Intercepting data from your cell phone can be done as easily as getting you to log into a “Free Wifi” network.  As soon as you sign in to a network, any data that you send through the connection can be captured and used.  When you sign into a new network on your laptop, Windows automatically asks some security questions about how trusted the connection is and what type of information you want to allow the network to see.  Your phone doesn’t ask such questions.  It lets you dive right in to start checking your Instagram and bank accounts.

“It is easier to fool someone than to convince them that they have been fooled.”

Losing Your Phone Poses the Biggest Risk

The greatest risk from having and using a cell phone is to lose the actual phone itself.  You carry an extremely powerful computer in your pocket which stores a lot of your data.  A savvy hacker could bypass security features on your phone and get to all that juicy data stored in the phone… passwords, account numbers, family photos, voicemails, emails.

What can they do with all the data?  The obvious crime would be to simply use your data to buy some stuff online.  All they have to do is use a proxy computer location so it can’t be traced back to the real location and then ship products to an Amazon locker using your account and your identity that was saved into your phone.  The more sinister and sophisticated identity thieves will create social media accounts on your behalf and take money from your relatives claiming that you need it for a medical emergency for your newborn baby.

What Can You Do?

Should you stop using your cell phone to check your emails and Twitter account?  Don’t make your life miserable if social media is your connection to the world.  You may just need to be more careful about the wireless networks you are logging into and be extra careful of where you put your phone.  Treat it like the valuable data storing machine that it is.  If you realize all the information that could be found out about you from cracking your phone’s data files open, maybe you will make it more of a priority to not leave it on that restaurant table  when you go to the bathroom or not leave it sitting in your passenger seat with the doors unlocked when you run into the liquor store to get your Twix bar.

Use all the security features on your phone that you can.  It may not completely protect your phone from hackers, but, if there’s a chance that it could delay a hacker for a few minutes, you need that chance to give you time to change some passwords and call your banks.

Keep your old phone as a back-up phone.  It would be good to have a back-up phone to activate just in case your current phone gets lost temporarily.  If you need to cancel some accounts and change passwords, keep a back-up phone to do it if you don’t want to pay $1000 for a brand new phone immediately.