When the average person thinks of hacking, he pictures a malevolent computer geek digitally infiltrating an innocent person’s desktop tower to steal information or simply ruin his computing experience. Though this style of attack might have been an accurate portrayal of hacking a half-decade ago, it is no longer representative of contemporary hacks. Nowadays, hackers are targeting smartphones. Most Americans tote a smartphone around wherever they go. These amazing little devices are actually highly complex computers that are capable of making and fielding calls. Though our smartphones provide incredible utility, they are quite vulnerable to digital threats.
Why Hackers are Keying in on Smartphones: Increased Vulnerability
The typical person has anti-virus software on his computer and a password-protected wifi connection. Yet most people have not protected their smartphones beyond a passcode that prevents others from getting past the initial screen. Hackers are well aware of this lack of smartphone security. Yet this is not the sole reason why digital attackers have honed in on phones. Consider what you use your smartphone for. Most of us use these diminutive devices for paying our bills, transmitting correspondence, surfing the web and buying products. As a result, most of our personal information, from our credit card numbers to e-mail addresses and beyond are entered and stored on smartphones. This is precisely why a growing number of hackers are targeting smartphones.
Hackers Capitalize on The Average Smartphone User’s Assumptions and Ignorance
The typical smartphone owner is not a tech nerd. He views his smartphone as a means of connecting with the outside world and improving his general life efficiency. He does not invest in services that privatize his communications and/or encrypt his data. Yet he is willing to serve up just about all of his personal information, including his financial information without second thought. Hackers understand most people assume that transmitting such data through a small smartphone is harmless and perfectly secure. While the layman does not understand the subtleties of mobile security and cloud technologies, hackers certainly do. Digital attackers know all about the multiple avenues for infiltration. From apps to games, web browsing, ghostware and beyond, hackers will turn over every rock to access a target’s sensitive data and exploit it for gain.
Rich Information Served up on a Smartphone Platter
Black and grey hat hackers view smartphones as gigantic bulls-eyes as they are chock full of rich information compared to traditional desktop and laptop computers. Smartphones are rife with data pertaining to the user’s location, his address book contacts, photographs and even audio. It is possible for a hacker to tap into your phone conversations by listening through your phone’s built-in microphone. Some hackers are even placing malware in phony apps for Android users. These users download the apps, thinking they will provide some sort of utility, only to unwillingly expose their information to nefarious individuals from afar. Even something as simple as a smartphone video game can be laced with nasty code that disables one’s phone or tracks his activity. Merely downloading such a game or app empowers the hacker to remotely pilfer the target’s address book contacts, access his phone’s files, turn on his microphone to record his conversations and even activate the device’s camera.