Our phones are a major part of how we interact with the world. There was once a time when people only used their phones to communicate. Modern smartphones are processing powerhouses, capable of delivering high quality multimedia experiences. It’s no surprise then, that the average cell phone user will use their phone throughout their day, always keeping it near to their person, and traveling with it on the go. This is why phone data recovery is a must.
Given how much we rely upon our phones, and the fact that they’re constantly connected to the internet, it makes sense that malicious entities would try to use them as a point of entry. There are numerous threats out there, and there’s new ones being developed around the clock, so keeping up to date is as difficult as it is critical.
In this article we’ll take a look at some of the security risks to our phones, what these security risks entail, and how we can go about protecting ourselves from them. We’ll also discuss phone data recovery that can help you in the event you lose your data or lose access.
The Evolution of Threats | Physical access is no longer a barrier to entry
Protecting of our passwords and other important credentials is a must. There are also basic measures in place to assist us in this, for example, the way your typed out password shows up as asterisks or other generic symbols on screen, ensuring you’re not vulnerable to people standing behind you. Privacy is a must for any popular app that uses or share or process sensitive data, and you’ve probably been asked to set a stronger password at some point.
The purpose of setting a complex password with different kinds of symbols is essentially a way to make it more difficult for a brute force attack to penetrate our security protocols. Brute forcing involves inputting every imaginable password starting with the most likely ones, in an attempt to gain access to a device or account. Other than brute force attacks, using random passwords also helps deter social engineering techniques such as a person who knows your birthday and other personal details using them to figure out your password.
There were over 300 billion passwords in use around the world in 2020. That’s more than 35 passwords for every person on the internet. It’s no wonder people have so much trouble remembering their passwords and end up having to reset them. But the process leading up to a password reset needs to be secure enough to not allow in anyone but you.
Managing Your Cell Phone Security
How do we manage this? Via techniques and technologies that allow us to distribute risk, such as Multi-factor authentication. Read on to find out more about it and how you could potentially prevent the need for phone data recovery.
But what if we told you that hackers don’t even need to know your password to gain access to your device? Through software such as key loggers, a hacker can track and record a potential victims keystrokes, and use them to recreate passwords, typed out messages, and more.
A key logger must first be installed onto the target’s system first though; like most classical hacking tools it comes with a caveat. This has implications for Android data recovery, as an android system has a vulnerable file system compared to Apple devices.
Sadly, this doesn’t apply to every threat, and given the many that are out there, it’s nearly impossible to be aware of every attack vector you’re vulnerable to at any given point in time. Getting infected can be a matter of simply connecting your phone to a public computer to charge, and the rest happens without you even realizing it.
The moment you connect your device, the PC mounts the hard drive from your device so that you can access it through the PC. Within a moment of your device being mounted and becoming available, malware on the PC system can infect your smartphone, and chances are you would have no way to tell even if it did.
Malware / Spyware
This is due to a particularly pesky threat known as spyware. Malware refers to any software that designs to harm or exploit users’ systems and proliferate across networks. Spyware is a specific subset of malware that deals with software that is used to track an individual or monitor their habits without their knowledge. The software downloads onto your system instantly, and silently observes your actions without you ever knowing.
Spyware can get downloaded onto your device through any number of relatively mundane tasks, such as you opening up a strange, garbled message from one of your known contacts. The software is downloaded onto your system instantly, and silently observes your actions without you ever knowing. The average amount of time it takes to identify a data breach is around 196 days. That’s over 6 months after the breach!
The trick here is that threats often forgo directly accessing your device, and instead rely on you to give them permissions. This means that unless you remain ever-vigilant, you may just end up letting threats in yourself, and this makes laptop and phone data recovery that much more difficult.
2020 was a big year for hackers and malicious software providers. Malware threats grew by 358%, and ransomware saw a resurgence, growing by 435%. Overall, cyber threats swelled to inflict over $20 Billion of damage around the world; which was more than the previous two years combined.
The public network menace | Why you shouldn’t connect to public Wi-Fi
Public networks such as the ones you find on buses or in restaurants are a hotbed for potential threats, and one should always be weary while using them. There are three ways public networks compromise users’ security.
1. Rogue Hotspots
This applies especially to public networks that don’t have passwords, and is the least technology-intensive way for a potential hacker to gain access to a victim’s device. They’ll just find an actual open, public network, and set up another in the same area that looks exactly the same, at least from the outside looking in. Once connected to this “Wi-Fi”, all your internet traffic effectively flows through the assailant’s device, giving them free reign over all the sensitive information you may exchange with websites, as well as allowing them to send malware to your device disguised as regular web traffic, which subsequently leads to a loss of data.
