Millions falling victim to cell phone hacking

Millions of people are falling victim to cell phone hacking, resulting in account fraud takeover. (WGME)

PORTLAND (WGME) -- Millions of people are falling victim to cell phone hacking, resulting in account fraud takeover.

The mobile devices connect us to the cyber world, but in the real world, hackers have found a way into your phone. It’s something cyber experts are calling account fraud takeover.

Robert Siciliano is a cyber security expert with Hotspot Shield, a company that provides security for your mobile and technological devices.

"The speed of technology is outpacing security,” Siciliano said. “Whether you're 8 or 80 your just as susceptible.”

Siciliano says in his line of work he's been seeing an increase in hackers prying on people using free Wi-Fi on their smart phones.

Because the free Wi-Fi doesn't encrypt your data, hackers can use a scanning tool to duplicate a person’s device by cloning their IME number, that's also known as the serial number.

"Essentially they can see all of the websites you've visited, the usernames and passwords along with your email and once they do that they own you," Siciliano said.

In order to prevent account fraud takeover, Siciliano advises downloading a virtual private network, known as a VPN. The application secures your data, essentially blocking hackers.

There's several apps that can be downloaded for a small fee, and there's even a few free trials.

"And then updating all your apps and software to its latest version because older versions may have security vulnerabilities,” Siciliano said.

Siciliano also recommends never staying logged into a website for too long, and never duplicating your password for important accounts in case one gets hacked, and he advises parents, if one person is hacked, others can be too.

"In New England we have a lot of college kids and they're doing so much more on the internet that ultimately gets them in trouble and their families in trouble because they're exposing family data as well," Siciliano said.

There's also extra precautions like checking your phone bill frequently to look for suspicious activity and avoid clicking links that don't seem legitimate.

"There's no such thing as 100 percent security and when it comes to technology that is the truest thing ever," Siciliano said.

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