.
Lookout is an easy way to protect your iOS device from loss. You can use the Internet or another phone to determine the missing device’s location. It will also back up your data and protect your personal information. Then you can send a loud alarm to pinpoint its location, even if it's on silent.
Stay safe out there!
Now there is a new scam to keep an eye out for. It's called Smishing. It entails the same bait as before but it uses SMS to get the message to you. It might be in the form of an offer, a coupon or various other offers people fall for. The way it works is you'll get a text message with a call to action usually in the form of a link. Use your common sense. If it looks too good to be true, it most likely is.
What to do about it