Your Smartphone is Easy to Hack, and Your Money Is In It

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — You are carrying the keys to most every detail of your private life in your hands, and it's subject to a "grab and hack" at any time. Your smartphone, even if it can only be unlocked with what is called "biometric authentication" — using a fingerprint rather than a passcode for access — can be easily accessed. Berlin-based Security Research Labs has even posted video tutorials showing how just how simple it is to hack an iPhone 5s with "fingerprint spoofs." It takes only a few moments.

And chances are, your smartphone is even easier than that to break into.

Nearly 70% of Americans believe that storing payment information on their smartphone is unsafe, according to a survey released by PayPal and the National Cyber Security Alliance. But nearly two-thirds (63%) of those surveyed don't have a clear idea about what financial information is actually stored on their smartphones. And worst of all, their mobile devices are easy pickings for hackers. More than half of respondents said they don't lock their mobile device even with a PIN.

"The survey results clearly indicate that consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices to conduct transactions," said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. "However, they also show that consumers need to get more active about mobile security, especially around basic security measures such as adding a PIN code or password to their devices and understanding what kinds of information their devices store."

Two-thirds of the people surveyed said their smartphone is never further than one room away, and one in 10 said they keep their phone handy everywhere they go. One quarter of respondents said they complete at least one financial transaction per day on their smartphone, while one in six said they make at least 25% of all their purchases on their smartphone.