We live our lives on our devices. From the texts we trade to the photos we share, it is the smartphone and not the eyes, that are the gateway into the soul today.
This also means the smartphone is akin to someone’s identity – get ahold of one and you could become that person. It was a slow day at work, so I decided to have a little fun with a phone that happened to be lying around.
Fortunately for me, I already knew her password (sometimes it’s hard not to look!) so I unlocked the phone without any problem. What began as an innocent exploration soon felt like the opening of Pandora’s Box… and the beginning of a prank.
*Warning: do not try this on someone who can’t take a joke!
Taking On Someone’s Identity
The easiest app to do this with was WhatsApp.
Since hers did not have a second level of protection, that’s where I launched my attack.
Level 1 targeted mutual friends – people with whom I already knew how to communicate.
All I needed was to adapt my victim’s texting style. That required a little practice but nothing cross-referencing could not resolve.
Soon, I had what it seemed like a simple conversation going on.
The next level was texting someone more personal – a parent was the best option. This was a little tougher, but playing it close to the chest got me through.
However, taking on my colleague’s persona wasn’t all I intended to do.
Spamming The Phone
Nothing kills a phone’s buzz faster than too many apps and too little spare memory. And if you’ve pre-set your App Store to not require a password, this goal isn’t difficult at all.
Now, it was simply a matter of getting the most random apps. For this, I Googled “Stupid Android Apps” and grabbed some from the list, along with other large apps.
Thanks to that, her phone’s memory filled up in no time at all.
I have to say that “Heater” is by far the best on the list.
It turns your phone into a handy heater which in Singapore is absolutely useless, while at the same time overheating the device.
In the right image, you’re not even supposed to see the “Capture Screen” button – evidence that the phone had begun slowing down.
My sadistic pleasure was cut short by my colleague’s return. Obviously she wasn’t too happy about the fact that her smartphone now felt like it was on fire.
Clearing The Junk
One lesson learnt from this ‘harmless’ prank shows just how vulnerable we can be through our phones.
Early this year, a Twitter user demonstrated how she pulled up personal information from a stranger’s phone, including the stranger’s address and call history.
In her case and mine, there was no malicious intent, but imagine if the wrong person gets ahold of your phone. What then?
A basic form of protection would be a PIN or pattern lock. However, given how easy it was for me to break into my colleague’s phone, this would not be enough.
One app you could try would be Cheetah Mobile’s Security Master app.
The app has 3 main functions – Scan (malware detection and protection), Boost (frees up phone memory and boosts device speed) and AppLock (app protection).
It’s remarkably easy to use, and was even recently nominated the best of best award of Red Dot for UX design.
For anyone whose phone is heating up from overuse (case in point: my colleague’s) can also use the Boost function.
Deleted apps leave behind junk files and these can burden the phone’s memory. Boost is able to clear these junk files so that the processor works in optimal conditions.
More importantly, Security Master also comes with an AppLock.
Each time you want to access a pre-locked app, you would need to enter a PIN, pattern or fingerprint lock – meaning that kaypoh people like myself would have a problem hacking in.
Provided of course, you did not use the same PIN for everything!
Best of all, the app is free from the Google Play store, so why not download it now?
This article was written in collaboration with Cheetah Mobile Inc.
Featured Image Credit: Samantha Tay / Vulcan Post