Hackers could be using your phone to commit crimes -- and you'd never know it

July 26, 2018 08:09 AM

A new study shows tens of millions of smartphones and tablets could be used to commit crimes and you might not even know it. Hackers are using bad bots to take over email accounts, send spam, gift card fraud and more.

A study conducted by IT company Distil Networks found that nearly 6 percent of all devices worldwide are infected with malicious software programs or bots. The bots are designed so you won't notice them.

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Bad bots allow hackers to commit crimes remotely using your data and your signal from your phone or tablet. If you notice an increase in spam messages, pop up messages, or your phone slowing down, you could be infected with a bad bot.

Researchers at Distil Networks looked at 100 million mobile devices on six major wireless networks, over a 45-day period to get the data. They estimate nearly 1 in every 17 phones will be infected. 

So how can you protect yourself?

Paul Robinson at Greycastle Security says you should be cautious when you click.

"We advise folks again to show good judgment when downloading applications, how much information you're giving these applications," Robinson says. "We see so many times applications that are asking for access to your contacts and photos and there's really no reason for them to have that."

Robinson recommends changing your password often to lock hackers out and he says you should always keep up with the latest security updates. You can also try an antivirus app for your phone, but you have to remember to actually run it periodically. 

"It is a dangerous environment to be in regardless of what you're doing, online presence does have vulnerabilities," Robinson says. "Treat the digital world like you do the physical world and just have the same vigilance and smarts as you navigate through that."


Kaci Jones

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