Don’t think a passcode protects your phone from skilled hackers

You protect your smart phone with a passcode that you need to enter before it springs to life. But wait, how much protection does this passcode actually give you? The troubling answer? Not quite enough, as outlined by a recently available story by the tech Web site Lifehacker. The article details several passcode exploits that hackers have used recently to compromise smart phones. Fortunately, the story does something a lot more reassuring, too. It tells users how to best protect the data on their smart phones.

Passcode problems

The Lifehacker story details the newest passcode exploits which have permitted hackers to compromise Apple’s iPhone and the Galaxy Samsung smart phones. The Apple exploit, enabled criminals to access the iPhone phone app. Hackers didn’t gain total access to phones. Nevertheless they made it possible to use the app to make phone calls, view pictures and look at or edit users’ contact lists. The exploit intended for Galaxy smart phones operated differently. Hackers could flash the phone’s home screen for merely a second. This provided them plenty of time to launch apps or start downloading an app that awarded them full control over the phone.

Not foolproof

As these exploits show, using a lock-screen passcode is no guarantee that hackers won’t be able to get into your phone. As the Lifehacker story says, passcodes today are little more effective at keeping out hackers than are regular passwords. This means that you will need to take the extra steps if you wish to secure your phone from cyber criminals.

Protecting yourself

As with all things tech, it is possible to do something so it will be more challenging for a hacker to break into your smart phone. First, start using a strong password, one containing letters, numbers and symbols, for your lock-screen passcode. Next, make sure you encrypt your phone’s data. Finally, Lifehacker recommends using services such as Apple’s Find My iPhone or the independent app Prey. These apps enable you to track your smart phone and erase its data if you lose it or somebody steals it.