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Signing Agent Tip: Signs Your Mobile Device Has Been Hacked

Signing Agent Tip Signs Your Mobile Device Has Been Hacked Main

Updated 7-19-22. Mobile devices are indispensable tools for Notary Signing Agents, but they also come with significant risks. And because you handle sensitive consumer information as part of your business, the risks to you are real.

News stories about major hacks illustrate the fact that cyber threats are constant and any device could be compromised. The threats to mobile devices are similar to those you face when working on a computer — including phishing attacks, hacking via public Wi-Fi hotspots, Trojan horses, viruses and malware.

If your mobile device is compromised, it can have devastating effects on your business. Luckily, there are several tell-tale signs to let you know.

Signs That A Mobile Device Is Compromised

Strange behavior. If you’ve had your Apple or Android device for a while, you know how it’s supposed to behave. But if your device is acting in an unusual way, it could mean that there has been a security breach. Some strange behaviors that could mean you’ve been hacked include:

  • Running slower than usual,
  • Feeling warmer than it normally would when you use it, and
  • Turning on and off by itself.

Unauthorized charges. After someone has gotten into your mobile device, you may find that there are new charges on your credit cards, or new accounts opened in your name. In some cases, you may have an unusually high phone bill if a sophisticated hacker got into your phone and used it to make calls.

Shut out. If you can’t log into different accounts, such as your email or bank account, it could be a sign that someone has gotten into your phone and changed your passwords. In extreme cases, a hacker will take control over the mobile device itself and lock you out completely.

How To Verify Security Breaches

When it comes to security, it’s better to be safe than sorry. According to Richard G. Lowe Jr., author of Safe Computing Is Like Safe Sex, if you have noticed some possible signs of a breach, it’s best to assume there was one.

“You can’t go wrong assuming your mobile device has been compromised and act more cautiously,” he advised. “If your phone has been compromised, that potentially means a hacker can see what you’re doing through your webcam, as well as what you type, your passwords, and everything else. Compromise is bad, so you should assume the worst.”

The first thing to do if you suspect your tablet or cell phone has been hacked is to run an anti-virus program, just as you would with a computer. Another way to check is by looking through your browser history for sites you don’t recognize.

“The biggest tell-tale sign is to go into the history and see if there are some weird sites that you’ve never been to,” said Joe Silverman, CEO of New York Computer Help.  “The hacker usually will use a site to connect to that will essentially be a portal for them — and they’ll use that portal to infect the phone.”

If you have proof that your device has been hacked, or even if you just suspect it, your best course of action is to reinstall its operating system to get rid of any malicious programs.  And once you’ve done that, be sure to use this fresh start as an opportunity to incorporate data safety into your everyday routine.

As an NSA, if one of your devices is hacked, report it immediately to your clients. Lenders and title companies view prompt reports of breaches favorably because it allows them to quickly take steps to safeguard their customers.

Kenya McCullum is a freelance writer from San Francisco.

Additional Resources:

Notary Signing Agent Self-Assessment

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Patricia Ann Hebron

29 May 2017


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