Stop Hackers from Accessing Your Phone (and ALL your devices)
Unsure about whether your data is safe when you’re at the coffee shop on their WiFi network? We all experience this. The fact is, if you don’t take steps to stop hackers and secure your data on WiFi hotspots, your data will be easily accessible to hackers!
In this guide, we show you the problems and solutions to stop hackers from accessing your phone, so you can browse safely when you’re at your next public WiFi hotspot (although these concepts will keep you safe & secure at home, too!).
How Do Hackers Hack WiFi HotSpots?
They use various hacking tools to “spy” on the packets of information being sent from your computer to the WiFi network (and from the WiFi HotSpot to your computer). You can download these programs for free (see NetStumbler.com and this wiki article to inform yourself) to see the exact tools hackers use to steal data.
Why provide links to hacking tools? Knowing your enemy is half the battle, which is why it’s good to educate yourself about the tools hackers use. You can even install these apps on your Android phone.
How Do I Stop Hackers From Accessing My Phone?
The answer is to use layered security (wiki). Layered security means using not just one security method, but multiple security methods to provide yourself with layers of security (below) to stop hackers.
These layers of security are more difficult to hack than just one single “wall” which they can “jump over” or go around. Yes, security is like a cake – a 10-layer chocolate cake.
What are the Security Layers I should be using to stop hackers?
- Encrypt your transmitted data with an Encrypted VPN
- Use only HTTPS websites when on WiFi hotspots
- Secure your files by putting them in Secured cloud storage.
- Password-strength checking and changing passwords on a regular basis
- Secure ALL of your devices & accounts – not just your primary laptop / phone. These days, since devices are so closely linked together, you don’t want one device to infect another.
- (EXTRA: For website owners) If you’re running a website, use the Wordfence Security plugin, automated daily backups to the secure cloud storage. and a free uptime monitor such as Pingdom.com or UptimeRobot.com. * These are server-side techniques to stop hackers.
1. Encrypt your transmitted Internet data with a VPN.
Problem: These days, you can’t be too secure with your data. U.S. and U.K. citizens should remember how Edward Snowden exposed that the U.S. and U.K. Government had been actively spying on their own citizens for years (as a Yankee, I wasn’t surprised, just disappointed that they hadn’t admitted it until they were exposed!). In this case, how do we stop hackers when the hackers are your own government?!
Solution: Using a VPN will make it impossible for the government (or ANYONE for that matter) to snoop on your transmitted data. The VPN accomplishes this by creating an encrypted “tunnel” with which to transfer your data and stop hacking attempts in their tracks.
IPVanish is the easiest VPN to set up. You can download their Android app in the Google Play store, sign up for an account, and set that bad boy up to encrypt all of your transmitted data. It also prevents your ISP from throttling your bandwidth and unblocks geoblocked content.
2. Use only HTTPS websites when on WiFi hotspots
Problem: Years ago, a thing was started called HTTPS. This stands for HTTP Secure. It basically is another way of creating a virtual “tunnel” to transmit data. This is handled on an individual website level. So make sure to only use websites that start with “https” (in the address, such as https://gmail.com) when you’re on a WiFi hotspot.
Solution: Using HTTPS will stop hackers from using “packet sniffers” to spy on the information being sent from your device to the end website. Hackers love to sit at WiFi hotspots and wait for people to us Non-HTTPS websites, so they can hop on the person’s connection, steal their passwords, credit card numbers, and other “sensitive data”.
3. Secure your files by putting them in Secured cloud storage.
Problem: One essential aspect of online security & privacy is to secure your files. In the old days, this was simple since devices weren’t online and closely integrated with the Internet. However, these days, most devices are capable of sending and receiving files to and from the Internet. That means opportunities for hackers to steal peoples’ files.
Solution: Use SECURE cloud storage to keep our media files & store our ROMs (emulated game files), movies, APK files, and everything else. Secure cloud storage encrypts your data so only YOU can use it, and you can access it from anywhere in the world on virtually any device. Secure cloud storage will stop hackers from gaining access to your files! Pretty neat, right?
Firestick Tip: This also works for Firestick and Fire TV! Simply get an FTP-enabled cloud storage account and use ES File Explorer to access your cloud-stored files (particularly your favorite movies you’ve downloaded, your ROMs, and your APK files).
Question: What would happen if a hacker gained access to your cloud storage?
- Some cloud storage services (such as the free ones, like Dropbox) are not completely secure
- If you use the right cloud storage (secured cloud storage such as LiveDrive), you simply just need to keep your account password safe and strong – they will handle everything else.
4. Password strength checking and changing passwords on a regular basis
Problem: This one is overlooked by most people, as they think their passwords are strong enough. But they’re not. Make them stronger. You may have noticed website sign-up forms requiring stronger and stronger passwords.
How and Why? This is because hackers get better and better as time goes on. Also, given enough time, any password can be broken (simply by using “brute force” hacking methods, or trying EVERY SINGLE letter and number possibility).
Solution: Make sure your passwords have the following:
- At least 8 characters
- At least 1 number
- At least 1 UPPERCASE letter
- At least 1 lowercase letter
- At least 1 special character
- No complete words (such as “JDog1234”) in your password, peoples’ names (1984tim1!), or website names (facebookpw1)
- Make sure each password is unique! That way, if someone DOES get one of your passwords, they won’t be able to hack ALL of your accounts :)
The Mnemonic Approach to Achieving Easy Password Strength: One easy way to do this is by using the “mnemonic” approach. Take a sentence that’s easy to remember, such as “My government spies on every one of us!”, and take the first letter of each word:
My government spies on every one of us!
So your password would be “Mgsoe1ou!“
- Note: We took the word “one” and used the number 1 to represent it in our password.
Frequency of password change: Regarding how often you should change your passwords, we recommend once a month.
Pro Tip: Use a free app/service called LastPass to securely store your passwords and make it easy to change them ;)
Believe it or not, lack of password strength is an extremely common way for hackers to hack your stuff. This is a VERY easy way to stop hackers from gaining access to your accounts due to “brute force” or “just-a-guess” hacking attempts.
5. Secure ALL of your devices & accounts – not just your primary laptop / phone.
These days, since devices are so closely linked together, you don’t want one device to infect another.
Problem: Online infections are contagious – devices can infect eachother (in fact, this is how computer viruses and malware work). And the odds are, you have multiple device that connect to the Internet: your phone, your computer, maybe a Firestick, and possibly a tablet. This means that every one of your device has the potential to be hacked or infected. If this happens, it’s possible that one device could infect another!
Solution: We need to secure not just our primary device(s), but ALL of our online devices. Run a security scan on all of your devices individually to stop hackers’ code (such as malware) from replicating itself before it’s too late.
- To run a security scan on a Windows PC or Mac, download a Windows or Mac based security program such as AVG
- To run a security scan on an Android phone or iPhone, download an Android or iOS app for security scanning.
6. (EXTRA: For website owners) If you’re running a website, use server-side security.
Problem: People who own websites are particularly vulnerable, since public websites are exposed to the entire world (and ALL of its hackers!).
Solution: Use a secure web host, use a security plugin (Wordfence), make automated daily backups to secure cloud storage, and use a free uptime monitor such as Pingdom.com or UptimeRobot.com to alert you when your site goes down.
Questions? Ask us in the comments area below!