Jeff Bezos iPhone Hack: How to Protect Your Phone From Hackers
Two UN experts call for an investigation by the United States into information it received suggesting Amazon founder Jeff Bezos opened a video message containing malware on the FacebookMessenger belonging to WhatsApp which appeared to be from the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed ben salmanpersonal account of in 2018.
Check Point, a software company, has conducted extensive research on WhatsApp since 2018 and exposed vulnerabilities in the app that have led to scams like this one involving Bezos, as well as updates to the application that corrected these vulnerabilities.
“Instant messaging and social media – as we have seen over the past three years – these are the top targets today from a phishing attack perspective, ”Oded Vanunu, head of product vulnerability research, told FOX Business. Check Point. “We’re talking about billions of people using them. applications; [they] are used on all types of devices around the world. “
“These applications have become like doors bad actors“, He said, adding that there is” a large public market for weapons with cyber-offensive vulnerabilities. There are big offensive companies all over the world paying money for these kinds of vulnerabilities. “
The bad actors in this situation gained access to Bezos’ phone using a method called “phishing”. Phishing is a popular hacking technique that trick people into opening links and sharing personal information to give hackers access to devices.
According to a 2019 report by phishing protection company Retruster, 60% of Americans say they or a close family member has been the victim of a phishing attack. Additionally, there was a 200% increase in social media phishing attacks in 2018, according to Phishlabs.
“Consumers need to recognize that the very value proposition that makes WhatsApp attractive – privacy and messaging secrecy – is what makes it an extremely desirable target for bad guys and bad people,” Richard Bird, Chief Information Officer client at software company Ping Identity, told FOX Business. “Secrets are too valuable an asset for bad actors not to at least try.”
So if the founder of Amazon may fall victim to a phone hack through social media, how can ordinary people prevent bad actors from gaining access to their phones and personal information? Here are a few tips.
Keep your apps up to date
“The first thing is to always make sure your apps are up to date,” Vanunu said. “Suppliers are always posting updates. Along with the updates, there is also security back. Its very important.”
Phone, computer and tablet systems should also be updated regularly.
Beware of potential phishing messages
If the Bezos hack story has taught the public anything, it’s that people should be careful when opening emails and messages – especially on social media apps – that contain links, videos and other content that requires the user to click or open a new tab on a device.
Users should also pay attention to senders of general emails and messages and consider whether certain names and addresses are familiar or unrecognizable.
“You can’t tell people not to open the videos and messages that are part of the app,” Vanunu said. “But they need to keep in mind that when they receive messages from people they don’t know or from groups they don’t trust, they need to think twice.”
Bird explained that even on an encrypted device or app, bad actors can still access sensitive information.
“Secrets are very difficult to keep,” he said. “Either someone wants them and hunts them, or we personally slip away and disclose them. Even with encryption, a secret is still too tempting to target for someone. WhatsApp is a good encrypted chat platform, but it does. does not change anything about the human desire to discover a secret. “
Beware of suspicious calls and texts
Robotic calls and fraudulent text messages have unfortunately become the new normal in recent years. Most of these calls and texts are used to scam people into giving out personal information.
Do not answer calls from unrecognizable numbers that sound strangely familiar to your own phone number or that originate from the same area code. Voicemail is always an option for callers who are not scammers. Do not respond or click on links in text messages that say you are the victim of a hack attempt or that you are some kind of lucky winner.
Clear your cache
It’s a phrase you can hear at work. “Clear your cache” means periodically deleting browsing history, cookies, and other information that a device has been trained to immediately recognize when a user opens a particular application or website. This will minimize a user’s “virtual footprint” or the amount of data visible to potential hackers.
Download a security application
There are phone security apps for Android and Apple smartphones that many people ignore, according to Vanunu.
“There are security products on the market today that you can use that very few people know and use,” he said.
However, it is crucial that users do their research before downloading and signing up for an app, as the apps themselves can have vulnerabilities that allow bad actors to access personal information.
“Consumers need to ask themselves an important question for every app they use,” Bird said. “Do I trust the solution more than myself when it comes to my safety?” »Don’t assume that an application’s standard security settings are” safe “; had automatic downloads been disabled in this case, it looks like this hack could have been avoided. “
Understanding the threat
Sometimes nothing will prevent a malicious actor from accessing sensitive information on a device or through an app.
“There is a large public market for weapons with cyber-offensive vulnerabilities. There are big offensive companies around the world that are paying [millions] for these kinds of vulnerabilities, ”Vanunu explained.
“The reality is that these types of vulnerabilities that target Whatsapp and other apps are sophisticated. It’s not fair to say that you can prevent them. Usually, it is very difficult to prevent them. They are transparent. is why they are worth avoiding… a lot of money in the market, ”he said.