Young adult using a smart phone

November 5, 2017

AZ Business Magazine

How to protect your cell phone from hackers

Right now, hackers could be accessing your work or personal email, photos and other data from your cell phone, and you would have no idea.

These sneaky cyber criminals could be accessing your phone via a free wireless service at a coffee shop, through free phone charging stations at airports and other public places, via apps you are downloading, and through other deceptive tactics. Last year alone, hackers gained access to more than 1.3 million Google accounts — emails, photos, documents and more — by infecting Android phones through illegitimate apps.

Michael Cocanower, president and CEO of Phoenix-based itSynergy, said people are the weakest link when it comes to security breaches on mobile devices.

“We lock our homes before leaving, we have surveillance cameras at work and at home, yet 43 percent of mobile users don’t use a passcode, PIN, or pattern lock to secure their devices,” said

Cocanower, who has been recognized nationally and locally for his IT expertise. 

Cocanower will conduct a free, 15-minute “Your Phone – Hacker’s Friend?” webinar on Thursday, November 9 at 11:30 a.m. Participants will learn about the types of attacks criminals can launch against a cell phone, how to recognize if there has been a breach and steps for protecting sensitive data. In addition, Cocanower will address workplace issues that arise relating to employee cell phone use. Interested participants should register at 

“Mobile device management is a huge challenge to employers since most cell phones today store corporate data,” Cocanower said. “In addition to being vigilant about changing passwords and keeping current with security updates, mobile users need to pay attention to the apps they are downloading and using. Business apps, for example, are three times more likely to leak usernames and passwords than the average app. And, social apps are worse.” 

The “Hacking the Human” webinars take place at 11:30 a.m. on the second Thursday of each month. The webinars are geared towards non-technical end users in business at any level in the company. Each webinar provides useful tips to ward off cyberattacks and more complex social engineering schemes that result in theft and corporate espionage.

The 2018 schedule of webinars will be released soon. The last webinar for 2017 will focus on ATM Security:

December 14 – ATM Security

Out shopping for the holidays?  Decided to stop at an ATM for a bit of extra cash?  How can you protect yourself from getting hacked at the ATM?  Join us to learn how to leave the ATM with just cash, and not as the victim of a newly stolen identity or theft victim whose accounts will shortly be trained of cash.

  • What techniques do criminals use at an ATM to ‘get you’?
  • What happens once your information has been stolen from a compromised ATM?
  • Learn what to look for when approaching/using an ATM to help ensure it hasn’t been compromised
  • Understand how to select an ATM with the lowest probability of criminal exploit

For more information, call itSynergy at (602) 297-2400 or visit