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Smartphone Security | Crime

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Smartphone Security

Computer expert Addison Osterhout with "Computer Answers" in Albany showed us how easy it is to hack a smart phone.

“The simplest is using a free program that you can download,” Says Osterhout. “Get some tutorials on line and in about 10 minutes you can do it.”

Sure enough in ten minutes Addison was monitoring everything the photographer was doing: if he had been logging onto his bank's website, he would have gotten his passwords, account number, you name it.

It’s called a "Man in the Middle" intercept.

It can happen if you use an unsecured Wi-Fi connection like those found in airports, bus stations and internet cafes.

The thief’s software pretends to be the router you're trying to connect to, he decrypts your data, copies it, re-encrypts it and then sends it on to your bank.

While you were taking care of business, but so was the crook.

“There are some warning signs right away,” Addisen warns. “If you notice someone trying to hack into your account, or intercept your data you'll be presented with a ‘Certificate Warning’ and that's a huge red flag. You want to stop immediately and back right out and don't go any further.”

Theresa Pettrone says she downloaded her bank's mobile app as soon as she got her smart phone. She's security conscious. She doesn't use Wi-Fi, only 3G.

“It's very secure,” Pettrone says. “It's just as secure as going on your computer.”

“We're constantly evaluating what are the risks out there, and how do we mitigate them,” Rob Roemer Vice President of Information Systems with Capital Communications Federal Credit Union says.  

They have about 15,000 mobile app users and that number is growing.

Roemer predicts that in the very near future there will be more mobile app users than walk-in customers.

He also knows that thieves will continue to come up with ways to take your money.

They used to use "phishing": email disguised as official mail to get your info.

Now with smart phones there’s "smishing": a combination of "simple message texting" and "phishing."

“So the difference is, instead of getting an email,” says Roemer. “You're getting a text message that's giving you a link to try to get you to download something malicious.”

“The biggest security risk to smart phones is simply loosing it,” Addisen tells us. “If you don't have a password  or pin number on the phone and you loose it, they have access to every bit of info on that phone.”


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