Ask Andy: Cyber bandits on your cell phone - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Ask Andy: Cyber bandits on your cell phone

Andy reveals the scams cyber bandits pull when they burrow into your cell phone. Andy reveals the scams cyber bandits pull when they burrow into your cell phone.

(WMC-TV) - They are smarter than your smart phone.

It's your smart phone that's in their sights.

They're cyber bandits, and they're launching a new line of scams right through your cell phones.

Robert Siciliano, chief executive officer of, told Bottom Line Secrets magazine that these are the emerging cell-phone scams of cyber bandits:

* SMARTPHONE TRACKING. Cyber bandits can hack your device's GPS application and track every place you go. Siciliano said police in New Hampshire recently arrested three burglars who stole more than $100,000 from the homes of 50 people while they were away from home.

The burglars knew when they weren't home because they were tracking their every movement through their hacked cell phones.  

SOLUTION:  Don't post your location on Facebook or Twitter. Turn off notification services on your social networks, and don't accept "push notification" requests from sources you cannot verify.

* ACCOUNT THEFT THROUGH UNPROTECTED WI-FI. If you're using your iPad to do your online banking at a Starbucks or some other place that offers free Wi-Fi, you're basically posting your account on a bulletin board.

SOLUTION:  Password-protect your phone. Only conduct your online banking on secure wireless or land line systems.

* CELL PHONE EAVESDROPPING. This starts with an unsolicited text made to look like it came from your bank or another reputable source. It says there's a problem with your account, and you must click a link to take care of it. Don't click the link. You'll download software that lets the bandit listen to every call, read every text message and look at every picture.

SOLUTION:  Never click on links from sources you can't verify. Understand that your bank, government agencies and private companies will never contact you by text or e-mail, unless you have initiated the contact and specified those as your preferred methods of communication.

* CAMERA VIRUSES. You connect your cell phone or digital camera to a computer at the library, Internet café or hotel to upload some pictures. The cyber bandit's loaded a virus on that computer to launch on your camera. Now your phone's infected and so is any other computer you connect to your cell phone or digital camera. All information on them is up for grabs.

SOLUTION:  Never attach your smart phone or digital camera to a public computer. Run an antivirus scan the first time you connect a new digital camera or smart phone to your home computer. Run a scan, too, when you connect a friend's device to your computer.

* COPIER COPYING. You just copied your tax return at the local copy shop or maybe on the copier at work. Those copiers have digital memories that store your tax return. Anyone who can access those copiers can print your personal information.

SOLUTION:  If you have to make a copy of personal information at one of those locations, leave sensitive data like your Social Security number or credit card number blank until after you make the copy, then fill it in. Do not sell a copier or printer that has stored your documents. Check the owner's manual for how to erase that information.

* GPS DETOURS.  You connect your GPS device to your computer to download a software update you found online. It turns out that "update" was designed by a cyber bandit to track your movements.

SOLUTION:  Download GPS updates only from the web sites of either the company that sold your device or the manufacturer who built it.

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