By Will from Holland
Got a smartphone? An iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone or even an Android? If so, be warned.
More and more users of smart gadgets are getting hacked while surfing the Web or using an app that connects to the Internet. Why? The recent explosion of gadgets has made it much more lucrative and easier for hackers to hack into your device.
Established smartphones have pretty good hacker protection systems. Take the apps for iPhones, for example. Every app is inspected by Apple, one at a time, so the chance of getting hacked is pretty small. But not every manufacturer can get it right all the time. On Google's Android system there are plenty of ways to get hacked while using some of their apps. Hundreds of companies develop apps for the system, and although Google is pretty fanatic about security, it's definitely possible for crooks to attack an app.
So what happens if they hack into your phone?
- A hacker might gain access to financial information or passwords you may have on your gadget, or even worse, continually track your financial dealings online. Bingo, your accounts are drained and your credit cards maxed out before you can speed dial your best buddy.
- Hackers are also kidnapping phone numbers and accounts and running up thousands of dollars of charges before you even realize your account has been kidnapped. You may not have to pay for these calls but it could take you weeks or months to get your account straight. In the meantime your credit can get slammed because some phone companies automatically report large unpaid phone bills until you prove the calls weren't your responsibility.
How do you know which apps or phones are good?
Whatever you do, before you purchase a phone or even download an app, do a little research. See if the phone has a good user review when it comes to security. Check if your app comes from a legit seller/company and if there have been security issues. Easy tip: do a web search of the app name, and normally you'll pull up tons of reviews.
More and more gadgets like printers and televisions access the Internet. Great stuff, right? But according to some security products and software companies, a lot of these devices do not yet have muscular security measures in place. Bingo, your new smart television hijacks your money!
What can you do?
- Before you buy a smart gadget do your homework. If you're in a store, ask the sales person to walk you through the gadget's security features.
- If you're buying online, search the gadget's website for info on its security measures.
- Do a web search on "security problems with [name of gadget]." If the gadget has a lot of negative reviews, don't buy it.
- Go high-tech! Think about adding goodies like a fingerprint scanner or a face recognition device to your gadget. A web search will give you lots of high-security options for scanners and recognition systems.
Unfortunately, there's no "one size fits all" when it comes to solving the hacking dangers we all face these days. But doing thorough research before using any app or connecting any gadget to the Internet does pay off.
And check out this depressing guarantee from me: if you're hacked, the seller of the gadget that allowed you to be hacked won't accept responsibility for your damages. Read the fine print that comes with virtually any gadget these days and you'll see that depressing reality for yourself.
I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any comments or questions!