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Why hackers are now looking for your phone number to steal money and how you can protect yourself

We are increasingly accustomed to accessing all of our mobile accounts. But not only on email, Twitter, or Facebook, but also on our bank account and those that allow us to access the files we store in the cloud and use many other services online.

This makes our phones an attractive loot for hackers, who seek access to these accounts to steal money and sensitive information, such as passports, secret documents, or tax returns...

Only with our phone number, with some ingenuity and "social engineering" (manipulation techniques used by cybercriminals), can hackers easily convince our operator or call the company's customer service that the number belongs to them (not us).

Hackers usually start by getting the information we post online: name, address, date of birth... And then, get through the number and easily convince the phone company operator that it belongs to them.

Then a lot just needs to click the "I forgot my password" option to infiltrate your accounts without being able to do anything about it.

To do this, they take advantage of so-called "two-step verification systems" that operate through SMS and send codes to customers.

The fact that using your phone number as a security system to protect your account can become a great opportunity for hackers.  Encryption technology specialist Laura Sheen wrote in an article for Forbes magazine that in recent months many hackers have used this technology to steal virtual money (Bitcoin, Ether, and other cryptocurrencies).

A recent New York Times investigation confirms this: there are more and more reports of hacks calling phone companies pretending to be users of the victim's addressed number or mobile phone.

How to protect yourself

Shin says telecommunications companies are "lagging behind in preventing phone number theft." Therefore, it is important that users find themselves ways to protect their number and keep it safe from the clutches of hackers.  It is recommended not to link your phone number to your sensitive accounts.