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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > September 2011 > Is your phone safe from hackers?

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Is your phone safe from hackers?


Many mobile phones today are essentially mini-computers. They can be conveniently used to browse the Web, check e-mail, and make financial transactions. 

But without proper security features, hackers may be able to use fairly simple technology to manipulate your phone and the information stored in it. 

For example, they could change your control settings without your knowledge, or wipe out information stored in your phone.

According to “Stop. Think. Connect,” a coalition of private companies, nonprofits, and government organizations to promote online safety, today’s mobile devices require security software updates just like a personal computer or laptop.

Any devices that connect to the Internet, including smartphones, need protection from viruses and malware. To keep software updated, you may need to synch your phone with your computer.

The coalition also provides the following advice:

  • Only give your mobile number to people you know and trust.
  • Never give out someone else’s number without their permission.
  • If you’re online through an unsecured or unprotected network, be cautious about the sites you visit and the information you release.
  • Get savvy about Wi-Fi hotspots. Limit the type of business you conduct using hotspots and adjust security settings to limit who can access your phone.
  • When in doubt, don’t respond. Fraudulent text messages, calls, and voicemails are on the rise. Requests for personal information or immediate action almost always indicate scams.
  • Stay current on new ways to stay safe online. Check trusted websites for the latest information, and share what you learn with family and friends.

Be careful about the applications (apps) you download. Change your phone settings so that the phone automatically locks if it is inactive for a certain period of time. Establish a hard-to-guess password required to unlock it.


Stop. Think. Connect.
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