Online Sense is ICDL Arabia's philanthropic arm aimed at raising public awareness on Cyber Safety.

There is a lot of hacking going on nowadays, and everyone’s panicking. You can’t even trust professional companies like your phone providers to safeguard your private information anymore!

In this post, we’re going to show you how to become unhackable by buying a cheap phone.

(For more tips, check out our article on how to avoid getting your computer hacked.)

The Method

1. Get a (spare) cheap phone and a phone number that does not link to your name, and use that number as your 2-factor authentication number instead of your day-to-day phone number.
2. Never give out this phone number to anyone!

Why You Shouldn’t Rely on Your Main Phone

In short, hackers can still get access to your phone. If they know your phone number, they can spoof your phone number onto a blank SIM card, which is basically the same as having your phone.

Even if they don’t know your phone number, hackers can still contact your phone provider and trick them into sending out another copy of your SIM card to them.

That’s what happened to Ethan Klein from H3H3 Productions. Let’s take a step back and analyze why it happened to him.

Celebrities’ Phones Are Getting Hacked

Imagine this: if you’re a celebrity and a hacker knows your real name, he can call up your phone provider and try to pretend to be you. If he’s able to convince them that he is you, he can get them to send out your SIM card to him.

After he does this, he essentially has access to whatever phone number is linked to your name. And if the phone number linked to your name is the one you use for your two-factor authentication, then you’re going to get hacked. That’s where the problem lies: having your real name being linked to your two-factor authentication phone number. If he doesn’t know your name is pretty hard for him to pretend to be you.

How a Cheap Phone Could Save You from Getting Hacked

Phone providers don’t have the best security checks to keep you from getting hacked. It’s probably best not to give them your full trust, particularly with your two-factor authentication number.

Just get a spare phone. If you have one already, great! All you need is a new SIM card and use that SIM card purely for your two-factor authentication.

Make sure you never give this phone number out to anyone. Only YOU should know this phone number. And most importantly don’t have any link from that SIM card to your real name. Don’t text it to anyone, and only type it online when someone asks you to open your account.

Either get a ‘pay-as-you-go’ SIM from the shop, or get a really cheap SIM deal that isn’t linked to your name. Take out a ‘cheap SIM card only’ deal under a trusted friend or family member’s name who doesn’t share your last name.

Your main concern is a hacker knowing the name of the person linked to your two-factor phone number. So make sure it isn’t your wife and preferably someone female.

Why female? Because most hackers are male, and having a female as the account holder means the worker at your phone provider will expect to speak to a female.

This might be an extra hurdle when they try to call up the phone provider trying to get access to your SIM card.

Conclusion: Don’t Let Strangers Pretend to Be You

Again, if a hacker knows your name, he can call up your phone provider and convince them that he’s you. If he doesn’t even know your name, that’s really hard to do.

So if you’re worried about your phone getting hacked, get a spare cheap phone.