Your phone is sending and receiving data all the time. This data can be intercepted by exploiting vulnerabilities of a signalling system, SS7, used by more than 800 telecommunication companies across the world. Through this, criminals, hackers, spies and governments are able to listen in to your conversations, steal information stored on your phone and track your location.
It is clear the risks of having your phone hacked by ‘petty’ criminals are just as real as having your car or credit card details stolen. In a recent 60 Minutes report (Australian Edition), the reporter Ross Coulthart drove around Sydney with a cryptophone to detect the use of devices known as IMSI-catchers (International Mobile Subscriber Identity) that facilitate mobile eavesdropping. While in Sydney, Coulthart detected 10 such devices trying to hack into his calls, even right outside the Australian Stock Exchange.
The security hole was first identified back in 2008. Government, Security Agencies and the Telecommunications industry knew about it. The report ended with the question: why is this security hole not being plugged?
The risk of our information being hacked through your phone have always been there. I once thought the skills and knowledge required to hack people’s mobile phones was reserved mainly to spies, government agencies and highly-skilled hackers. Perhaps this assumption was once true, but definitely not anymore.
Stop for a moment and think what would happen if information you have on your phone fell in the hands of a criminal. Think of your access codes to your bank accounts. What happens if you lose all your lifesavings? That money for the car that needs replacing? That urgent surgery to save your or your child’s life?
If you are a business owner or an executive you are likely to have private, sensitive and confidential information on your phone. What would happen to your business if this data was accessed by criminals, your competitors and other third parties? There are all sorts of concerns, from financial fraud to physical security, that you stand to deal with if this ever becomes an issue for you.
In my next post I will show how I encrypted the data on my phone to help you do the same and secure your data on your mobile phone as well.
In future posts we will offer more tips and tricks on how to protect yourself and your business from unauthorised access to your information so make sure to bookmark this page, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus or Linked In.