What to do when a thief hacks your phone and takes out a mobile loan

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Hooded hacker using cell phone with icon diagram presents hacking in cyberspace. [Courtesy]

When Edgar Otieno was contacted by mobile service provider Safaricom informing him that he could not access Fuliza because he had an outstanding debt, he was stunned.

Otieno was struggling and things weren’t going well financially at the time. He needed a quick stop.

He decided to take out a small Fuliza loan to pay his bills, but was unable to access his Fuliza limit. Surprisingly, Otieno had never taken out a Fuliza loan a day in his life.

“I was called and told I had a Fuliza limit. I tried to check my Mpesa but it was unreachable. I was not able to complete the transaction, ”he said.

He immediately knew something was wrong and contacted his service provider to find out. Otieno would later find out that he had lost a total sum of Sh2,000 from his account.

“I was asked to visit Safaricom, which I did and they did a swim swap. I finally took back control of my phone and my money and changed my PIN, “he continued.

If he hadn’t checked his phone when he did, Otieno would have suffered more damage and suffered well-orchestrated mobile money theft, like thousands of other Kenyans.

This is the reality of many cell phone users, who fall victim to theft, hackers and SIM swap fraud, where the culprit uses social engineering tools to extract critical personally identifiable information from a victim. .

What to do when your phone is hacked

The standard interviewed Odor Chumba, a system security analyst at the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) who advised on what to do in the event of a hack.

“When you find yourself hacked and money is taken from your devices, the first thing you need to do is turn off your internet connection, as most accounts are hacked online,” Chumba said.

Chumba noted that at least 80% of hackers are able to access devices online.

The security expert also advised to separate the SIM card from the handset, [the sim card will connect the hacker to your mobile banking system.]

He also advised phone users to immediately report the incident to the nearest police station.

“I would advise anyone who has been hacked to perform the following operations with caution so as not to interfere with the raw data… Report it to the nearest police station and make sure the following details are put in order; any new or recent installation on your device, all sites visited, all calls received and itemize your subscriber number, ”said Chumba.

Carlcare Services, a global brand providing services for communications equipment, computing and consumer electronics, also advises that when unusual and suspicious activity is noticed on their devices, they should consider changing the words from switch from their phone and enable 2-factor authentication on the devices.

Users are also advised to reset their phone if they feel they are compromised.

How to avoid being hacked

Security expert Chumba says most people are hacked more than once, but there are ways to avoid it.

He strongly advised against using public Wi-Fi as it contributes to many cases of hacking.

“Most people use public Wi-Fi to access critical systems within their banking applications. You leave a lot of details, including your cell phone number … you don’t know who’s in the back, ”Chumba noted.

Other ways include;

1. Avoid apps that require permission before installation.

2. Use an application lock. These are applications capable of locking down critical systems on your phone. “What it does is give you a second and a third level of control. These are available online and are provided by various cell phone manufacturers.

3. Check the app ratings before installation.

4. Make sure your device is running an updated software / Android version. This has well known vulnerabilities that have been identified.

5. Before downloading an app, make sure you have reviewed the number of downloads. Anything less than 50,000 downloads cannot be approved. [‘Not to say it is bad, but it could be dangerous, Chumba explained”]

The security expert also advised to only download genuine apps.

The standard contacted mobile service provider Safaricom, with millions of users for comment, but declined saying, “It’s a criminal issue and not really in our lane, so our advice to customers is to report first to the police”.

However, in its data policy, Safaricom recommends that, in order to avoid sim-swap fraud, “make sure your SIM card has an active SIM lock, use strong passwords and keep personal information. outside of social networks “.

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