NBC26 Special Report: Cell Phone Security
Photo: Video by nbc26.com
CREATED May. 20, 2013
GREEN BAY, WI- You may not realize it, but that small device in your pocket could be giving out confidential information to unwanted guests.
Smartphones have changed the way we live, but while they gain popularity among consumers,
Hackers have taken notice and using them to potentially steal your information.
Thieves hack computers millions of times every month, which could include stealing identities, money, and any other confidential information. While smartphones are still not a top target, IT specialists say as phones get smarter so do hackers.
Most of us rely on our smartphones for banking, sending emails, or just surfing the web and of course, making phone calls and texting.
As anyone on the street will tell you....
"I use it all the time."
"Look at it over twenty times a day."
But using your cellphone for basically everything can have its disadvantages.
"You have that phone and it's unsecured, boom, very quickly you're in trouble," says IT Specialist Dave Kieper.
Thieves have started to target cellphones.
Hackers get into them more than 50 thousand times a day.
Banks keep account information confidential, but a lot of personal banking information can be stored on a smartphone.
"They're going to want the information where they can most easily get it."
Jon Biskner of Nicolet Bank in Green Bay says they have to constantly keep up with online technology.
"As you see the market develop, the mobile wallet has become kind of a buzz-word," says Biskner.
But mobile banking can be dangerous.
"Moving money from account to account, paying bills, those types of things."
That's why securing that information is important.
"This crime is so organized, it's all around the world, bigger than the drug trade is."
Dave Kieper is an IT specialist at UWGB. He says hackers have begun to make downloadable applications to attack consumers.
"If you somehow enable them to put a bad of malware, an app on to the phone, if they're able to get it installed, it can access that information and send it off."
Apps developed by thieves are not monitored by Apple or Google. If downloaded, they can access whatever information they want.
"You really have to be confident in where you're getting that app from," says Biskner.
But most people don't think to protect their phones.
"They don't tie them down with a password or they don't clear out their cookies as often or they don't put virus protection software on them."
Biskner says IT employees can only do so much in securing that information, the customer has to take some iniative.
"Play an active role in securing personal and private information."
But both Kieper and Biskner hope consumers keep up with security as technology advances.
IT specialists say if you encounter an app that asks for some kind of information on your phone, be very cautious, because you could be giving a hacker access to your information.