My cell phone was hacked and this is what I did to save my data and apps
Wroclaw was my last stop in the five-city trip to Poland. At the airport, before a flight to Warsaw, there was a lot of time to kill. So I logged on to the airport WiFi. Everything looked fine until I returned home to Dubai the next day.
While browsing through my email, I found a message saying that my Apple ID password had been reset. ALARM BUZZER rang! I did not change the password. Panic swept through me. I quickly settled down and checked the time the email was sent. At that exact moment, I was sitting at Wroclaw airport munching on a sandwich and thumbing through WhatsApp messages. Definitely not the time to change a password.
So, someone at the Wroclaw airport gate hacked my phone. I slowly overcame my disbelief and resigned myself to the fact that my phone had been compromised. So what do I do? The first thing I did was change my Apple ID password and phone password.
Okay, the hacker got access to my phone; what did he/she do after that? I went through all the messages and checked my bank apps. There were no suspicious transactions: no purchases, no money transfers. I was relieved, but I couldn’t sit still. My mind raced.
If my Apple ID was accessed, what damage could the hacker do? All apps have individual passwords, so they must be secure. But if the Apple ID password can be cracked, how secure are app passwords? So I sat down and changed the passwords of all the apps that mattered.
It wasn’t enough. What about iCloud? If my Apple ID was available, iCloud is not secure. And iCloud has backups, which can be compromised. Will it give access to the apps? I had no answer.
So what do I do? I decided to change my Apple ID as well. Now I have a new Apple ID and a new password. The bank’s apps work on another phone and I don’t have the phone with me.
A huge horror, it was. So much so that I spent a whole day reworking the passwords. A day I should rest after a hectic seven-day trip.
Admittedly, we live in an interconnected world. And danger lurks in the online connections that make our lives easy. Like other conveniences in life, a misstep can result in loss. Many shady characters roam the internet trying to prey on the unsuspecting and gullible. I’m fully aware of that, which is why I still can’t believe I made the mistake of logging onto a public WiFi.
It’s like leaving the front door of a house open. An invitation to burglars. It’s a stupid mistake. A mistake so bad I’m embarrassed. A mistake that taught me to be careful in the future. Fortunately, I didn’t lose any money. I could have. I realize that I was very lucky. I might not stay next time.