Hackers seem to be getting better and better these days. As technology grows, malware and viruses remain a threat. Your cell phone isn’t even safe from those who would break in to steal information and other data. Now, they’ve learned to hack into SIM cards, where anything from your contacts to your pictures and videos can be stored. However, there are a few ways you can defend yourself from malicious hackers and programs.
Many of us don’t like having to use a password to access our own phone, but doing so can keep your phone safe if it ends up with someone else. For instance, make up a strong pin code only you would know or, if using an unlock pattern, make it as intricate as possible. You can also avoid risks via Wi-Fi by staying on secure networks and not connecting to a network that you don’t recognize. However, all of these just protect your phone and do very little to protect your card. So how do you protect your SIM card, and why is it important to do so?
What Risks Are Involved with an Unsecured SIM Card?
Think of your SIM like the gateway to your phone. It is what connects you to your network, and if the SIM becomes corrupted or compromised, your phone also becomes open to threats. You may be thinking, well aren’t SIMs protected via data encryption? True, they are. But hackers are getting better—someone invented a hidden SMS system that can send you a text that you won’t see, and once it’s in your phone, the hacker has remote access to all of your data.
Worst of all, your SIM can be cloned and then someone out there has all of the data that was saved to your card. In the past year, this issue has been in the news whenever a celebrity’s phone gets infiltrated and sensitive pictures are stolen. But what about the average guy with a phone? You may not have delicate information on your phone, but you most likely have a data plan and a set amount of minutes every month. With a cloned SIM, someone can blast your use your data and rack up a bill or purchase apps, leaving you to pay the difference.
SIM Cards Carry a Lot of Information
Some people think their SIM just carries their contacts, and this can be true for some phones and particular cases. But SIMs can contain any of the following information:
- Your contacts
- Call history
- Text messages sent and received
- Data from all of your apps
- Your photos and videos captured, and sometimes even the location of their origin
All of this information can seriously jeopardize someone’s personal security if their SIM card was stolen or hacked, especially when it comes to all the web browsing and account syncing we have today. By getting access to your SIM, a hacker can go beyond your phone and into your emails and social media networks and do some serious damage. Worst yet, even if all of your information is deleted, it can be potentially recovered from a SIM, just like how data is never truly lost on a computer hard drive.
How to Protect Your SIM
So, this all probably sounds a bit frightening and it should be on some level. This cyber age of technology comes with as many cons as it does pros, and that’s why it’s good to be knowledgeable of what information you’re sharing, and how to protect it when you don’t want to share it. There is hope though, because even with all of this, SIM cards are considered the most secure technologies in our phones. They’re not impenetrable, but they take a lot of work to crack, and there are ways you can make it even more difficult:
- Set up a pin for accessing your phone. This is the first line of defense against people trying to break into your phone to obtain information. However, this won’t stop someone from taking a SIM out of a stolen phone. A pin for your SIM will usually consist of two pins for you to set up and enter correctly; There is also the PUK/PUC (PIN Unblocking Key/Code) that will disable a SIM if a pin is entered incorrectly (amount of incorrect tries varies).
- Use code words when discussing sensitive information with people over text or on the phone. If someone gets a hold of your messages, they will have to go through the trouble of cracking your code if they really want to know what you’re talking about.
- Give people in your contacts nicknames. This way, if your SIM card is stolen or your phone ends up in the wrong hands, it will be unclear as to who exactly is in your contact list.
- Use back-up SIM cards. It’s that simple. If for any reason you lose your SIM card, you can have a backup with all of your information on it. Coincidentally, if your SIM were to break, you have a back up to replace it.
- Use an app or other tools to encrypt yourweb browsing, SMS, voice calls, and if possible your synced accounts.
That’s a good look at the things you can do. Surely as the hackers continue to implement new ways to hack into a phone or SIM, others will find ways to increase security and stop that from happening. For now, you just need to have the knowledge at your disposal and take the first steps to protecting yourself and your data.