account, or gas account numbers. How many times do you go to check out at a store or go to sign up online for something…and you’re asked for your phone number? All the time right– Turns out – your ten digit number holds a lot of valuable personal information that you should protect. 27 First News Reporter Molly Reed investigated how hackers are taking advantage of our cell phone numbers. She joins us live in the studio. [G8]20170405 CELL PHONE NT-STUDIO Security experts are saying cell phone numbers are becoming of similar importance to our social security numbers Hackers can get INTO your cell phone just by knowing the number, then they can gain all the info you have stored in it. Cell phones are more than a piece of technology for most people… And a lot of people haven’t changed their phone numbers in years. OH ABOUT 15 OR 20 YEARS. PROBABLY ABOUT 15 YEARS. PROBABLY TEN FIFTEEN YEARS. Your cell phone number is connected to a lot of personal information. BECAUSE EVERYONE HAS YOUR CELL PHONE NUMBERS. IT’S OUT THERE. THAT’S WHAT PEOPLE ARE USING, THEY’RE DROPPING LAND LINES AND USING THEIR CELL PHONE. We guard our social security numbers carefully but we’re quick to give out our cell phone numbers. Whether to social media sites, apps, or retailers. All of those generally share the same information exchange system – called SS7. Hackers constantly try to break into it. IF YOU’RE ABLE TO GAIN ACCESS TO THAT SYSTEM, THERE IS A LOT OF POTENTIAL DAMAGE THAT CAN BE DONE. THERE’S THE IDEA OF EAVESDROPPING AND BEING ABLE TO INTERCEPT COMMUNICATION. If you’ve ever received a text like this, your number likely got out through one of those systems. YOU WON A TRIP CLICK TO ACCEPT OR UNSUBSCRIBE. EVEN IF YOU UNSUBSCRIBE OR CLICK IT YOU’VE OPEN YOUR PHONE UP TO THAT MALICIOUS MALWARE. Detective Patrick Mondora with the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office handles security cases. He’s seen these hacks lead to identity theft. A PHONE APP WAS DOWNLOADED WHERE SOMEONE WAS ABLE TO SEND TEXT MESSAGES AND PUT IN A SEPARATE NUMBER SO THAT BOGUS NUMBER APPEARED ON THE PERSON’S PHONE. Cyber security firm Kryptowire recently exposed malicious hackers that collected private information off of Android phones and transmitted that data every 72 hours to China. MOBILE BANKING APPS, EMAILS, PHOTOS, ALL BECOME ACCESSIBLE TO THE HACKER. AND IT’S NOT SUBJECT TO JUST APPLE OR ANDROID. IT CAN HAPPEN TO ALL PHONES. THERE’S NO NEED TO PANIC AND GO CHANGE YOUR NUMBER THOUGH. BEING AWARE OF WHO YOU’RE GIVING AND WHERE YOU’RE SENDING YOUR CELL PHONE NUMBER IS ONE OF THE NUMBER ONE WAYS TO PROTECT YOURSELF. You can also use apps like Google Voice that give you a second number that’s safer to give out. If you get a text or call from a random number claiming to be a bank or other important entity but it seems strange, look up the number online and call the company to make sure it’s legitimate. Never give out account numbers or personal information to someone you haven’t verified. If you do use mobile banking, monitor your credit and other finances. And if anything appears wrong – take the phone to an expert for a factory reset and to wipe it clean. IF THERE’S EVER AN OPTION TO PUT IN A PIN OR A PASSCODE OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT WITH THOSE AUTOMATED SYSTEMS SO IT’S NOT JUST RELYING ON YOUR CELL PHONE NUMBER FOR AUTHENTICATION, I ABSOLUTELY ENCOURAGE THAT USE. [G10]20170405 CELL PHONE NT-TAG Shorter battery life than usual, data usage increase, or being redirected on the internet constantly are all signs you could have been hacked. I put a lot more of these experts’ tips and other ways hackers can get into your phone up on our website WKBN dot com. In the studio, molly reed wkbn 27 first news.