September 16, 2011

Take It from The Stars: Stop Your Phone from Being Hacked

In 2005, media outlets erupted when Paris Hilton’s phone was hacked and the contents (personal photos, email addresses, and phone numbers of fellow celebrities) were posted publicly online. Paris may have been one of the first celebrities whose phone was hacked—she certainly wasn’t the last. Two months ago, the massive News of the World scandal revealed that Hugh Grant, Sienna Miller and many more were victims of phone hacking. And just this week, both Scarlett Johansson and Mila Kunis were allegedly targets of a phone attack that leaked private photos of Johansson onto the web and revealed confidential correspondence between Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake.

With the recent outbreak of celebrity phone hacks, it appears that the information on celebrities’ phones represents a tabloid treasure trove for attackers. But Hollywood stars are fighting back and rallying together to punish attackers. Reportedly, Scarlett Johansson is working with the FBI to determine who hacked into her phone and leaked her personal photos onto the internet.

But just how were these phones hacked? All we can do is speculate, but here are some ways this might have happened:

  • Password: The hacker figured out the phone’s password. You’d be surprised how many people don’t have a password, or a very weak one. Once you have the password, you have the keys to the kingdom.
  • Unsecure Public Wi-Fi: It’s possible that hackers were able to take advantage of the celebs phones while they were using an unsecure Wi-Fi network. Hackers can eavesdrop or spoof a Wi-FI hotspot—allowing them to see the login and password information transmitted between a phone’s browser and a website that’s not encrypted.
  • Malicious apps: Applications have the capability to access a lot of information about you and even infect your phone with malware.
  • Outdated Software: Often, software updates include patches to security flaws recently found in the software. Just like a desktop or laptop computer, you need to update your phone’s software otherwise hackers can take advantage of known security exploits in outdated software.

While the recent wave of phone hacks has spurred celebs to take action, these events have also shown how sensitive the information we store and share on our phone really is and how important smartphone security can be. Luckily, we can all take steps to stay ahead of potential threats.

As mobile devices become increasingly attractive targets for hackers, securing your smartphone becomes essential! Take it from the stars: Hugh Grant, Sienna Miller, Scarlett Johansson and Mila Kunis: it’s very important to keep your phone protected from hackers!

5 comments
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