COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH) - Take a second to think about all the things you do with your smartphone every day.
If you're like many people, the list is pretty long. Now, think about something else.
How often do you think about security when you're using that phone? And how easy would it be for someone to hack that phone?
Those are two good questions.
"Any technology device is hackable," says Stephen Miano, a tech consultant from That Computer Store in Irmo.
Miano wants you to think about a few things, too. For instance, the things your smartphone can track.
When you're walking, when you're running, where you're going and where you shop, to name a few.
Pretty scary thought, right?
"Knowing that these devices have all this information about us. That can be misused," said Miano. "A lot of people fall victim to apps that promise to do one thing, but in actuality are doing other things."
Very often, Miano says we are the ones who are actually hackable.
A simple trip to the app store is what can do you in.
"You assume that 'Hey, I'm getting this app from the app store it must be safe.' But, there are literally millions upon millions of apps and nobody can curate, nobody that can check every one of these apps to make sure they're legitimate" said Miano. "An ounce of paranoia is worth it. Assume the app you're downloading isn't wholly legitimate."
Download something that isn't legit and you might be installing something that's running programs on your phone you can't even see.
A hacker can use your phone as a tool to generate traffic for a website, among other things.
The bottom line is that can kill your battery, suck up your data, and essentially ruin your phone.
Identity theft isn't necessarily the motive. Miano says that generally happens through a credit card skimmer and other methods.
The motive for most when it comes to gaining control of your phone, he says, is making money.
Miano offers a few tips before downloading an app:
- Do your research. What do you actually know about the app you're considering?
- See what the app is asking for and think about why it might want to access to your GPS location, your microphone or camera on your phone.
- Turn off Bluetooth and GPS if you don't need it.
Those steps aren't foolproof, but, they can help.
"As people use these devices, we have to be the ones that are hard to hack. Not the devices," said Miano.