Using Your Smartphone as a Mobile Hotspot, is it Secure?
For anywhere between $5 to $20 per month, depending on the provider, you can turn any park, coffee shop, beach, or bar into your office. All you need is a laptop and a smartphone with a tethering option. While many of us may consider this accessibility utopian, it’s can also be a surprising recipe for identity theft.
The first doorway into your mobile device is from lack of security due to laziness, or unawareness.
A mobile hotspot can share the same vulnerabilities that exist when using public Wi-Fi when not secured properly. When tethering your computer to your phone, make sure you have configured your settings with security in mind:
- Use the WPA2 security option
- Create a strong password
- Select other safety features such as limiting the number of users who can access your hotspot and automatic shut off after a certain amount of time of inactivity
Another way into your data is through the apps you’ve installed on your phone. To protect yourself:
- Scan for known vulnerabilities in your device’s operating system code
- Insert malware into the app itself that will allow them access later
How to decrease your risk
Update your software
To prevent these issues from occurring, it’s important to always use the latest operating system software. The updates are almost always involving some sort of new coding that can prevent hacks.
>Download safe apps
Additionally, make sure to only purchase apps from the official app stores of Android and Apple. No app is 100% guaranteed safe. But apps you get from shared links or private websites are guaranteed security risks.
“Man in the middle” hacks
This is when you think you have connected to your mobile hotspot or a trusted Wi-Fi, but you’ve really connected to a hacker’s hotspot. Hackers can easily change hotspot names to mock common Wi-Fi names like “Free Starbucks Wi-Fi” or “Hotel Guest”. Change your mobile hotspot name to something unique to ensure you’re safe.
How serious is the hack?
A mobile hack can be just as severe as one on your desktop or laptop.
Your phone is not a second firewall to your computer data, it is another doorway to it. So if your laptop is tethered to your smartphone and it’s your smartphone Wi-Fi that gets hacked, your computer data—passwords, social security numbers, browser history—is all low hanging hacker fruit.
As we mentioned at the start of our deep dive into mobile hotspot hacking, prevention starts where passwords begin. Besides just having strong and random passwords, having ever-changing ones is even better. This goes for your smartphone and your computer. EZPD is a leader in password regeneration software, and your protection commences here.