Protect your privacy and data from phone hackers Start by knowing what could expose you to an attack, like vacation clues, hotel Wi-Fi and inadequate verification procedures
In the last two years, security experts have seen a steady increase in simple schemes to get into accounts, like phishing, as well as more complicated campaigns to gain control over a victim’s financial life, like taking over a phone or a computer. The scariest threats yet may be the plots in which criminals impersonate an adviser, an employee or even a family member to get approval for a transaction. The ease with which hackers can gain access to someone’s phone and life is worth-noting. Hackers are using more surreptitious ways to gain access to people’s financial lives and threaten their wealth. Given the randomness of phishing, anyone can be a target. The big prey are going to be attacked in a more focused and persistent way. Experts say that social media not only presents an opportunity for criminals, it provides them with more personal details about you, which allows them to create the mosaic they can use to impersonate you. Protecting yourself starts with knowing how you are open to attack. Here are some common vulnerabilities and solutions for each.
In this share-all age, those instant posts do more than alert bad guys that you’re not home. They tell criminals about your likes and dislikes and help them create a fuller portrait of who you are and what might be lurking in your email should they hack it. Vacations in general are fraught with risk. The hotel Wi-Fi network should never be used, because it exposes your devices to hacking. Use the hot spot on your phone instead, and never log into your financial accounts on a public network. Some Wi-Fi hotel networks are outright fakes. Syncing your phone with a rental car is a risk. It’s not just that your contacts will be stored in the car. Thieves can plant malware in the car to gain access to more than your most-called list. Similarly, never charge your phone with a charging station in a hotel room. That also can allow access to your data.
Limit Screen Time for Children
Children post too much, they can also be distracted and impulsive, two characteristics of adolescence that hackers can exploit to get them to swipe on all kinds of things. Like a phishing email that appears to leave a hair on the screen of a mobile phone — except it’s not a hair but a link that opens to a malware program that takes over the phone. Put time limits for children and stronger encryption of their data.
Work Relationships and Human Protocol
Much has been made of “deepfake” videos and their ability to trick viewers into thinking they are real. These doctored videos can be created using clips of public figures who have been filmed extensively and have words, mannerisms and verbal tics that are easy to appropriate. It can be used in a work or office environment. There is no simple way to counteract it. One possible defense is to set up a system when you call back to that individual, who ‘asked’ you to do a wire- transfer. A proliferation of deepfake videos is less worrisome because of the level of technology required to create one. There is more concern about simpler tricks that trap employees.
Simpler still is a scheme in which a hacker calls and asks for the corporate Wi-Fi password. Another scheme, particularly in family offices or places where various people have authority to move money, conveys a sense of urgency to try to rush a wire transfer. Take time to train people who work for you, as well as friends and relatives, to understand there needs to be a stronger verification process.
Verify the Middleman
Sometimes the people hired to help you, like accountants and lawyers, can innocently provide a way into your financial life. In the “man-in-the-middle fraud,” a hacker intercepts emails to you, gaining access to your financial information. There is no fixed protocol on how to handle such thefts. The best that people can do is verify everything through basic human interaction that will slow and eventually thwart hackers.