How to protect your mobile device when accessing public Wi-Fi

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  • Posted by: Abelemkpe

How to protect your mobile device when accessing public Wi-Fi. Do you know that accessing free public Wi-Fi without using security measures can expose your mobile device or data information to hackers? There are a lot of dangers associated with free Wi-Fi. Below are some of the dangers of accessing free public Wi-Fi without security measures:

The Dangers of Free Public Wi-Fi Networks

Using public Wi-Fi comes with a lot of dangers. Below are some of the dangers of accessing free public Wi-Fi without security measures:

Unencrypted Wi-Fi: If you connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot without a password, anyone can intercept your unencrypted traffic.

Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) Attacks: A hacker can intercept your internet traffic to insert malicious code or redirect your traffic.

Snooping and sniffing: Cybercriminals can buy special software kits and even devices to help assist them with eavesdropping on Wi-Fi signals. This technique can allow attackers to access everything that you are doing online.

Malicious hotspots: These “rogue access points” trick victims into connecting to what they think is a legitimate network.

How to stay safe on public Wi-Fi

The best way to know your information is safe while using public Wi-Fi is to use a virtual private network (VPN); however, if you must use public Wi-Fi, follow these tips to protect your information.


  • Allow your Wi-Fi to auto-connect to networks
  • Log into any account via an app that contains sensitive information. Go to the website instead and verify they are using HTTPS before logging in
  • Leave your Wi-Fi or Bluetooth on if you are not using them
  • Access websites that hold your sensitive information, such as financial or healthcare accounts
  • Log onto a network that isn’t password-protected


  • Disable file sharing
  • Only visit sites using HTTPS
  • Log out of accounts when done using them
  • Use a VPN to make sure your public Wi-Fi connections are kept private.

What to do when a device is lost or stolen

If you accidentally lost your phone or someone stole it, then this article will show you what to do to get your phone back or prevent someone from accessing your information on the phone.

  1. Call or text your phone to see if someone answers. In some cases, a good person may have your phone and happily return it as soon as you call or text.
  • Locate your phone using the “Find my device” function. Both Apple and Android phones have features that can help you locate a missing phone. If using a different device (such as an iPad or laptop), use the Find My Device (Android)Find My (iOS), or Samsung Find My Mobile feature to locate your phone.
  • Put your device into “Lock mode.” Using the “Find My” feature, you can also mark your device as “lost.” This will lock your device and set a custom message on the screen displaying your contact details. 

How to remotely lock your phone

Ideally, your phone will be secured by a unique passcode (i.e., not your birthday) and biometric security such as fingerprint ID or facial recognition. But even with these security measures in place, scammers can access your device. Locking your phone will prevent anyone from using it without your account ID and password. This is the first thing you need to do to protect yourself against identity theft and fraud. 

How to remotely lock your iPhone:

Apple lets you lock your iPhone remotely so that people cannot access your personal information.

Using a different device (such as an iPad, Mac desktop, or laptop), log into your iCloud account using your Apple ID and then enable the Find My iPhone feature. This will automatically turn on Apple’s Activation Lock feature and stop scammers from accessing your phone. 

You can also turn on “Lost Mode” to track your phone’s location and display a custom message on your screen (with your contact details). 

How to remotely lock your Android phone:

To lock your Android device, use a different device to log into your Google account and enable the Find My Device feature. Once logged in, select “Secure Device” and then set a new lock screen password. 

You can even remotely erase your device from the “Find My Device” screen. However, you should wait to follow some of the next steps before erasing all of your device’s data.

Note: You need to have enabled the “Find My” feature before losing your phone in order for this to work. 

