Are you a frequent smartphone user and own a Samsung Galaxy device? Exercise caution, as there have been recent reports of peculiar hacking incidents. Some users have noted unauthorized access to their phones, while others reported instances of photo deletion.
Additionally, some users have experienced the deletion of their phone’s passcodes and fingerprints. If you find yourself in a similar situation, read on for more information.
“I gazed at my phone in utter disbelief. The screen mocked me with a disheartening message: “Incorrect PIN.” I was certain about my PIN, which I had committed to memory and never changed. In a desperate attempt, I even resorted to using the fingerprint sensor, but to no avail” says Ankita, a regular Samsung Galaxy phone user who was locked out of her phone today morning.
“The question stayed: How could someone alter my phone’s PIN without my knowledge? My phone housed lots of personal information, including messages and photos, making it important that unauthorized access be prevented. As a sense of urgency prevailed, I went online and checked social media,” said Ankita.
“As I scoured online forums for guidance, a shiver ran down my spine. Reports of similar incidents began surfacing, suggesting a burgeoning cyber threat. It appeared that a new breed of hackers was infiltrating phones, manipulating PINs, and depriving users of access to their own devices,” she added.
Government issues warning
Meanwhile, India’s CERT-In department, responsible for addressing cybersecurity issues, issued a high-risk warning to notify Samsung Galaxy phone users about potential security threats to their data. The advisory emphasizes the urgency of updating the operating system (OS) and firmware to minimize these risks.
Several vulnerabilities have been identified in Samsung Mobile Android versions 11, 12, 13, and 14. One notable vulnerability allows attackers to exploit the system, potentially leading to information theft, code execution, and device compromise.
CERT-In explicitly mentioned that users who neglect to update their devices expose themselves to increased hacking threats. While Samsung has released patches to address these vulnerabilities, it is crucial for users, like Ankita and others who encountered issues, to prioritize updating their phone to protect their devices from potential data breaches.
For the unversed, cyberattack refers to attempts to steal, expose, alter, disable or destroy information through unauthorized access to computer systems, cellphones, laptops, and tabs.
Aside from keeping your phone’s operating system up to date, there are several other precautions you can take to enhance your device’s security. Additionally, if you suspect your phone has been hacked, here are some steps you can take to address the situation:
Precautions to enhance phone security
1. Use Strong Passwords/PINs:- Set strong, unique passwords or PINs for your device lock screen and any sensitive apps.
2. Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA):- Enable 2FA for your accounts whenever possible, adding an extra layer of security.
3. App Permissions:- Regularly review and manage app permissions. Only grant necessary permissions to apps.
4. Install Apps from Trusted Sources:- Download and install apps only from official app stores to reduce the risk of malware.
5. Regularly Update Apps:- Keep all installed apps up to date to patch potential security vulnerabilities.
6. Secure Wi-Fi Connections:- Use secure and password-protected Wi-Fi networks. Avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi for sensitive activities.
7. Avoid Clicking on Suspicious Links:- Be cautious of phishing attempts. Avoid clicking on suspicious links in emails or messages.
8. Regularly Back Up Data:- Back up your device regularly to ensure you can recover important data if needed.
9. Device Encryption:- Enable device encryption to protect your data in case your phone is lost or stolen.
10. Install Security Apps:- Consider installing reputable antivirus or security apps for an additional layer of protection.
What to do if your phone is hacked
1. Disconnect from the Internet:- If you suspect your phone is hacked, disconnect it from the internet (Wi-Fi and mobile data) to prevent further unauthorized access.
2. Change Passwords:- Change passwords for your email, social media, and other critical accounts immediately.
3. Run a Security Scan:- Use a reputable antivirus or security app to scan your device for malware.
4. Remove Suspicious Apps:- Uninstall any unfamiliar or suspicious-looking apps from your device.
5. Check and Update Security Settings:- Review and update security settings on your accounts and devices.
6. Update Operating System:- Ensure your device’s operating system is up to date to patch any known vulnerabilities.
7. Contact Service Provider:- If necessary, contact your mobile service provider to report the incident and seek assistance.
8. Consider a Factory Reset:- If the issue persists, consider performing a factory reset on your device. Note that this will erase all data, so ensure you have a backup.
9. Monitor Accounts:- Keep a close eye on your accounts for any suspicious activities and report them promptly.
10. Seek Professional Help:- If you’re unsure or unable to resolve the issue on your own, seek assistance from a professional or your device’s customer support.
Users of Apple and Samsung devices have received warnings from the Indian government’s emergency response team about potential security vulnerabilities. Hackers may exploit these vulnerabilities to access sensitive information, induce denial of service, bypass authentication, gain elevated privileges, and even launch cyber attacks on targeted systems. It is surprising to learn that, despite the strong brand reputation of Apple and Samsung, their smartphones are susceptible to cyber threats. Therefore, users must exercise caution and take measures to protect their devices from these potential threats.
The decision not to update the OS automatically is often based on a balance between user control, device limitations, network conditions, and ensuring a positive user experience. Manufacturers aim to strike a balance that considers these factors while encouraging users to keep their devices up to date for security and performance reasons.
Credit: India Times