It’s a Hostage Situation- Are You the Next Target?

Hackers Are Taking iPhones Hostage

Your Apple iPhone is at risk of becoming a hostage. It could happen anytime, anywhere. This money-making scam has gone global.

Here’s how it works. You decide to use your phone, but there’s a text message waiting for you. It says your phone has been hacked, and in order to regain access, you need to send money. An amount is given, and directions on how to send the money to the hackers.

Sure enough, you can’t do anything else with your phone except view the cryptic text message sent from hackers hoping to make a buck off your inconvenience.

At this time, no one is certain how the hackers are gaining access to iPhones. It appears they’re using the “Find my Phone” feature that Apple makes available to iPhone owners. This feature can help you locate a lost phone by giving you the GPS coordinates. It can even make your phone give an audible alert so that you can find it if it’s lost in your own house or car.

How the hackers are gaining access to this feature is unclear.

What is certain is that you can take steps to protect yourself— and your iPhone— from falling prey to this scam.

Two Things You Can Do
To Protect Your Phone From Hackers

The first step to protecting your phone is to make sure you have a passcode. That means when you “wake up” your phone, you must first enter a four-digit passcode in order to use it.

If you don’t have a passcode for your iPhone, it’s easy to establish one. Enter the “Settings” area of the phone, and look for “Passcode.” The exact location of this setting varies based on your phone’s software and which version of the iPhone you have. Once you find it, touch it, and you’ll be prompted to set a passcode for your phone.

The second step to securing your iPhone is to set up a two-step verification process for your Apple ID. You use your Apple ID when logging into iCloud and when ordering apps for your phone.

When you set up a two-step process, a security code will be texted to your phone each time you use your Apple ID. You’ll need the security code to complete the log-in. Hackers trying to use iCloud to hack your phone won’t be able to, because they can’t get this access code, since it is only accessible through the phone itself, which you’ll have in your possesion.

Setting Up Your Two-Step Verification

To activate two-step verification for your Apple ID, go to appleid.apple.com, and click on the “Manage your Apple ID” button.

Choose “Password and Security.” That will open a page where “Two-Step Verification” is one of your options. Select it and then follow the step-by-step instructions.

For more help, you can visit Apple’s support page.

More Uses for Security Codes

Using two-step verification for your Apple ID is a good idea and can save you from the headache of having your phone taken hostage.

But your Apple ID is just the beginning. You can actually set up two-step verification for a number of online accounts and greatly increase your security.

For example, Google already uses two-step verification when you change login details for any of your Google accounts.

Many banks offer two-step verification as well. With two-step verification in place, when you attempt to log in to your bank account online, the bank will text a unique code to your cell phone. You then have to enter the code into a field before you can complete the log in. This makes it impossible for anyone to hack your account using only your user name and password, and will tip you off if anyone else tries.

Two-step verification may not protect you against more sophisticated forms of hacking, but it certainly offers an extra layer of protection against run-of-the-mill hackers. It’s a little more inconvenient on your end, but that bit of inconvenience can go a long way when it comes to protecting your accounts.

To find out if your bank offers two-step verification, check their website or call one of their customer service representatives. If your bank does not provide two-step verification as an option, consider switching to one that does.

In this day and age of routine privacy violations and rampant identity theft, you can’t be too careful. Two-step verification is a good start to making yourself more secure online.

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