The iPhone has a vulnerability called the Signaling System 7 (SS7) that allows crooks to hack into the device.
This was demonstrated on a recent “60 Minutes” episode in which a U.S. congressman (with his permission) had his iPhone hacked by German cybersecurity experts. The white-hat hackers got his phone number and eavesdropped on the conversation.
Penetration of the flawed SS7 makes it possible to listen in on conversations, intercept texts and track the victim’s movements. The congressman subsequently called for an investigation into the vulnerability.
The vulnerability was initially unearthed in 2014 at a German hacking conference. This SS7 flaw is not just a U.S. phone carrier problem, either. Mobile device carriers around the world are affected by this as well. A global attack on this vulnerability is very much warranted.
The criminals who carry out these attacks have a strong preference for targets who are not the regular Joe or Jane, but people of political significance or who represent major organizations.
So regardless of how “important” you are, what can you do?
- Your mobile device should be fully equipped with security software.
- Make sure that this software is always updated. Do not ignore update alerts.
- You should not rely on just a single layer of security, no matter how strong.
- Also keep in mind that skilled hackers can figure out ways to circumvent a layer of security. The more layers that your iPhone has, the less likely a crook will be able to penetrate it.
- Load up on the layers of protection, which include a passcode and biometrics such as a fingerprint scanner. Go for depth.
Robert Siciliano CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com, personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen. See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video.