Do you own a Galaxy phone? Are you worried about hackers may target your phone? You must have heard that 600 million Samsung Galaxy phones are exposed to hackers! You can’t personally eliminate the vulnerability in your Galaxy phone. You can, however, understand what it means for you. Let’s find out how to protect your Samsung Galaxy from hackers and losing any critical data.
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It has been reported that the attacker can use the opportunity to get their software onto your phone when your phone checks for updates and it could give them the full amount of control over your device and then they can do things like access sensors on your phone like the keyboard, the microphone, GPS, camera etc.
Phones are always vulnerable
Also, it has been found that every Samsung Galaxy device — from the S3 to the latest S22 — has a significant flaw that lets in hackers. The vulnerability lives in the phones’ keyboard software, which can’t be deleted. The flaw potentially allows hackers to spy on anyone using a Samsung Galaxy phone.
First, let us understand the difference between vulnerability and a hack. The vulnerability means the window is unlocked. The hack is when the hacker comes through the unlocked window. To actually execute the hack, someone would have to camp out on a Wi-Fi hub, identify your device when they connect to it and catch their phone asking the network for an update.
Tips to Protect your Samsung Galaxy
1. It is always advisable not to use public Wi-Fi
In open wireless, there are a bunch of other people there using the Wi-Fi and you don’t really know what those people are doing. Hackers can wreak all kinds of havoc through Wi-Fi, even without a known vulnerability. They can pretend to be the wireless access point, the part that your computer is communicating with to get to the internet. If they can pretend to be that, then they can pass your traffic on to the real access point, and then sniff out everything in between. It’s called a man-in-the-middle attack.
Even at your private home wireless setup, you should keep a password on your home Wi-Fi network, because if not, someone could be sitting on your network, sniffing out your traffic, listening to what you’re doing on the internet. So watch where you connect.
2. Check out your applications and app stores
Mixing sensitive information, such as personal financial data and private communications, with games and general browsing is never a good idea. Any application you install on your smartphone is a potential security problem. it is either because the developer is malicious or just because there’s a bug in the code. Only install apps from your vendor’s official application store, and even then, carefully choose what you add by checking the reputation of the application vendor. If you can’t resist having a jailbroken phone and pirating apps, grab another smartphone and let that be your playground.
Also, ensure to restrict the applications you do choose to download. Make sure the applications must request access to other parts of your smartphone, such as contacts, locations and the camera. Periodically go into your settings and review which applications have access to which parts of your phone — and cut them off if there’s no longer a need. While you’re doing that, go ahead and delete any applications you have installed but are not using, like that travel guide to Amsterdam or the NCAA bracket app.
Use apps in place of websites for important services. For instance, if you have a bank account, credit card or investment account, whoever is providing financial services probably has an official app for your smartphone. Use it. When you connect your web browser to their websites, you’re opening up a large hole in your smartphone that hackers are especially keen to exploit. If you use an official app, it doesn’t mean there’s no hole, but you’re cutting out a lot of software you don’t need. That change alone reduces the risk of a malicious attacker taking control of your phone or stealing your data.
3. Keep Your OS and Apps Updated
This is quite understood but it bears repeating: keep your phone’s OS and apps up-to-date. In addition to new features, Android and iOS regularly release essential security fixes with system updates that help protect you against a variety of exploits.
You should even enable auto-updates to ensure you never miss a patch release. If your device is outdated, you may avoid downloading a new software update, as this can sometimes impact your phone’s performance. However, it is better to have a slow phone than not at all.
4. Use a Complex Passcode (And Avoid Biometric Security)
Contrary to what phone manufacturers would have you believe, biometrics like fingerprint and facial scanners are a flawed way to secure your phone. You cannot rely on traditional old-fashioned PIN or password, as hackers have developed many ways to bypass biometrics (including simple tricks like the infamous 2019 exploit that allowed users to bypass fingerprint scanners on a variety of Samsung Galaxy phones using only a third-party screen protector).
Unfortunately, not all passwords are created equal. Although it’s better to have a PIN/password than none, you can significantly increase your security by using a complex password. Aim for at least 16-20 characters with a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. This goes not only for your phone’s password, but any and all accounts you have.
Don’t store passwords on your device. Remembering unique passwords for every account can be difficult. So use a secure password manager instead, like Kaspersky Password Manager. These services allow you to store all your secure credentials in a digital vault — giving you easy access and the security you need.
5. Learn How to Lock or Wipe Your Phone Remotely
Apple’s Find My iPhone and Android’s Find My Device are location-tracking features available to help you find your phone in the event it’s lost or stolen. However, these tools go beyond simple device tracking, as they can also be set to lock your device and delete all data to prevent thieves from accessing your information.
6. Don’t Jailbreak Your Phone
Jailbreaking your phone can be tempting, especially if you own an Apple iOS-based device. Bypassing your phone’s operating system lets you install all sorts of apps that aren’t approved by Apple and even change wireless providers. But unfortunately, jailbreaking comes with serious security risks that can leave you exposed to hackers and other threats.
For one thing, accessing Google or Apple’s official security updates may become more difficult since installing them could remove the jailbreak. You’ll also need to be 100% sure you can trust the apps you use, as they will have full access to your device once installed.
While there are certainly benefits to jailbreaking your phone, it’s simply not a good idea if you care at all about your online security and privacy.
7. Beware of Spam and Phishing Emails
Although your email service’s spam folder will hold many of these threats, it won’t prevent all of them from ending up in your inbox. Here are a few ways you can protect yourself against spam and phishing emails:
- If an email looks suspicious, don’t open it — although opening an email isn’t all that dangerous, it can still provide information about you to the spammer such as your IP address, ISP, approximate geographic location, and more.
- Never click on a link from an unknown email — if you accidentally open a malicious email, the best thing you can do is delete it immediately and avoid clicking any links or attachments. These links could contain viruses or other malicious files.
- Mark any suspicious email as spam or junk — this helps train your email service’s detection software to better identify such emails in the future.
If you ever click a link or open an attachment you think might be malicious, immediately scan your device with antivirus software.
8. Set Up Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Two-factor authentication or 2FA is one of the easiest and most effective security systems you have at your disposal. As is self-explanatory, 2FA is an extra security layer for online accounts that forces you to provide an additional piece of information after entering your username and password.
Any form of 2FA protection is better than nothing, but not all methods are created equal. For the best security, you’ll want to use a software token-based method such as Google Authenticator, which generates a time-based, 1-time passcode. Do your best to avoid SMS text messages or voice-based 2FA, as these methods are less secure and can be easily tricked by hackers.
Once you’ve set up 2FA with your online accounts, you should strongly consider pairing it with a trusted VPN. ExpressVPN encrypts your traffic, preventing hackers from seeing when you log in to your private accounts.
9. Keep Your Phone With You At All Times
Although hackers can access your phone remotely, the easiest way for someone to get into your phone is through physical access. Thankfully, it’s also easy to prevent someone from grabbing your phone by ensuring you keep it on your person whenever you’re outside your home.
Hackers only need a few minutes to break into your phone so leaving it unattended in a public setting is never a good idea. Of course, accidents do happen but prevention is key. As long as you’ve followed the other tips on this list, your data should be well protected even in the event a hacker gets a hold of your phone.
Above-listed is some of the most popular and effective ways to stay alert and prevent your Samsung Galaxy from being hacked or landing in worn hands with critical data. Try it all and keep your phone safe.