2. Man in the middle attacks
In this kind of attack, a hacker gains control over a legitimate source of internet instead of pretending to be one themselves. This is harder to spot than a rogue hotspot because there is no duplicate network, although if you’re familiar with the tenets of internet protocols like DNS and HTTP, you may be able to identify abnormalities in traffic. Key indicators include spontaneous redirects and a lack of SSL encryption on sites that should normally have encrypted traffic.
3. Wi-Fi snooping and packet sniffing
This is an even more indirect form of cyber-threat, and it involves hackers using software or hardware to capture stray Wi-Fi packets and use them to decipher details about a user’s web traffic, including the websites they access, what pages they visit, and how they navigate between pages. In some cases, such as with unencrypted networks, hackers can even gain access to credentials and passwords via snooping.
Creating the internet was meant to connect people not make them secure. We must take care when sharing data over unsecure networks to ensure that our own diligence can serve to counteract the efforts of would-be hackers.
Access control | Phone Data Recovery
In January 2020, 1.2 million Microsoft enterprise accounts were compromised in what the company later would describe as a routine month. The announcement came at a time when Microsoft was already facing considerable backlash over security risks and missed update schedules, so it was easy to let the warning they gave people slip under the radar. The company released a statement saying 99.9% of the breached accounts could’ve been secured via multi-factor authentication. This step alone can prevent a security breach and the possible need for phone data recovery.
As a technology, passwords themselves have a fatal flaw. Anyone who has that password can gain unlimited access to a user’s identity and the permissions that go along with it. As a means of access control, passwords alone offer only a single point of failure, and this is hardly enough to deter potential threats. To cater to this weakness, we have measures like two factor authentication that require additional verification beyond just knowing a password.
Multi-factor authentication determines a user’s identity by checking to see if they have access to the devices or accounts linked with a particular account. A One-time Passcode (OTP) that is sent to a different account via a different medium. You could get a text containing the code, or an email, but the purpose is the same; to verify your identity.
Beyond biometric identification such as fingerprints and retinal scans this is our best line of defense against hackers, as them being able to hack multiple independent mediums simultaneously is highly unlikely. From a phone data recovery perspective, MFA helps ensure that the loss of your device doesn’t also mean the loss of all your precious credentials and backups.
Phone Data Recovery Cannot Help with Banking Breaches
Mobile Banking applications utilize some of the highest level encryption protocols and the latest in authentication technology to achieve an ecosystem that is very hard to breach for ordinary or even exceptional hackers. Some field experts have described banking applications as akin to having a bank branch in your phone. However, being free from technological faults doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to break into your bank account. The methods for doing so are just a lot less clever than you would imagine.
Most online banking related hacking incidents have a hacker rely on social engineering techniques to get a victim’s critical details. “Social engineering” means a hacker convinced a user to give their account details away, either by pretending to be a bank official, or by having the user enter sensitive information into a fake webpage.
Social engineering attributes to online banking fraud cases. This is why banks invest heavily in repeatedly reminding people to not give away their information to anyone, even people they may supposedly trust.
Bank employees will rarely call you, they’ll only ask for details relating to your identity, and they will know the relevant account details without asking. Be wary of phone calls from people who ask you things like your SSN or credit card CVV, as this is a clear red flag.
Ransomware and Phone Data Recovery | Adopting a proactive approach is important
Ransomware is an emergent form of data theft that involves hackers taking your data hostage and demanding payment. Hackers will extract a victim’s data even after payment, allowing them to blackmail the victim and extort further funds. Sell their data to black hat enterprises and make a quick buck. A ransomware attack will take place every 11 seconds in 2021.
Keep your data backed up in a cold storage device. When it comes to phones and their filesystems, this isn’t always an option, so we’d recommend signing up with your respective cloud service (i.e iCloud or Google Drive) to save your backups online. This can save you a pretty penny when you save your backups to the cloud.
Android recovery is usually not very difficult because Android users have direct access to their file systems. You should be very wary of third-party tools as an android user though; free apps can compromise cell phone security. Iphone recovery can be more difficult process, on the other hand, depending on the model.
Even if you don’t back up your data, you still have a shot at coming out of an incident unscathed. So long as you’re smart about how you handle your device in the wake of a breach or loss, and you get in touch with the professionals ASAP. If you’re an Apple user, click here for Iphone recovery tips and tricks, whereas Android users may click here.