Protect your phone and private information


A 7NEWS consumer exclusive

SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) – Your cell phone, arguably your most valuable possession, is also increasingly valuable to crooks. And now a new kind of hack is putting your personal information at greater risk than ever before because you don’t even have to click anything to fall victim to it.

Depending on whether you have an iPhone or an Android, there are two easy ways to protect your private information in this 7News consumer exclusive.


USC Upstate IT expert Kevin Hodges warns there’s a new category of game-changing phone hacks. The so-called “clickless” spyware that sneaks onto users’ phones without them doing anything.

It’s a huge change to think of our phones being protected, not at all. Because they really aren’t, ”Hodges said.

One such malware, Israel’s Pegasus, has infected phones by simply making a call to users through WhatsApp even when they haven’t picked up or sent an iMessage that isn’t reading.

“Pegasus is huge in that they use exploits in phones and software to install large software that can do data mining from your phone and can do so without your intervention in any way. . It’s huge.”


For months, the only quick fix was to just turn your phone off and on, and the program in your phone’s memory will be deleted. It is still the most common solution for Android users.

But this month, Apple announced an emergency security update for its iOS operating system that fixes the flaw.


While to date spyware like Pegasus has primarily targeted high profile individuals, other types of phone hacks that cover large populations are on the increase.

Alex Hy of Stay Mobile in Spartanburg says the Google Play store is inundated with bogus apps that are disguised malware.

“There are a lot of them and if for some reason they have a date like ‘Clean Booster 2019 or 2020’ don’t do it, it’s a trap,” Hy said.

Also beware of links in text messages from unknown sources that might download malicious code to your phone.


And then there are the vulnerabilities of public networks.

“There’s one that’s really well known called a man in the middle attack. There are people who have the equipment to duplicate the network and will basically trick you into connecting to that network. So a ‘man in the middle’ gets all of your information when you don’t know everything that’s going on, ”Hy said.


As we mentioned, it’s more important than ever to take advantage of these security updates. So you should always have the latest operating system on your phone. But don’t stop there. After setting up automatic operating system updates, don’t forget to go to your app store and update all your apps as well.

Deterring hackers:

Finally, take your passwords seriously by not only making them complex, but changing them frequently. And use 2-step authentication to make it harder for criminals to hack your accounts.


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