how to protect yourself from crime that invades the cell phone

Have you ever imagined having someone control your cell phone from a distance, doing whatever you want? It sounds hopeless, but that’s how the new ghost hand scam, or remote access scam, works. And in many cases, the victims only realize when they have already suffered.

According to data from dfndr security, antivirus application that protects against financial scams, until May, more than 3.6 million blocks were reported due to attempted fraud on electronic devices, an increase of almost 50% compared to last year.

The ghost hand strike is among them. The crime works as follows: you receive a message saying you need to perform an update and click on the link received. From then on, the criminal accesses his data remotely and, at that moment, it is possible to notice the movement being carried out on the screen, as if it were a phantom hand.

The way people receive these links can vary, usually by SMS, WhatsApp or email. But there’s always a bit of social engineering, where the scammer impersonates someone they know or a bank employee, reporting a suspicious transaction that requires a security update.

Precisely because it creates such a difficult situation to identify at first, social engineering is often efficient. With messages, creation of coherent contexts, fake links and suspicious links, the criminals convince the victim to take the necessary actions.

How to avoid falling for this scam

There are some simple tips to prevent scammers from hacking your phone through the ghost hand scam. Between them:

  • Do not click on suspicious links: it is always better to enter official websites and browse there. Also, it is worth checking if the domain of the link is the same as the official page of the site;
  • Do not write down passwords on your cell phone: do not save the codes in files and folders, as they can be accessed by intruders. Gabardo says that memorizing passwords is boring, but the hassle of changing a password when you forget it is better than the headache of having it in the wrong hands;
  • Vary passwords between different apps: if you fall into a blow, the effect will be less severe;
  • Update your apps: updates must come from official sources, but they are the ones who ensure that apps are protected against security gaps;
  • Install apps from official sources only: operating system manufacturers have a rigorous process for verifying, approving and publishing applications in official stores. Frauds come from links and other apps;
  • Use two-factor authentication: set up two-step authentication on top apps, especially those involving money. When adding one more step, at the time of access, you need to enter the password and then confirm it via email or SMS;
  • Always suspect: even if the link comes from the bank or a friend, call them, look for explanations. And keep an eye out for articles like this one, which keep you updated on the “coup of the hour”.

What should I do if I fall for the scam

If you still fall for the scam, as soon as you realize that something is happening on your cell phone, such as apps opening by themselves, Disconnect the internet and turn off the device.

This first step may delay the scammers’ movement, but it is not yet the final solution.

The next step is run an antivirus to clear everything. Here, it is important to reinforce that the program is downloaded from the official app store. Don’t look for dubious or pirated options!

If you still don’t feel safe, reset phone to factory defaults🇧🇷

Once these emergency measures have been taken, it is important open an Occurrence Bulletin (BO) and, if applicable, contact a lawyer for detailed guidance on how to proceed.

*With information from the PagSeguro website

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