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12 February, at 11 : 08 AM Print
Rwanda like any other country that is on a rapid ICT transformation has most of its services easily accessed through mobile telephones. MTN Mobile money, Tigo Cash, BK, BCR, Ecobank, BPR are all offering SMS financial transactions services. Contracts, dates and more other private conversations are all talked on phone.
In a world where the likes of Chuck Bokath or journalists of the compromised news of the world, itumanaho.com thinks it is within its mandate to advise its readership about the vulnerabilities of their phones, of course laying down the preventive measures.
To understand how far phone hackers have reached, we take a look at Chuck Bokath of Georgia Tech Research Institute, Atlanta. According to Mr. Bokath, “he can hack into your cellphone just by dialing the number. He can remotely listen to your calls, read your text messages, snap pictures with your phone’s camera and track your movements around town — not to mention access the password to your online bank account.”
“It’s actually quite frightening,” said Mr. Bokath. “Most people have no idea how vulnerable they are when they use their cellphones.”
Lookout Inc.a smartphone security company estimates that more than a million phones worldwide have already been affected.As cellphones have gotten smarter, they have become less like phones and more like computers, and thus susceptible to hacking.
Cellphones can be hacked in several ways. According to MrBokath, a hack can hack into a phone’s operating system and reroute data to make a two way delivery to both the intended person and the hack.
That means the hacker can listen to your calls, read your text messages, follow your Internet browsing activity and keystrokes and pinpoint your geographical location, can even instruct your phone to transmit audio and video when your phone is turned off so intimate encounters and sensitive business negotiations essentially become broadcast news.
How to protect your phone from hackers;
- Immediate removal of your phone’s battery is the only way to interrupt the flow of information if you suspect you are being hacked.
- Reconfigure the phone’s settings due to a network outage or other problem.
- Send a text message to suspected hacker that claims to be from his/her service provider asking for permission to access his data or else block his phone. This scares him off.
- Download mobile applications from a well-known vendor like Google or Apple and not lonely developers.
- Do not give permission to applications that require permissions to make phone calls or connect or reveal your identity and location.
- Sticky to using 3G networks and avoid using Wi-Fi connections to access internet, most especially public Wi-Fi from where you can meet many hackers.
- Avoid free unofficial versions of popular apps, say, Angry Birds or Fruit Ninja. They often have malware hidden in the code.
- Download an antivirus app like Lookout, Norton and AVG. Some are free and be able toscan viruses, worms, Trojans and other malware
- If you deal in highly confidential businesses buy an extremely secure mobile phone like the $3,000 Sectéra Edge by General Dynamics, which was commissioned by the USA Defense Department for use by soldiers and spies.
Clues that you might have already been infected include delayed receipt of e-mails and texts, sluggish performance while surfing the Internet and shorter battery life. Also look for unexplained charges on your cellphone bill.