Phone passcodes are far from hacker-proof

Hackers have gotten increasingly clever when it comes to accessing the information stored on smart phones. And hackers are accomplishing this even when consumers protect their phones with lock-screen passcodes. As a current story on the Lifehacker technology Web site says, passcodes have never been a completely foolproof way to secure your smart phone. Thankfully, there are actions you can take to better secure your phone. And there are services you can enlist to protect yourself if you’ve lost your smart phone or someone has snatched it.

Passcode attacks

According to the Lifehacker story, recent passcode exploits work differently based upon whether hackers were targeting the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy phones. For the iPhone, the exploits permitted hackers to gain access to the Phone app, not the iPhone’s home screen. This meant that hackers could use other’s phones to make calls, see users’ contacts and access users’ photos, even though they didn’t gain total access to the phone. For the Galaxy, hackers succeeded only to flash phones’ home screens for about a second. This is a short period of time, but adequate to permit hackers to launch an app or start downloading one that could unlock your phone entirely.

Not foolproof

The Lifehacker story proves that passcodes are not a magic pill for stopping smart phone hackers. This shouldn’t be surprising. As the Lifehacker story says, passcodes have never been more robust than standard passwords in regards to protecting smart phones. Hackers have long been able to crack lock-screen passcodes. They’ve been capable to break into the hard drives of smart phones to gain access to the data and information stored there.

The protection you need

Lifehacker offers some suggestions for protecting your phone. First, make a passcode for your phone’s lock screen that is comprised of symbols, letters and numbers. These passcodes are far more difficult for thieves to crack. Next, encrypt your phone’s data. Lastly, subscribe to services like Find My iPhone from Apple or the third-party app Prey. These nifty apps allow you track your phone if it’s stolen or you’ve lost it. You can then remotely erase the data stored on it, protecting yourself from hackers.