Do you believe your accounts are secure now that you have solid credentials and two-factor verification set up? Reconsider your position. There’s still a lot to be done.
You may believe that your bank account and Social Security numbers are the most private information you have. Hackers may now do significantly more damage with far less effort by simply obtaining your mobile number. Unlike your SSN, though, you’re considerably less likely to maintain your mobile phone number hidden – else, no one will be able to contact you!
Whether from Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, or Sprint, any cell phone number can focus on cybercriminals. And wreaking havoc on your online life takes surprisingly minimal effort.
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Why is it essential to protect your phone number?
A single point of failure is your cell phone number.
Consider that for a moment. You frequently utilize your cell phone number. It is what you use to join up for services and sites, and it is also what you need to login into apps and games on your mobile. If you forget your passcode, you can use your mobile number to reset your accounts. You also use it for two-factor verification to log into your accounts safely.
If anybody steals your mobile number for all purposes and intents, they become you. A hacker can use your cell number to begin hacking your accounts one by one by sending a credential to reset to your phone. When you phone customer service, they can fool automated tools, such as your banks, into believing they are you. Furthermore, they can exploit your hacked phone number to access your business documents and email, putting your organization at risk of data breaches.
Consider all the websites and services that have your mobile number. That is why you must protect your mobile number.
What techniques do hackers use to steal cell phone numbers?
It is not as challenging as you may believe. Because of the numerous data breaches, Hackers can obtain phone numbers almost anywhere.
Hackers frequently obtain their target’s cell number circulating the internet (or on a cellphone bill in the trash) and contact their carrier pretending to be the client. They request the customer support professional to “port out” the cell number to a different provider or SIM card after answering a few simple questions — sometimes just where a user lives or their date of birth.
That is all there is to it. The cell number activates on a hacker’s SIM card as soon as the “port out” is complete, and the attacker can receive and send messages and make phone calls as if they were the person they just attacked.
In most situations, the only indication is if the victim’s phone service unexpectedly cut off for no apparent cause.
Then it’s just a matter of resetting passwords on accounts linked with that cellphone number. Twitter, Gmail, Facebook, and other services are available. An attacker may use your stolen cellphone number to acquire all of your cryptocurrency, take control of your fake Instagram identity, or wipe all of your data deliberately.
You can read about what happened to John Biggs of TechCrunch after his cellphone number got hacked.
In the worst-case scenarios, recovering your cellphone number — leave alone accounts that got hacked — might be impossible or difficult. Your best option is to prevent it from occurring in the first instance.
What can you do to keep your cellphone number safe?
You can add security code to your mobile phone account in the same way you can use two-factor verification to your online accounts.
You have the choice of calling customer care or doing it online. (Many people find it more reassuring to phone and speak with someone.) You can, for example, request that customer support install a supplementary password on your account so that only you – the account owner — can make modifications to it or port out your phone number.
Secondary security passwords are handled differently by each carrier. Your passphrase, passcode, or password may be limited, but seek to make it longer than four to six numbers. Also, be careful to save a copy of the code!
We suggest that you set up a secure PIN with your cellphone provider. When porting your cellphone number, you’ll need this PIN. Traditionally, many cellphone providers used the last four digits of your SSN as a PIN, making port out frauds much simpler to perpetrate.
The following are the four major carriers:
AT&T: Make sure you have created an online “wireless password” or PIN. This password isn’t the same as the passcode you use to log into your online account, and it has to be four to eight digits long. You could also wish to activate “additional security” on your computer, which will demand your wifi password in more scenarios.
Sprint: On the My Sprint website, enter your PIN. This PIN will be required, along with your account number, to verify your identity when porting your cellphone number. It’s not the same as the passcode for an online user profile.
T-Mobile: Call T-Mobile and request “Port Validation” added to your service. This password is a new six to fifteen digit passcode that you must enter when porting your phone number. We’re not sure why, but T-Mobile won’t let you do it online and instead requires you to phone.
Verizon: Create a four-digit PIN for your profile. You can update your password online, via the My Verizon application, or by phoning customer care if you have not previously done so. You must also make sure your My Verizon online account has a secure credential, as you will use this online account to migrate your cellphone number.
Efani further secures these four carriers by preventing the SIM swap and other mobile security threats. Secure your phone number today to live a stress-free life.