Here's how to keep your phone from getting hacked like Jeff Bezos, according to a cybersecurity expert

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Here's how to keep your phone from getting hacked like Jeff Bezos, according to a cybersecurity expert
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff BezosBCCL

  • On International Data Privacy Day, Business Insider India spoke to Check Point Software about the best practices to keep your phone from getting hacked.
  • Oded Vanunu, head of products vulnerability research at Check Point, points out that a sudden battery drain is one way to tell if you’re device has been breached.
  • Vanunu also points out that it’s currently a race between the forces of good and bad to stay ahead of each other when it comes to cybersecurity.
Winning against hackers isn’t going to happen overnight. They prey on habits and routines to exploit vulnerabilities — something as simple as clicking on a malicious video link that’s been shared over WhatsApp, like with Jeff Bezos and his iPhone X.

Uninstalling WhatsApp or never clicking on video link again isn’t a solution. However, Oded Vanunu from Check Point Software — known for finding vulnerabilities in WhatsApp and TikTok — believes there’s still a lot that you can do to keep yourself from getting hacked.

On International Data Privacy Day, the purpose is to raise awareness, promote privacy and data protection best practices.
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Aside from the basics — like ensuring your device is updated — it’s important to make sure that you have security software in place.

Security software can be found in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. They work to protect the data on your device against malware and phishing attempts. While there are paid and free options, it’s not necessarily that only paid versions are efficient.

"All vendors are working to be more secure in all their services, the question is if they are doing it enough. Hackers will keep on searching for bugs and we will keep on finding them and hopefully be ahead of them," explained Vanunu.
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How do I know if I’ve been hacked?
Despite all your best efforts, it’s still possible that hackers can gain access to your device. As per the forensic analysis of Jeff Bezos phone, there was a surge in data transfer right after he clicked on a malicious link allegedly shared by the Saudi Crown Prince — Mohammed bin Salman.

"If you don’t have security on your mobile it is almost impossible to sense this. However sometimes a quick loss of battery is an indication that the mobile is being used by crypto mining - a popular malware used to mine cryptocurrency," explained Vanunu.

Pegasus, the security software likely used to hack into Jeff Bezos’ phone, was allegedly also used to track Jamal Khashoggi before he was killed. The Mexican government argues that it’s a force for good that’s been used to crack down on drug cartels.
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In the long run, it’s a war between the forces of good and bad. As cybersecurity gets more complex, so do the threats posed by cybercriminals. Using artificial intelligence (AI), for instance, can empower pattern recognition — it can be used to identify threats, but also exploit vulnerabilities.

"We should all assume that whatever habits or practices we adopt- hackers will look for ways to exploit them. That’s why it’s a prolonged race," explained Vanunu. When it comes to platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram or TikTok — they’re trying their best to keep up. However, new threats keep popping up.

"Security is a top priority for them but the fact is that we keep finding bugs and problems. As long as we are the ones finding them — the cybersecurity or defence industry — this is a positive scenario as we keep them secured. But if bad actors of cyber offence players find them — this means they’ll be exploited and breached," Vanunu said.
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At the end of the day, make sure your device is protected and maintain a healthy suspicion of links.

See also:
Jeff Bezos phone hack shows hackers are winning in the 'arms race' between governments and tech firms according to a cybersecurity expert

Jeff Bezos’ intimate messages, data from drug cartels, Jamal Kashoggi — the many things Pegasus is suspected of hacking before WhatsApp
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