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Having a Field Day with Your Android Apps? So Do Cyber Criminals!

You love your Android phone and you love to go to the Play Store and download exciting new apps. You have also been through the Crazy Birds obsession and the Candi Crush mania. But do you know that your Android phone is not secured against the smartest of breaches: mobile app hackers. Before we go ahead and explain the intensity of this threat to mobile apps, especially Android apps, let’s have a look at the facts and figures, reported by Arxan, regarding mobile app hacks:

  • 97% of top 100 paid Android apps have been hacked.
  • 87% of top 100 paid iOS apps have been hacked.
  • 80% of popular free Android apps have been hacked.
  • 75% of the popular free iOS apps have been hacked.

and more 97% of top 100 paid Android apps have been hacked. 87% of top 100 paid iOS apps have been hacked. 80% of popular free Android apps have been hacked. 75% of the popular free iOS apps have been hacked.

These facts and figures are horrifying. What we once considered a safe way of computing, exchanging information and thoughts and communicating with others, has turned out to be totally vulnerable to security threats like mobile app breaches. Our intention is not to frighten you, but reality is harsh. The oh so glorious Google’s Android OS is not safe. What if we tell you that an app that you have on your Android phone, is likely to be a fake, produced by some smart cybercriminals? After Google decided to transform the Android Market into Google Play, such criminals have great fun producing fake apps. Even Google Play is compromised, what do you expect from Android apps on your phone?

What to do? One option might be to live in a layman’s Utopia and believe that malwares and hacking are only for computers, and that your smart phone is immune. Another option, and a smart one, is to consider a security plan against mobile app hacking. When we talk about the security of apps on your mobile phone, specifically for an Android phone, the security can be provided at three different levels. One layer of protection is on device level; it varies from device to device and approach focuses on the device and not the operating system, let alone the vulnerable apps. Another layer of security is on the operating system level. This may vary from iOS to Android, but again the vulnerability of apps is not fully addressed in this type of security doctrine. A whole new level of security is at the application level. There are different types of apps in a mobile phone. We are not discussing the difference due to their functions e.g. fun, games, entertainment or communication but by the difference design of the apps. The more important apps are the custom apps presented in every Android phone. Just imagine if someone successfully infiltrates into your Gmail app? Your personal correspondence and financial communication would be at the mercy of a vicious stranger.

You need maximum security, and that can only be ensured with the help of a reliable tool to provide security on the application level. This type of security ensures that you get strong protection against app hacking attempts and keep your financial and personal details safe.

Enjoy using certain custom and downloaded apps on your Android phone all you want, but bear in mind the importance of maximum app security.

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What Can Someone Do With Your Phone Number.

Just about everyone these days has a cell phone, and it has become intrinsically linked to our identity. Identity thieves are always searching for new ways to get your information and use it for identity theft or fraud.

The most significant danger of handing out your mobile device number is that it could fall into the hands of a cybercriminal and steal information from cell phone. With so much information available in public records and sold on the dark web from data breaches, your cell phone number could link you to a lot of other personal or sensitive information like logins, usernames, passwords, and more.

SMS Insecurity

A lot of apps are linked to your cell phone number also. Using two-factor authentication is great and keeps things safer, but if you have compromised phone number, then hackers have the keys to the kingdom. Some SMS systems are insecure and hackable. Therefore, someone would potentially get that special code that is texted to you from an app, and they could log into your account and change the password before you even realize what is going on. It’s crucial to use end-to-end encrypted SMS platforms for all your communications.

SIM Swapping

SIM swapping is another danger where nefarious criminals use SIM cards linked to your phone to steal access to your phone number and carrier account. This type of danger is very real and scary and usually involves social engineering to trick the phone company representative. By having your cell number, a scammer could trick caller ID systems and get into your financial accounts or call financial institutions that use your phone number to identify you.

Once the scammer convinces your carrier to port out your number, you may never get it back. Scam porting is a big problem for phone owners.

Can Someone Steal My Phone Number?

Yes. Your phone number is out there on the web in various locations. Scammers can use stolen cell phone numbers and use it for two-factor authentication codes and other access to all your texts, apps, and other online accounts, they could have your cell phone number hijacked and do it through SIM swapping. This is how it occurs:

First, they buy a burner phone and pop a new SIM card into it. They then call your wireless phone carrier and pretend to be you. If the hacker has enough information to convince the person, they may transfer your service and phone number to that blank SIM card and the new burner phone. Now your phone number has been stolen, and you aren’t even aware of it. All your texts, phone calls, and 2FA codes will now go to the hacker’s phone instead of yours. If you have access to bank accounts and other apps tied to your phone number, they will now have access to that stuff as well. Many location-based systems will think it’s you just by the scammer calling from your phone number. If hackers get this far, they can then change all your passwords and lock you out of your own accounts. Very scary stuff.

How Do Scammers Get Your Phone Number?

One of the most common ways scammers get your phone number is through the many data breaches and treasure troves of raw data found and sold on the dark web.

Another way is by picking through your trash and grabbing an old bill with your phone number on it.

Using a people search site, someone could glean a whole lot of information on cell phone numbers, such as any criminal records, past addresses, social media accounts, arrests, warrants, court cases, relatives’ information, and more.

How Much Info Can You Get From a Cell Phone Number?

It’s actually quite shocking how much information you can get from just a cell phone number. The list begins with your name and possibly address. Some other things might be:

  • Past addresses.
  • Relatives’ names.
  • Where you live.
  • Your assets and how much you paid for your house.
  • All your criminal records.
  • Driving records.
  • Legal issues (bankruptcy, liens, taxes, court cases, lawsuits, etc.).
  • Travel information.
  • Social media accounts.
  • Other online accounts.
  • Email addresses.
  • Vital records.
  • Deep web and dark web records.
  • Mugshots.
  • Professional licenses.
  • IP address.
  • VIN number.
steal information from cell phone

11 Ways How Can Scammers Use Your Phone Number

Unfortunately, the power of your phone number is immense, giving hackers and scammers a lot of options to do bad things. Some of the most common are:

  1. Access your social media accounts.
  2. Text message or contact your friends and family to scam them.
  3. Spoofing your phone number and calling people you know to commit fraud.
  4. Text phishing messages to your contacts – this is called “smishing.”
  5. Hijack your mobile phone number and take over your digital life.
  6. Commit identity theft pretending to be you.
  7. Access your online bank accounts or credit card accounts and take them over. 
  8. Use your number for robocalls. 
  9. Send phishing emails to your email account. 
  10. SIM swap to steal your phone number. 
  11.  Access your voicemail.

What Steps to Take if Scammers are Using Your Phone Number

The best way to avoid this cybersecurity disaster is to prevent it from ever happening. However, if you suddenly find that scammers are using your phone number to commit fraud or scam others, you should take these immediate steps:

  • Contact your wireless service provider and report the abuse. Ask them to put a secondary password on your account so no one can take it over without the password. 
  • Let your friends and family know that your number is being used in this way.
  • Stop giving your phone number out online and to anyone who requests it.
  • Stay clear of websites and apps that link to your phone.
  • Turn on two-factor authentication for all your accounts.
  • Get a phone number through Google voice which is not linked to anything else.
  • Never click on links in texts or email. Malware is often linked to text messages or email.
  • Use very strong passwords and never reuse them on multiple websites.
  • Use third-party authenticators when you can. 
  • Update your security questions on all accounts including Gmail.

Do all you can to keep your phone number safe from hackers and identity thieves.