How safe are your photos, really?
If you’re like most people, your phone is loaded with selfies.
Make sure they don’t end up in the wrong hands.
According to Business Insider, hackers can copy fingerprints from photos and use them to steal your identity. Peace-sign selfies and high-resolution pictures are the most vulnerable.
No matter how safe your phone is, you can still have your data stolen. Each month, about 25% of all smartphones and tablets encounter a threat.
The risk is even higher among those who post personals photos on dating sites or social media. Hackers can easily crack your passwords using the information on your Facebook page. Let’s see how they do it.
Just How Easy Is Smartphone Hacking?
You’ve probably heard about all those stolen celebrity photos. Sienna Miller, Emma Watson, and Rihanna are just a few examples.
Believe it or not, everything can be hacked. Just because you have the latest iPhone doesn’t mean you’re safe. A hacker doesn’t need technical skills to steal your data.
Bluejacking, phishing, and malware apps are among the most common attacks. As long as you’re using the Internet on your phone, you’re at risk.
Hackers can crack cell phone encryption and take over your phone. They only need a few minutes to steal your credit card data, personals photos, and selfies.
Here are the most common strategies they use:
iPhone and iPad Hijacking
If you have an iOS device, your photos are automatically stored in Apple’s iCloud. Just like everything else, this app has its weak points. In 2014, over 100 celebrities had their accounts compromised.
Cloud storage makes it easier to upload and store images. Even if you lose your phone, you’ll still have your pictures in the cloud. The downside is that anyone who knows your password and username can access them.
The easiest way to protect your phone is to choose strong passwords. Also, make sure you turn off automatic iCloud sharing and Google Plus Auto-Backup.
Hackers may use bluesnarfing to access your text messages, emails, and photos. This attack is most likely to occur when your device is in discoverable mode.
To prevent it, keep your phone in “invisible” mode and turn off Bluetooth. Never store your passwords or credit card data on the phone.
Do you have Apple’s Find My Mac security app installed on your smartphone? If so, it’s better to remove it.
Hackers can access this feature and take control over your phone. Basically, they encrypt your files and ask you for money to unlock them. In the worst case scenario, they will steal all the data on your Mac.
This type of attack is known as ransomware. It allows criminals to see where your devices are physically located and set a PIN to lock them.
Once they have access to your phone, stealing your photos is a piece of cake.
To protect your device, enable Apple’s two-factor authentication. Set up a unique password for iCloud and another for your smartphone.
Do not use the same password on your phone and computer.
Smartphone apps add functionality to your device. Unfortunately, they also increase the risk of hacking. The more apps you’re using, the higher the chances of a data breach.
Hackers can gain control over your phone through malicious apps. Once this happens, they can delete your social profiles or share your pics. Your credit card information is at risk, too.
To keep them away, limit the number of apps on your device. Avoid those that request permission to access your email or Facebook account.
Remember to update your apps regularly. Older applications are more vulnerable to security breaches.
There are many other tricks hackers can use to access your data. Some of the most common smartphone security threats are inspired by computer hacking. For example, clicking on spammy links in the emails received on your phone may lead to identity theft.
Why Would Someone Steal Your Photos?
You might wonder why someone would want to steal your pictures. After all, you’re not a celebrity or political figure.
Hackers can use your personals photos and selfies to blackmail you. They may also set up fake dating profiles or share your pictures on adult sites.
Let’s say you’re taking before and after photos to track your fitness progress. Or perhaps you’re fooling around in your new bikini. It’s fun and harmless.
One day, you discover a fake Facebook profile featuring your photos. Even worse, you find out that someone is offering escort services using your pictures. What if your boss or your friends stumble over those pics?
Your reputation will be ruined. If you have a business and your clients see those photos, you risk losing your credibility.
Luckily, you can protect your data and selfies by following some simple rules. Most times, a strong password can make all the difference.
How to Protect Personals Photos from Hackers
Mobile security is a major problem with serious consequences. Hackers don’t even need a reason to steal your photos or private data. For them, you’re just a random victim.
The best way to prevent cyber attacks is to choose a secure, hack-proof password. Use a mix of upper and lower case letters, symbols, and numbers. Passphrases are even safer.
For increased protection, use a password manager. This service generates strong passwords and stores them in one place. Opt for RoboForm, Dashlane, or other trusted apps.
Never share your passwords with anyone, especially by email. When you’re using public computers, uncheck the “Remember Me” option.
Also, be careful what you share on dating sites and social networks. Your contacts don’t need to know when you’re on a holiday, or what banking service you’re using.
Wrapping Things Up
To stay safe, don’t reveal your date of birth on social media.
Enter a different day or month when filling out your dating profile. The less people know about you, the better.
Another thing you can do to safeguard your phone is to use anonymity networks on public WiFi. Tor, ZeroNet, and anoNet are a good choice. This will make it harder for hackers to access your passwords and other data.
What strategies do you use to protect your selfies and personals photos? Share your tips below!