Is your phone’s passcode really safe?

Think your smart phone is safe because you make use of a passcode to stop others from logging onto its home screen? Think again. A recent story by the Lifehacker technology Web site takes a close look at the new wave of passcode exploits which have allowed hackers to get into consumers’ smart phones. The truth is, not even a hard-to-guess passcode can stop the most talented and patient of hackers from compromising your smart phone.

Passcode problems

The Lifehacker story examines recent passcode exploits targeting the Samsung Galaxy and iPhone smart phones. Based on the story, the attack on the iPhone allowed 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 enough time to either launch apps on the phone or start downloading an even more dangerous app that enables hackers to gain full control over a smart phone.

No magic bullet

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

Protection

As with all things tech, it is possible to take steps to make it more difficult for a hacker to break into your smart phone. First, start using a strong password, one containing letters, numbers and symbols, for your lock-screen passcode. Next, make sure you encrypt your phone’s data. Finally, Lifehacker recommends using services such as Apple’s Find My iPhone or the independent app Prey. These apps help you track your smart phone and erase its data when you lose it or somebody takes it.


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