Ten ways your smartphone is vulnerable to hackers

Josh Peterson Tech Editor
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Technology industry experts agree that the world is becoming more mobile, while at the same time, mobile technology’s vulnerabilities continue to plague consumers. To help you better lose sleep at night, The Daily Caller compiled a list of ten different ways your phone is vulnerable to hackers.

10. Text messages

Malicious hackers and identity thieves have also used text messaging as a way to gain entry into a user’s phone. A recent stunt by Crowdstrike revealed a new vulnerability in Blackberry, iOS and Android systems. Users are lured to click on a malicious link sent to them via text message, which installs malware on a user’s phone and allows hackers to eavesdrop on conversations and monitor a user’s location.

In addition to stealing personal and financial information, spyware for mobile devices can also allow a hacker to turn the device into spy technology. The camera of a phone can be controlled remotely if a hacker has access to it, sending back visual information about the user’s whereabouts. The microphone can also be controlled remotely, allowing a hacker to turn the phone into a listening device.

9. QR codes

QR codes — digital barcodes read by a smartphone’s camera — are a popular marketing tool to reach tech savvy consumers. They are also what MSNBC recently called a “security nightmare.”

The Jester, an anti-Anonymous hacker, recently claimed he broke into the smartphones of members of Anonymous when they scanned a QR code that he designed. The QR code took users to a website that contained malicious code that allowed him to gain access to the identities of those Anonymous members.

8. Malicious mobile app downloads

Hackers are also known to pull down approved applications in the Android market, install malicious code and re-upload them in the market at a lower price. When installed, the app acts as a Trojan, and allows the hacker to steal information and control a user’s phone.

7. Social networks

When Anonymous retaliated against the FBI take-down of popular cyberlocker MegaUpload, the group used Twitter to spread a link that recruited unwitting users as part of its ploy. Anonymous conscripted the users into a distributed denial-of-service attack on the websites of organizations on the hacker group’s target list.

6. Email

Sending malicious links through email is a time-tested method for hackers to penetrate your computer’s security system. Email on mobile phones is no different.

5. Wi-Fi connections

Connecting to Wi-Fi through a phone might seem like a good way to avoid excessive data usage charges, but an unsecured connection is a way for hackers to gain entry into a person’s phone and steal valuable personal information.

4. Application exploits

The Google Wallet episode not only revealed how vulnerable financial information on a mobile device is. It also revealed that applications used on devices for which they were not made can be easily exploited, further putting the user at risk.

3. Mobile browsing

Improvements in the mobile browsing experience also mean improved access to malicious websites. Hackers can enter a phone through a user’s browser after the user visits a malicious website, which then installs malware and spyware on the phone.

2. Mobile payments and banking

The recent controversy over the security of the Google Wallet mobile payment application has raised questions about how vulnerable financial information on a mobile device still is. Security firm McAfee reported Wednesday that some hackers are now able to bypass two-factor authentication through remote controlled banking Trojans — malware that requires a user to unknowingly grant it permission in order to operate, thereby gaining access to sensitive information.

1. Passwords

A recent study by the security firm Trustwave indicated that the most common password is ‘Password1,’ a variation on the historically common default password, ‘Password.’ The study revealed that a majority of passwords fall in this type of category. Passwords are the gateway to a plethora of personal information that a hacker can take advantage of for personal and financial gain.

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