BOSTON — A police warning after a spate of cellphone thefts in the city.
“It’s pretty scary. I especially don’t want anything to be stolen from me, especially as a youngster, they can do a lot to you,” said Masha Yakubovich, a student at Northeastern University.
She was unaware of the thefts and appreciates that Boston police issued a warning.
“I’m glad they released it, that’s definitely good to know,” Yakubovich said.
Boson 25 contacted security expert and CEO of ProtectNowLLC.com, Robert Siciliano. He says it’s nothing new, but in the digital age, our phones are becoming a treasure trove for thieves.
“If your phone isn’t password protected and your phone is stolen, the bad guys have access to everything,” Siciliano said. He and the police advise always using a PIN to access your phone.
And one victim responded to BPD’s Facebook post, saying, “This happened to me a few weeks ago in Boston. They stole $8,000, my SSN, and locked me out of iCloud forever… just by using my phone password.
Boston police warn of so-called “shoulder surfing.”
“It’s very easy for someone to come up behind you and use their phone and zoom in and record exactly what you’re doing over your shoulder,” Siciliano said.
He and the police are also warning people to always log out of apps, especially financial and banking apps.
“If your phone is stolen when you’re actually on it, that means it’s not locked and all of your apps are currently active and someone could access them,” Siciliano said.
As for banking apps, they should have what is called “two-factor authentication”.
“That means you log in with a username and password and you get a timed text message that’s basically that password,” Siciliano said.
And if your phone is stolen, it advises you to clean it from another device. Police say you can enable “lost mode” to remotely erase all data from the device.
Boston police add two more important tips in case your phone is stolen:
- Make sure your phone is backed up to the cloud so you can recover data
- If your phone is stolen, immediately change the passwords connected to this stolen device
And finally, Siciliano says to always be aware of your surroundings — he calls it situational awareness.
“It doesn’t matter where you are. No matter what you’re doing, know what’s going on behind, in front, left and right and make sure no one is paying you unwanted attention,” Siciliano said.
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