Monday, January 06, 2014

I've Been Hacked - Learn How to Protect Your Phone

Actually my phone was hacked, not me.

On Friday morning, I received a text from a number I didn't recognize. It just read "12", so I deleted it. Then they texted again and it simply read "Mom" which I also deleted. Not a minute later, another text saying "Mom, you okay?".  At that I thought, this just a kid trying to reach their mom and got the wrong number. So...I texted back "wrong number".

That's when all h#ll broke loose.  They texted back some long string of numbers. Then my youngest got a text message from every one of her contacts (luckily it was only 4) and my hubby got a text from one of his contacts.

Somehow this loser got my contacts and who knows what else. I called hubby on our land line and told him to delete all texts from me or his contacts today. Just call the people back don't text them.

Then I called my cell phone service provider, Sprint. After a lot of automated questions, I reached a really nice lady. She told me they couldn't track the person because all the texts were sent from my cell phone number to my cell phone number. Not sure how they do that.

The Sprint rep told me I needed to reset my phone back to factory settings. Which basically deletes everything (photos, contact info, apps, etc.).

So I've learned a couple things that I thought I would share with you all.

Use a Password
If your phone offers this option definitely use it. Make it as random as possible. Use letters, numbers, capitals and symbols if you are able.

Download a Security App
You wouldn't think twice of downloading a security program for your computer, but not everyone puts one on their smart phone. Just like hackers try to get into your computer they also try to access your phone info. Face it, you probably access all the same programs.  Go to your app store on your phone and download Norton or AVG.

Never Checking Banking Info On Your Smart Phone
If you need to know banking info, simply call the phone number on the back of your ATM card. Free Wi-fi locations are not safe and anyone can access all your info if you don't have security for your phone.

Back Up Regularly
If you have precious photos or loads of music on your phone be sure to back that information up regularly. iCloud is nice, but if your phone is hacked that information could be tainted or you may not be able to access it. Every once in a while, back up to computer or flash drive.

Hopefully this helps some of you. It's information I wish I knew ahead of time. Learn from my mistakes before it happens to you.

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