Don't think a passcode protects your phone from skilled hackers

Don’t think a passcode protects your phone from skilled hackers

<p>Think your smart phone is protected because you make use of a passcode to prevent others from logging onto its home screen? Think again. A newly released 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&rsquo; smart phones. The truth is, not even a hard-to-guess passcode can prevent the most skilled and patient of hackers from compromising your smart phone.</p> <p><strong>Passcode attacks</strong></p> <p>According to the Lifehacker story, recent passcode exploits have worked differently based on whether hackers were targeting the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy phones. For the iPhone, the exploits allowed hackers to gain access to the Phone app, not the iPhone's home screen. This meant hackers are able to use other's phones to make calls, see users' contacts and access users' photos, despite the fact that didn't gain total access to the phone. For the Galaxy, hackers succeeded only to flash phones' home screens for around a second. This is a small amount of time, but enough to enable hackers to launch an app or start downloading one which can unlock your phone entirely.</p> <p><strong>Not foolproof</strong></p> <p>The Lifehacker story proves that passcodes are far from a quick fix for stopping smart phone hackers. This shouldn&rsquo;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&rsquo;ve been able to get into the hard drives of smart phones to access the data stored there.</p> <p><strong>Protecting yourself</strong></p> <p>As with all things tech, you can do something so it will be more challenging 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 to encrypt your phone's data. Finally, Lifehacker recommends utilizing 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 steals it.</p>