Hackers are getting ever more clever in regards to gaining access to the information stored on smart phones. And hackers are accomplishing this even though 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 protect your smart phone. Thankfully, there are actions you can take to better protect your phone. And there are solutions you can enlist to protect yourself if you’ve lost your smart phone or someone has taken it.

Passcode attacks

The Lifehacker story examines recent passcode exploits targeting the Samsung Galaxy and iPhone smart phones. According to the story, the attack against the iPhone enabled hackers to, utilizing the phone app, make phone calls, view photos and modify the contact lists of users. Hackers couldn’t gain full access to the phone, nevertheless they gained enough capability to cause plenty of problems for owners. The Samsung exploit functioned differently. Hackers had the ability to flash the phone’s home screen for approximately a second. This gave hackers ample time to either launch apps on the phone or start downloading an even more dangerous app that allows hackers to get full control over a smart phone.

No magic bullet

As the Lifehacker story says, none of these attacks should surprise smart phone owners. Passcodes provide protection, nevertheless they have never been failproof. As reported by Lifehacker, passcodes do no better a job protecting your phone than passwords or PINs do protecting your bank accounts or membership Web sites. Hackers can either crack your phone’s lock-screen passcode or, in the case of skilled cyber thieves, break into your phone’s hard drive to gain access to your data.

The protection you need

To defend yourself, first be sure that your lock-screen passcode is at least difficult to guess. Lifehacker recommends a passcode consisting of letters, symbols and numbers. Next, always encrypt the data that you store on your smart phone. Lastly, consider paying for services such as Prey or Apple’s Find my iPhone. These services give you the ability to track your phone after it’s stolen or you lose it. Better yet, it allows you to eliminate the data stored on it, so that hackers can’t get at it.

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