Is your data package getting over way too fast? Can you spot data usage on your phone that you hardly remember using? Is the Application Manager on your phone cropping up with strange apps and services every now and then? If yes, then it might be a good idea to get your smartphone checked, for you might find that you are not the only person accessing your phone and all the personal data saved on it.
Speaking at the workshop on Cyber forensics and Information Centre at the Madras University, Saket Modi, ethical hacker and CEO of Lucideus, a cyber security solutions provider, demonstrated how within a matter of less than a minute, someone can access your smartphone and all the data in it — call log, web browsing history, contacts and sms — at the click of a button.
What’s more, the person who has hacked into your device can even hear all your phone conversation wherever in the world you are, and it wouldn’t help even if you change your sim card. “What is interesting is that you have given access to all these personal information already to WhatsApp while installing it in your phone,” says Saket. The data in turn can be accessed by anyone through internet bugs like Heartbleed, which can even access your bank accounts while making online transactions.
Speaking on the sidelines of the event, the young CEO points out that one can never be too careful with one’s cyber devices. Make sure that you never hand over your phone to anyone. Download apps only from authorised sources like Playstore, avoid logging into random websites without verifying them, switch off your Bluetooth and Wifi whenever not in use and go ‘incognito’ when you are browsing — these are some of the basic safety manthras that you won’t regret using, says Saket.
But can anything be completely foolproof in an age when hacking is sponsored by the government itself? “Hacking has moved on from being a hobby to a state-sponsored movement. Each government is looking at sneaking through the cyber security of the other. The main issue here is that if a person sitting in one country hacks into someone’s account in another country, then the laws in his country will not bear upon him. Multinational Companies are now hiring hackers in different countries to hack into accounts in each other countries,” he says.
Inspite of this, there are no full time courses even for the defense personnel on cyber attacks, in India. “All they get are a few workshops that are hardly enough to meet the demands,” he says.