In this sequel to our report about the new craze for phone hacking by jealous lovers, who keep tabs on their partners in Nigeria, published on June 6, 2015, experts give opinions on a number of symptoms one should look out for in detecting whether one’s phone has been compromised
The capabilities of Nigerians are growing in terms of technology and skills and along with these is the ability to wreak havoc, experts have said.
According to the President, Information Technology Systems and Security, Mr. Rogba Adeoye, despite the good that comes with any e-process, it comes with a cost.
“Everything is transferred through the airspace, whether it is phone or email. All of us are in danger because we use this technology. If you know how to code, you can break into anybody’s phone. It is like locking your room and keeping the phone in your pocket, a burglar who wants to steal something can find a way in. It means anybody is prone to hacking,” Adeoye said.
He explained that the technology of the phone is such that it is routed through a server with the service provider. Each of the telecommunication companies in Nigeria controls these servers.
“For anyone to be able to hack into your phone, they must be able to obtain your root number with your service provider,” he said.
Head of Operations, GMT Nigeria, Mr. Lawore Olorunfemi, who is an ethical hacker, said to confirm if one’s phone has been hacked or not, the first point of call should be one’s outgoing email.
He said, “Check your outgoing mails to see if any mail has been sent, which you knew nothing about. That would show that probably a spyware has been installed and is sending everything you do on your phone to a particular email address. There is also the need to check the settings of your mail server to see if anything is different.
“Another thing to do is to check if there is any application that has been installed on your phone that you did not put there. Uninstall such application immediately.
“If your phone is suddenly using huge internet bandwidth that you cannot explain, then know that there is an unsolicited activity going on in the phone. If your data finishes on time and your network provider says it is from your phone, then it may have been hacked. The first thing to do is to go to your application managers and start uninstalling applications that you did not put there.”
Other experts have also suggested that when one’s phone battery drains inexplicably or one’s device starts acting strangely, these may be symptoms that it may have been hacked.
Suggesting more ways of avoiding susceptibility to hacking, Olorunfemi said phone users need to install a remote wipe application on their mobile phones.
He said there are more dangerous hackers that one should be more wary of than jealous lovers.
The hacker said, “For those who use the BlackBerry, you can simply log on to your BlackBerry user account online and wipe your phone as an emergency strategy if it is stolen.
“Do not download applications from websites that are not on the official BlackBerry or android stores. Some of them are meant to hack into one’s phone.
“Blogspots and pornographic websites have a high tendency of putting spyware on user’s phones. Sometimes you open a page and it would want to install something on your device or system. What you do in such a case is to stop such thing from download immediately. Most of them are spyware.”
“Then, think twice before opening links online because it might be a link to spyware that would automatically be installed on your device. All the links that are sent to you via email have the potential of compromising the security of your device. Hackers prey on the inquisitiveness of people. Most of the things advertised on social media are also very risky sources of spyware.”
He also suggested that one could also encrypt one’s phone and also download a genuine file locker application.
“On the BlackBerry for instance, there is the encryption option. Use the file locker application to import applications like your mail, photographs, chat application and banking software, so that they can’t be accessed remotely. Most of these things are easy to do. Also lock your file explorer. Always lock your screen lock to minimal time,” Olorunfemi said.
In case one’s phone is confirmed to have been hacked, experts say the solution is to download a mobile security application that is genuine from big brand names such as Google, Play Store, Apple App Store, and the Amazon App Store, which will identify a malicious application and delete it.