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Whether its computer, tablet, security cameras or smartphones, nothing is out of reach for hackers. Earlier the hacking was limited to computers, laptops but in past few years, cybercriminals have expanded their arena and now interested in smartphones as well. There could be a lot of reasons, why cybercriminals have reached out to smartphones. Let’s know what that could be?
- To Infect
We think installing antivirus apps and being careful while visiting websites is enough to prevent malware and other online threats from infecting our devices, but there is more! Nobody will expect malware on the smartphone when they have just unsealed the box. However, studies have shown otherwise.
The phone had Trojan on it before it even reached their users and the software vendor is the one to blame. The motive of implantation was not clear, and also the malware was hard to remove. To get rid of it, reinstallation of OS is needed.
- Monitor Your Calls
Phones are basically used to speak to family and friends, gossip about others, discuss travelling plans, business plans or just to check up on your loved ones. The conversation might seem too fascinating to hackers which is why they snoop and listen, however, how do they manage to do it.
A loophole in US cellular exchange, the vulnerability called SS7, which enables cybercriminals to listen to calls, read texts, check the location of users once they get their phone numbers.
Despite the US agencies know about the loophole, hasn’t tried to fix it so far.
- Steal Money
Ransomware attack is one of the most common ways which hackers use to lock your machine and demand ransom to regain access. Even if you have paid, this doesn’t assure you that you get your fully functional device back. The mobile ransomware is also blossoming which mostly starts from malicious third-party apps.
- Extort People
Blackmailing is probably older than us, you might have innocently blackmailed your parents to get stuff. The cybercriminals have realized that smartphone has more sensitive information than on laptop or desktop. So, first, they stop you from accessing your phones, then blackmail to leak information.
Criminals could get their hands on personal data from the victim which is available on the black market because of the previous breach. This information is used then to contact the victim’s phone company disguising as the user, saying that you want to transfer the number to the new device. Phone companies can transfer your information to a new device upon your request. In this scenario, the old phone is with the user and is working but is useless now.
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Once hackers have taken over the phone, they gather data and start blackmailing the user. If the user has no backup and has important information on the phone, he would give up and might fulfil the hackers’ demands.
- Damage Your Phone
As by locking the phone, or blackmailing a user, hackers feel they have created chaos. Another way that they could use it is overheating your phone and eventually damaging it. Researchers have warned that hackers could break into phone’s processor and employ it for mining cryptocurrency. This might slow your phone and your phone could get hot or burst.
At the time of manufacturing, intelligent cooling devices are implanted in cell phones to manage temperature. However, hackers possess techniques which could fail even them. One such crypto mining malware Loapi could be generally found in apps, which seems to be games. However, according to security researchers, it is the one which makes your device hot.
- Fun Or Fame
Some of the hackers do this for fun. Blackmailing people, threatening them to expose their information, hackers might do it for fun or to prove themselves superior. Apart from money, Notoriety is the reason why hackers do it. Hackers might have gotten into phones as they like challenges, as it required to develop advanced malware development techniques. People need respect to be earned and this is it for hackers!
- Payment Information
Smartphone users have e-wallet which possesses payment information in apps which relieves the people from the worry of keeping credit or debit cards with them all the time. As the trend has risen, this could have grabbed the attention of hackers.
So, hackers allure users to download fake mobile payment apps and when people enter the info, hackers steal the information.
How To Protect Ourselves?
Well, these are not the only reasons why hackers hack smartphones, there are n numbers of reasons for it. So, to avoid it, you should avoid the third-party app and their stores. Download the content from legit stores such as Google Play Store, Apple App Store. However, advanced hackers could get you there as well, but it keeps you safe mostly.
It is necessary to keep a check on your phone stats, for example, apps in the background, battery life and more. If you find a red flag, you could check to look for resolution.
Run a security scan by using a security app weekly, to know what’s going on your device. But, install a reliable antivirus app.
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So, this is it! You need to be more cautious while using your smartphones, we know it seems to be very intimidating, but never tap on unknown ads or pop-ups as they could cause you trouble. Whenever you doubt that your device is working funny, then it is suggested to stop using your phone and look for help, before it is too late.