How To Secure Your New Phone from Criminals

After dealing with the fallout from a stolen phone, the last thing you want is to put yourself at risk again. Here’s how to secure your new phone against scammers and hackers:

  • Set your phone to “auto lock” immediately, and enable biometric ID or a strong passcode. This can potentially stop scammers from accessing your information if they steal your phone. 
  • Write down your phone’s serial number and IMEI number, and store them in a secure place. This information is essential when filing a police report for a stolen phone. 
  • Activate the “Find my device” feature right away so that you can locate and erase your phone if it gets lost or stolen. 
  • Lock your SIM card with a PIN so that thieves can’t use it with another phone. Contact your carrier and ask them for a SIM lock. 
  • Add a trusted backup phone number to your account. Make sure this is a number you’ll have access to if your phone is stolen. 
  • Don’t store passwords in Google Chrome or Safari. Instead, use a secure password manager (like the one offered by Aura) to keep your passwords safe on your phone.
  • Use an authenticator app for 2FA instead of SMS. This stops scammers from bypassing your 2FA codes if they steal your phone. 
  • Back up your phone regularly so that you always have access to your contacts and information. If you have to erase your phone because it was stolen, you don’t want to lose everything that was on it. 
  • Keep your phone in a secure place at all times. Avoid keeping it in a back pocket or in your bag — where a pickpocket or criminal could snag it.

How To Know if Your Phone Is Hacked

Hackers, scammers, and criminals know that your phone is a goldmine of personal data that offers access to your most sensitive accounts.

Phone hackers create fake or malicious apps, and use fake installers, dangerous links, and lookalike app stores to try and get you to download malware that gives them access to your phone — and everything on it.

So how can you now that your mobile device is hacked? Here are some signs that shows hacked mobile device.

  • Your phone’s battery loses charge faster than usual. Reduced battery life is one of the first signs that your phone has been hacked. Malicious apps that run in the background will drain your battery more quickly than usual.
  • Your bill shows higher than expected data usage. Hacked devices will often use more data than you typically use. If you start to get warnings from your phone carrier about high data usage, or if you receive a larger bill than expected, check your device settings to see which apps are using up your data.
  • Your device is acting strangely and working slowly. Poor performance, unusual activity, and device crashes are all signs of a compromised phone (for example, apps take a long time to load or switch).
  • An abnormally hot phone. Malware will use up or strain your phone’s resources. If your phone is warm or even hot to the touch, this could be a sign that it’s been hacked.
  • You’re seeing new apps on your phone. Be especially aware of unrecognized or suspicious apps on your home screen. Some malicious apps will install new apps, with the hacker hoping that you don’t care or notice.
  • You constantly have to quit or close specific apps. If an app opens without your clicking on it, it may be part of a hacking attack. Also beware if your mobile browser keeps opening tabs or websites on its own.
  • You receive strange notifications and pop-ups. Phone updates can sometimes alert you of hacking. For example, some malicious apps automatically copy data to your clipboard. But a recent iOS update will alert you if an app is “looking at” clipboard data [*]. Don’t ignore these messages.
  • You’re locked out of your Apple ID or Google account. Hackers will often quickly change your passwords and lock you out of critical accounts. If you can’t access your Apple or Google account, this is a major red flag that your phone has been hacked.
  • You can’t log into your online accounts. Hackers use a compromised phone to gain access to your other accounts (known as Account Takeover Fraud). If your passwords aren’t working for your email, social media, or other accounts, it could be a sign that your phone was hacked.
  • You receive 2FA codes you didn’t request. If you start to receive two-factor authentication codes on your phone or in your email, it could be a sign that a hacker has your password and is trying to log into one of your accounts. Don’t enter the code, and change the account password immediately.  
  • Your camera or microphone indicator light turns on. Stalking and monitoring apps will use your microphone or camera in the background. If your indicator lights or icons randomly turn on, this could be a sign of a hacked phone.
  • You find strange photos and videos in your gallery. If hackers hack your phone, they may use it to spy on you or take photos and videos without your knowledge. If you keep finding strange photos and videos in your gallery (or in a cloud backup service like iCloud or Google Photos), it could mean your phone’s camera has been hacked.
  • Your phone number and other information was leaked in a data breach. While not exactly a sign that your phone is hacked, if your personal information is on the Dark Web, it means you could be an easy target for hackers.

