How much protection does your phone’s passcode really provide?

May 1st, 2014

Hackers are becoming increasingly clever in regards to accessing the information stored on smart phones. And hackers are doing this regardless of whether consumers protect their phones with lock-screen passcodes. As a current story on the Lifehacker technology Web site says, passcodes have never been a completely foolproof way to protect your smart phone. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to better guard your phone. And there are services you can enlist to protect yourself if you’ve lost your smart phone or someone has taken it.

Passcode problems

The Lifehacker story examines recent passcode exploits targeting the Samsung Galaxy and iPhone smart phones. According to the story, the attack on the iPhone enabled hackers to, using the phone app, make phone calls, view photos and alter the contact lists of users. Hackers couldn’t gain full access to the phone, nevertheless they gained enough power to cause plenty of problems for owners. The Samsung exploit worked differently. Hackers were able to flash the phone’s home screen for about a second. This gave hackers enough time to either launch apps on the phone or start downloading a more dangerous app that enables hackers to get full control over a smart phone.

Not foolproof

The Lifehacker story proves that passcodes are far from a magic bullet to stop smart phone hackers. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. As the Lifehacker story says, passcodes have never been more powerful than standard passwords in relation to protecting smart phones. Hackers have long been able to crack lock-screen passcodes. They’ve also been capable to get into the hard drives of smart phones to access the data and information stored there.

The protection you need

To protect yourself, first be sure that your lock-screen passcode is at least complicated to guess. Lifehacker recommends a passcode composed of letters, symbols and numbers. Next, always encrypt the data that you store on your smart phone. Last but not least, consider paying for services such as Prey or Apple’s Find my iPhone. These services offer the ability to track your phone after it’s stolen or you lose it. Better yet, it allows you to eliminate the data stored on it, so that hackers can’t reach it.