Have you ever wondered if someone could hack your mobile phone just by dialling your number?

It is a scary thought... the idea that someone can listen in on your calls, read your text messages, capture photographs with your phone's camera or even hack the password to your bank account.

How do the Hacks Happen?

There are several ways hackers can attack your mobile device.

The most common of these is the man-in-the-middle assault, where the hacker breaks into the individual's operating system and redirects data to exploit the resources on it before forwarding it to the destination.

According to The New York Times, this method allows the hacker to spy on Internet browsing activity, steal keystrokes to identify passwords and isolate the individual's physical location, apart from listening to calls and intercepting texts.

A sophisticated hacker can also gain remote control of the phone's camera and record sensitive audio and video information without the owner's knowledge.

Fortunately, there are several ways to avoid such attacks and, in the process, protect the device from any damage.

Here are five ways to hack-proof your mobile phone...

Secure Sensitive Data

The rapid growth of technology means the thin line between smartphones and computers is fading away every day. Smartphones are now capable of performing tasks only a computer could do, even as recently as a few years ago. This makes them all the more susceptible to hacking. On the other hand, smartphones can now be loaded with anti-theft and anti-malware apps; these offer, at the least, a basic degree of protection to your mobile's operating system.

However, regardless of the level of security on the phone, avoid storing sensitive data, like passwords and authentication information, on the phone. To protect such information, consider installing data encryption or data locking software on memory cards and store personal data there.

Reinstall Mobile OS and Discard Affected SIM

A SIM card is used to digitally identify the mobile phone's user... both to the service provider and the hacker. It is therefore advisable, should there be the suspicion of a hack or if the phone is persistently slower than normal, to reinstall the operating system, with the help of an authorized service engineer.

Once that is done, replace the SIM card with a new one; it could take several months for the hacker to relocate the new signal.

Only Buy or Install Apps from First Party Vendors like Apple or Google

According to The New York Times, phones can also be hacked through embedded malware or malicious software concealed within an app. A third-party app from a non-secure site is likely to carry Trojans and backdoors and such malware might corrupt the operating system, while also stealing personal data.

Finally, be wary about suspicious permissions requested by apps... such as those to make phone calls, connect to the Internet or reveal personal information to third parties.

Set up Voice Mail Password and Limit Voice Mail Space

Ensure a voicemail password is set and remember to change it frequently. More importantly, remember a default password is easily accessible to the hacker.

A good password is generally one with a good mix of alphabets, numbers and special characters.

Finally, it is also advisable to limited dedicated voice mail space, to help contain potential damage in the event of a hack.

Close Wireless Mailbox and Redirect Callers to Other Numbers

It could also help if the wireless mailbox was closed and the phone set to redirect incoming calls to another number, preferably a landline, by the fourth or fifth ring.

This could fool the hacker, since he/she will be unaware of being redirected.

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