Released in December 2022, the Freeform app has been rolled out across the latest versions of iOS, iPadOS and macOS.
Can someone see you through your phone camera?
As mentioned before, it is definitely possible for someone to watch you through the camera on your cell phone. If someone has had access to your phone for even a short amount of time, like five to ten minutes, they could have spyware installed.
This software can access various features on your phone, such as the camera, GPS, text messages, and contact list. Additionally, some information can be accessed remotely, even if the phone is in your possession. For example, deleted text messages can be accessed remotely, but not through the phone itself.
Ten tips to prevent your phone from being hacked
While there are several ways a hacker can get into your phone and steal personal and critical information, here are a few tips to keep that from happening :
- Use comprehensive security software on your phone. Over the years, we’ve gotten into the good habit of using this on our computers and laptops. Our phones? Not so much. Installing security software on your smartphone gives you a first line of defense against attacks, plus several of the additional security features mentioned below.
- Update your phone and its apps. Aside from installing security software, keeping current with updates is a primary way to keep you and your phone safe. Updates can fix vulnerabilities that cybercriminals rely on to pull off their malware-based attacks. Additionally, those updates can help keep your phone and apps running smoothly while also introducing new, helpful features.
- Stay safer on the go with a VPN. One way that crooks can hack their way into your phone is via public Wi-Fi, such as at airports, hotels, and even libraries. These networks are public, meaning that your activities are exposed to others on the network—your banking, your password usage, all of it. One way to make a public network private is with a VPN, which can keep you and all you do protected from others on that Wi-Fi hotspot.
- Use a password manager. Strong, unique passwords offer another primary line of defense. Yet with all the accounts we have floating around, juggling dozens of strong and unique passwords can feel like a task—thus the temptation to use (and re-use) simpler passwords. Hackers love this because one password can be the key to several accounts. Instead, try a password manager that can create those passwords for you and safely store them as well. Comprehensive security software will include one.
- Avoid public charging stations. Charging up at a public station seems so simple and safe. However, some hackers have been known to “juice jack” by installing malware into the charging station. While you “juice up,” they “jack” your passwords and personal info. So what to do about power on the road? You can look into a portable power pack that you can charge up ahead of time or run on AA batteries. They’re pretty inexpensive and easy to track down.
- Keep your eyes on your phone. Preventing the actual theft of your phone is important too, as some hacks happen simply because a phone falls into the wrong hands. This is a good case for password or PIN protecting your phone, as well as turning on device tracking so that you can locate your phone or even wipe it remotely if you need to. Apple provides iOS users with a step-by-step guide for remotely wiping devices, and Google offers up a guide for Android users as well.
- Encrypt your phone. Encrypting your cell phone can save you from being hacked and can protect your calls, messages, and critical information. To check if your iPhone is encrypted you can go into Touch ID & Passcode, scroll to the bottom, and see if data protection is enabled (typically this is automatic if you have a passcode enabled). Android users have automatic encryption depending on the type of phone.
- Lock your SIM card. Just as you can lock your phone, you can also lock the SIM card that is used to identify you, the owner, and to connect you to your cellular network. By locking it, keeps your phone from being used on any other network than yours. If you own an iPhone, you can lock it by following these simple directions. For other platforms, check out the manufacturer’s website.
- Turn off your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when not in use. Think of it as closing an otherwise open door. There are several attacks that a dedicated and well-equipped hacker can make on devices where Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are open and discoverable. Likewise, while not a hack, some retailers will track your location in a store using Bluetooth technology for marketing purposes—so switching it off can protect your privacy in some situations as well. You can easily turn off both from your settings and many phones let you do it from a pulldown menu on your home screen as well.
- Steer clear of third-party app stores. Google Play and Apple’s App Store have measures in place to review and vet apps to help ensure that they are safe and secure. Third-party sites may not have that process in place. In fact, some third-party sites may intentionally host malicious apps as part of a broader scam. Granted, cybercriminals have found ways to work around Google and Apple’s review process, yet the chances of downloading a safe app from them are far greater than anywhere else. Furthermore, both Google and Apple are quick to remove malicious apps once discovered, making their stores that much safer.
Why would someone hack your baby monitor?
There are typically 3 categories of people who would hack a baby monitor:
- Voyeurs: some hackers just want to peer into families’ lives as if it was a reality show.
- Pranksters: they’ll use the talk-back option in your baby monitor to wake up your baby in the middle of the night.
- Criminals: either to check when you’re not home or to try to steal personal information that was heard over the monitor’s microphone.
What Should I Do?
Make sure you are using the latest version of your browser. Most browsers offer pop-up blocking, so be sure you have it turned on in your browser’s settings.
There are also browser extensions that offer pop-up blocking. Be aware, however, that blocking pop-ups may cause some sites to not operate properly. Also, make sure you have antivirus and anti-malware installed on your computer. Scan for malware or viruses, as these can cause pop-ups.