Have you tried turning it off and on again?
America’s top executives have shared their best advice for preventing others from accessing your smartphone and stealing your data — and it’s almost too easy.
US Senator Angus King is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which oversees the country’s spy services, including the CIA and the NSA. Last year, his security detail told him the best way to keep his work phone safe and he finally shared it with the world.
It has just two easy steps, the AP reported. “Step one: turn off the phone. Step two: turn it back on.” Disable, Enable: A Simple Step Can Thwart Top-Rated Hackers
Yes, the IT crowd was right: the humble reboot really can solve any technical problem. It works especially well if done regularly, the spies said: about once a week should be enough.
Reboot works because intruders often break into your phone with temporary memory hacks. Android and iOS usually have strong firewalls around core parts of their operating systems, so it’s faster and easier to stick with less secure “in-memory payloads”.
Fortunately, by turning your phone off and back on, you erase all these temporary files, including malicious ones. This means hackers have to work harder to wipe your data.
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Security expert Patrick Wardle told AP: “Opponents came to realize they don’t have to hold out. If they could get and exfiltrate all your chat messages and your contact and your passwords once, it’s almost game over, right?”
Protecting your phone is important, even if you think you have nothing to hide. It’s essentially a huge folder of sensitive information that you carry with you almost all the time. Hackers can go after your location data, contacts, passwords and photos and can even secretly record you.
That’s true, even if you haven’t done anything risky like clicking a spam link or email. Today, sophisticated attackers are increasingly using exploits that require no action at all. Scary, these “zero-click” hacks can load a virus onto your phone invisibly and without warning.
The news comes a week after an incredibly powerful spyware called Pegasus was revealed. Researchers found that the hacking software quietly infected thousands of smartphones and took over the camera and microphone to spy on conversations and phone calls. Many of the victims were prominent politicians, journalists and activists who were targeted by spam WhatsApp calls.
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