How to Avoid Hacking Scams in 2023

new 2023 scams

Prevent Android Phishing Scam

For most of us, a smartphone isn’t just a phone; it’s our digital life, a piece of us that would probably mess us up if we lost control of it. That’s why the Mali GPU Driver going unfixed for months after its creators patched Arm’s system, could’ve spelled murder for millions of Android users exposed to the exploits.

Unfortunately, a report published by Google’s Project Zero team only served to highlight the “patch gap”, in which firmware security updates take months to reach infected devices.

Original Equipment Maker (OEM) partners need time to test their fixes, then implement them into tester devices, after all. Usually, these protections only make it to user devices when it’s too late.

Even just two of the five vulnerabilities discovered are enough to cause chaos, with CVE-2O22-33917 allowing unauthorized users to gain access to memory storage. CVE-2022-36449, on the other hand, causes issues that allow the hacker to write beyond buffer bounds, and disclose details of memory mappings.

Both of these can seriously ruin your digital life by hijacking your smartphone, maybe even holding your data for ransom.

There’s nothing users can do to mitigate these flaws, apart from waiting for the vendor to provide the right patches – but you can prevent all this, by taking the following steps.

Install Apps from known sources

Before downloading a new app, be sure that you know where it came from. If you can’t find reputable information about the company which produced the app – and in the case of phishing – if the app’s download page seems out of the ordinary, chances are the app is unsafe.

Avoid downloading apps from third-party app stores and instead install apps from the Google Play Store. You can even auto-update apps to the latest version. This makes it easier to keep your apps up to date, and it also cuts down on the chance that you’ll install an older version of a specific app.

Always encrypt your storage

Encrypting your storage is one of the most important ways to keep your Android device safe even if it is compromised. While you could go through the trouble of creating a new password for each account, including your phone, the encryption of your data is what makes it so difficult to steal.

Most modern Android devices come with built-in support for encryption, but even if it doesn’t, you can still encrypt your data.

There are a variety of ways to do this, but the easiest method is to use a third-party app. Some of these apps cost money, but most don’t. There are plenty of free apps that provide encryption.

It’s also recommended to make sure your device is always locked, using a password or PIN. Avoid using pattern or voice recognition, because those can be hacked.

Do not click on links in suspicious emails

Now this one is obvious, but it’s also one of the best and easiest ways to protect your Android from being compromised.

You’ve probably received a few of them before, strange emails and even in-browser redirects to download apps that claim to help your phone in some way, though you’ve never seen them before.

All you have to do is don’t click on the link, and exit the page. There are hundreds of thousands of phishing campaigns going on at any given time, and thousands of phishing emails every day, and many of them are disguised as messages from trustworthy companies.

You might even be able to find some phishing emails by searching your inbox for a variety of keywords. Do your best to avoid these, as your email will usually filter them out of your reach as spam. However, if you noticed that you’re receiving an endless stream of them, chances are your email has been sold and compromised.

Backup files often

Last but not least is to keep your data regularly backed up. Whether you use cloud storage or a third-party backup application, it’s critical to back up your data.

Backups can be used to restore your phone to a previous state, or they can be used to save data in the event of ransomware or hijacking.

Make sure you have your data updated regularly, too, as your phone could still be compromised at any time. Trojans, viruses, and all the malware of a hacker’s arsenal could easily destroy your system along with everything on it.

While the device can be easily replaced, the content stored on it is years upon years of invaluable information that could be gone in an instant.

At the moment, ARM, the semiconductor and software designer behind the Mali GPU, has implemented a fix for the damage done to Android gadgets infected before the patch. However, it has yet to reach OEM partners and is being currently tested for Android and Pixel devices.

Your smartphone is an incredible piece of technology, but it can’t help you if it’s been compromised as many Android devices have thanks to the Mali exploit. That’s why it’s so important to keep your phone as safe as possible. Follow these few tips, and you’ll be well on your way to keeping your Android device safe from hackers.