How To Remove a Hacker From Your Phone

If you think your device is hacked, start by taking a few of these steps to neutralize your attacker and limit further damage:

  • Delete any unrecognized or resource-draining apps
  • Clear your browsing history, cache, and downloads.
  • Download security software and run an antivirus scan to isolate malware.
  • Remove unrecognized devices from your Apple ID or Google Account.
  • Reset your phone to its factory settings (or to a pre-infected backup).
  • Update your operating system and software.
  • Change your passwords and enable 2FA.
  • Contact your bank and any businesses that may have been impacted.
  • Sign up for credit monitoring and identity theft protection.
  • Consider locking your credit.

What Can Someone Do If They Hack Your Phone?

Hackers know that your phone is a single access point for your most important data and accounts. When bad actors hack your phone, they can commit all sorts of scams, including:

  • Device takeovers
  • Data leaks and exposure
  • Accessing sensitive photos for extortion
  • Spying and stalking
  • Breaking into your workplace
  • Identity theft and financial fraud

What Are Social Media Scams?

Social media scams are a type of fraud that is committed on social networking sites. Scammers often create fake profiles, befriend innocent people, and send spam messages or links that lead to malicious websites. 

Ways that scammers can use social media to target you:

  • Sending you malicious links that infect your devices with malware.
  • Running online dating scams and coercing you into sending money or signing up for fake investment platforms.
  • Posting ads to fake stores that steal your personal information or money.
  • Using social engineering tactics to trick you into giving scammers access to your social media accounts or sending them money and cryptocurrency.
  • Using surveys and quizzes to gather sensitive information that they can use to steal your identity. 
  • Impersonating brands, celebrities, and people you know — and tricking you into giving them money or personal information. 

How to quickly identify a scammer on social media

  • Their messages include a lot of grammar and spelling errors.
  • It’s a brand-new social media profile with little content or few friends.
  • The profile belongs to someone with whom you thought you were already friends.
  • You receive a random message with a link in it. Never click on links or engage with unsolicited direct messages (DMs).
  • You’re asked to send money online (via gift cards, wire transfers, payment apps, etc.) or invest in cryptocurrency. 
  • Posts or ads promoting a deal that seems too good to be true.
  • You’re sent to an online store that depicts signs of a scam.
  • The person insists on taking the conversation off social media and asks you to text them.

Social Media Scams to look out for in 2023

  • Investment and cryptocurrency scams.
  • Romance scams.
  • Social media account takeover fraud.
  • Authentication code scams.
  • Social media ads promoting fake online stores.
  • Impersonator accounts.
  • “Is this you in this photo/video?”, other link scams.
  • Social media quizzes.
  • Lottery, sweepstakes, and giveaway scams.
  • Job scams on social media.

Romance Scams

Millions of people use online dating apps or social networking sites to meet someone. But instead of finding romance, many find a scammer trying to trick them into sending money.

Romance scammers create fake profiles on dating sites and apps or contact you through popular social media sites like Instagram or Facebook. The scammers strike up a relationship with you to build up trust, sometimes talking or chatting several times a day. Then, they make up a story and ask for money.

Warning signs: Lies romance scammers tell

  • They’re far, far away.
  • Their profile seems too good to be true.
  • The relationship moves fast, but they break promises to visit.
  • They claim they need money.
  • And they ask for specific payment methods.

Tips to help you avoid romance scammers and protect yourself.

  1. Be aware of the warning signs

Simply knowing how a romance scammer operates can help you identify and avoid one. Remember some of the red flags and lies online romance scammers tell:         

  • They’re far, far away.
  • Their profile seems too good to be true.
  • The relationship moves fast.
  • They break promises to visit.
  • They claim they need money.
  • They ask for specific payment methods.
  • Set up a phone or video chat early
  • Approach online relationships slowly
  • Do your own snooping, like a reverse image


Here’s the bottom line: Never send money or gifts to a sweetheart you haven’t met in person.


How to prevent yourself from getting infected

Many online users are still being confronted with similar messages to the above thanks to a type of malware called ransomware. The scam works by using malware to disable the victims’ computers until they pay a ransom to restore access.

Tips on how to prevent infections by ransomware:

  • Have up-to-date security software installed.
  • Make sure all the software on your system is up-to-date.
  • Make sure you are leveraging the full set of protection features delivered in your security product.
  • Train the team and limit User Access Privileges
  • Install Antivirus Software & Firewalls
Author: Abelemkpe

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