Smartphone users are not always aware of the risks they face when using their device carelessly.
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As part of his job as a security consultant at Prism Infosec, Keiran Burge is required to regularly test companies’ cybersecurity using the same techniques as a real hacker.
Their goal is to find vulnerabilities in companies’ systems before malicious people do and to exploit those vulnerabilities.
In an interview with the Chron, Mr. Burge outlined some common user errors that make cyberhackers’ jobs much easier.
Here are five ways a hacker can quickly take control of your phone:
According to Keiran Burge, hackers first look for outdated software when planning an attack.
“Outdated software is a big problem because if an update was designed by the manufacturer, it is probably intended to fix a security vulnerability,” says the expert.
Use the same password again
Many cyber hackers take advantage of the fact that they reuse the same password across multiple platforms.
“No matter what website you use, you don’t know what they do with the information you provide and how they protect that data,” Burge says.
If one of the platforms you use falls victim to a cyberattack, hackers can get your password and try it on other websites you use.
Giving away too much information online
In general, it is important to be more aware of how much information you reveal about yourself online, says the expert.
In addition, cyber hackers often consult your social networks to collect various information about you, which could then be useful to them when hacking.
This includes your date of birth, address, and answers to common security questions like your mother’s maiden name.
“Once you have all this information, you can contact your mobile provider and convince them to transfer your phone number to another SIM card,” explains Keiran Burge.
Afterwards, when someone texts you or calls you, the message is automatically forwarded to the hacker.
“Once we achieve this, we will be able to use multi-factor authentication to gain access to websites where a person is registered,” says Mr Burge.
The hacker suddenly has access to your email, your online business accounts, and even your bank accounts.
Connect to unsecured networks
Public places or businesses that offer free access to a wireless Internet network expose you to attacks from cyber hackers.
These public networks ensure that the data you send over the network is not encrypted and therefore can be easily collected by anyone connected to the same network.
To prevent your data from being stolen, Keiran Burge recommends always using a VPN when connecting to an unsecured Wi-Fi network.
Click on a questionable link
Sending questionable links is still one of cyber hackers’ favorite weapons, says the expert.
These send emails or text messages that contain links to malicious websites or even trick users into downloading software.
Once you click on such a link, cybercriminals have time to install malware that can steal your data and even take control of your device.
“You need to be on your guard if a person, company or institution sends you something you weren’t expecting,” says Keiran Burge.