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Protecting Your Mobile Phone Against Hackers

You might have missed it but over Easter reports surfaced that 533 million Facebook users had their personal information hacked. This information included their full names, birthdays, phone numbers and their location. It could include as many as half of Facebook’s 3.6 million Irish users, according to experts.

So how do you know if your mobile has been hacked? The following are key signs:

1. Warmer Device

A device that is running malware in the background, in addition to your normal use, is working harder. This means your device will likely feel warmer to the touch, just like how hot your device feels after a long telephone call. However, it is not a fool proof sign as a case or a hacker running a code at night could mean you do not notice.

2. Battery Life Decreases Significantly

You might notice that your battery life exponentially decreases if you have malware on your phone.

3. Other Performance Issues

  • These could include:
  • Frequent app crashes
  • Random device reboots
  • Frequent loss of connectivity or cell signal.

4. Random Apps Appearing on Your Device

On a device with an Android OS, check to make sure developer tools and ADB debugging is disabled. If you have purchased a device new from major manufacturers, like Google or Samsung, these settings come automatically disabled and you should not have to worry (but double-check, though).

5. Strange Text Messages

If your device is compromised, you may notice strange text messages. You may also notice your contacts are receiving strange messages from your device.

Six ways to protect your phone.

1. Reboot Frequently

Most malware for mobile devices is unable to persist past a device reboot. On some Samsung devices, these reboots can be scheduled to take place at specific times. On devices running iOS, you will have to manually reboot.

2. Update Your Operating System

Keeping your device and apps up to date is important because it is the way developers patch existing vulnerabilities. iOS devices almost force you to keep it updated, but Android devices might take a little more deliberate planning.

3. Upgrade Obsolete Devices

If your device can no longer download the latest updates, it means it is no longer supported. You are best off upgrading your device in this case.

4. Security Apps

There are apps out there that can provide an extra level of security. Do your research before you download any security app, as this is a simple way for Trojan attacks to occur.

5. Encrypt Your Messages

Using an end-to-end encrypted messaging app can help keep prying eyes from seeing your messages; plus, they are harder to spam.

6. Think Before You Tap

It is almost cliché at this point but think before you tap that link. If the URL looks odd to you, or the sender is unfamiliar, it is probably malicious.

While nothing is ever 100% fool proof by taking the time to undertake these smalls safety measures, you will be reducing the risks of your mobile being hacked and protecting yourself and others.

Suzanne Tracy is Chief Technology Officer at SIRO, a joint venture company between the ESB and Vodafone, rolling out a new 100% fibre optic broadband network across Ireland.