It's Shockingly Easy to Hack a Phone

When a celebrity's phone gets hacked, we all hear about it, especially when there are nude photos involved. But most phone hackings never go viral.

And there are more of them than ever before. "Just from January to June, the likelihood of a mobile malware attack has gone up 2-1/2 times," says former hacker Kevin Mahaffey, now chief technology officer for Lookout Mobile Security.

In http://www.kold.com/story/15590409/scarlett-johansson-cellphone-pictures-arent-all-that-smart-phone-hackers-are-aftera Christian Science Monitor article, author, hacker, and former convict Kevin Mitnick showed Gloria Goodale how easy it is to send a text from one phone and make it appear to come from another. Within seconds of receiving Goodale's cellphone number, he texted one of her coworkers, and the text appeared to come from Goodale's phone.

The message told the coworker to visit a particular web site, "ASAP." Had the text been sent from a malicious hacker instead of a reformed one, the web site would likely have uploaded malware onto the victim's phone, or tricked them into giving away important information, or both.

And the recipient probably would have fell for it. "Because she trusts you, she probably would click on the link without worrying that it might be fake."

(Mitnick is the author of Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker.)

A good password won't stop this kind of hacking--even one locking out people from physically accessing your phone. But vigilance will help.

First, be careful with whom you share your cellphone number. Not only could a too-freely-given number aid hackers, but it can also mean phone calls when you don't want them.

Second, don't assume that a text is from the person who sent it. If it doesn't seem like the sort of text that person would send, ask them about it.

Finally, make sure your phone is protected. Android phones are particularly susceptible to malware, and you really need something like Trend Micro Mobile Security to protect yours. You can buy this as a stand-alone product, or acquire it along with full-force Windows protection as a part of Trend Micro Titanium Maximum Security.

This story, "It's Shockingly Easy to Hack a Phone " was originally published by BrandPost.

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