Once our phones and PCs became connected, our digital lives became much more productive and accessible. They also became more dangerous since cybercriminals could now do double damage to your devices. Luckily, this guide will teach you how to stop hackers from accessing your phone.
Remote access is a wildly helpful feature that can make your life easier. Tap or click here to set up remote access between your phone and computer. But it also comes with a few big cybersecurity risks, since hackers can remotely take over your phone if you aren’t careful.
Let’s handle your security settings and prevent these scary scenarios from happening. Here’s everything you need to know to protect your phone from hackers.
Enable 2FA (two-factor authentication)
Two-factor authentication is your best first defense against unwanted users gaining access to your phone. This also prevents information theft if your phone is lost or stolen. Follow these steps to stop hackers from accessing your phone.
On your Google account
- On your PC, go to your Google account page and select the Security tab on the left side of the screen.
- Locate 2 Step Verification in the center of the page and click where it says Off.
- Tap the blue Get Started button on the 2-Step Verification screen.
- Make sure you’re on a secure connection, then sign in to your Google account and continue.
- Enter your phone number and click Next at the bottom of the page.
- Your phone will either go to a verification screen on its own, or you’ll receive a text message from Google with a security code. Enter your code or confirm your device to continue.
- Finally, the last prompt is to simply tap the big blue Turn On button for 2FA. Then you’re done.
On your iPhone/iPad
- Go to Settings on your iPhone or iPad.
- Tap [your name] then Password & Security.
- Tap Turn on Two-Factor Authentication, then Continue.
- Apple will prompt you to enter the phone number you want to receive verification codes.
- You will receive a text or automated call with a verification code. Enter it to verify your number and account.
You may have to enter your Apple ID security questions when you go through this menu.
Disconnect unrecognized devices from your account to stop hackers from accessing your phone
When you leave old devices connected to your Google or iCloud account, 2FA can become a liability. Multiple devices have access to your account details and if in the wrong hands, they can be weaponized to hijack your account.
Many of us replace our phones every few years and never go back to wipe the older device. Sometimes hackers can access your account through older devices (it’s rare, but it can happen).
On your Google account
- On your PC, go to your Google account page and find the Security tab on the left side of the screen.
- Scroll down to the Your Devices section and select Manage All Devices.
- You’ll see all the devices currently tied to your Google account.
- If you don’t recognize a device or know it’s an old, outdated phone you no longer use, click on it.
- Click Sign out to remove access to your Google Account from the device.
- You can also click Don’t Recognize This Device?, then click Sign out on device. In this case, you’ll be prompted to change your password as an extra security measure.
On your iCloud account
- Go to the iCloud website and sign in to your account.
- You may be prompted to enter a verification code sent to your iPhone.
- Under your account details, click Find My Phone.
- Click on All Devices at the top of the screen to see a list of devices connected to your iCloud account.
- Then, click on the device you want to remove.
- Click Remove From Account and follow the prompt to verify your decision.
Fix your password and make it unique
Common passwords are child names, important dates and other memorable events. People who aren’t even close to you can figure these out, thanks to the trove of publicly available information anyone can access online. Tap or click here for detailed steps for removing yourself from people search sites.
If you want to stop hackers from accessing your phone, you should create strong and unique passwords for all of your accounts.
Use these best practices and change your passwords and make your life more secure:
- Write down a nonsensical password that consists of different numbers, letters and cases. Spend one minute each day trying to remember it. Once you memorize it, use it as a password. Be sure to keep your note somewhere safe in case you forget.
- Add symbols to your passwords. You might have noticed many sites now require a special character when you make a password. Adding exclamation points and symbols and the pound symbol greatly improve your password security.
- Create one long password with small modifiers thrown in. If you can remember a 12-character password, you can add modifiers to the end, so you have different passwords for every account you use. You never want to use the same password for multiple accounts.
- You can simplify this process with a password manager. Tap or click here to see how these useful tools work.
Secure all your accounts and devices to stop hackers from accessing your phone
Cyberattacks are on the rise, and the more we rely on our devices for work, school and our personal lives, the more we have to lose. There’s much to preserve and protect, whether it’s bank accounts, personal data, photos or conversations. That’s why Kim recommends our sponsor, TotalAV.
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Did you like learning how to stop hackers from accessing your phone? Get more security tips
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