Cyber Security News

How SOS Mode on Your Mobile Could Indicate a Cyber Attack

SOS mode is a feature on many smartphones that allows users to quickly contact emergency services or designated contacts in times of need.

But, if your mobile phone unexpectedly enters SOS mode for reasons you can't explain, whilst it could be a simple software malfunction, it could also be the first indication of a cyber security issue.

How so?

Well, it's another example of how bad actors (aka cyber criminals) are exploiting a really convenient feature on our smartphones and it's called smartphone porting.

What's that?

It's what enables us to switch providers but keep the same phone number.

But this means there is the potential for cybercriminals to port your smartphone without your consent which in turn can lead to privacy breaches, and identity theft, as they gain access to your accounts, including banking, email, and social media, potentially leading to financial loss and damage to your reputation.

If you have watched the first video in our free Fundamentals Course, you will recall that the victim, in that case study, was first alerted to her predicament because her phone stopped working - it went into SOS mode.

In this article, we'll go through the Top 5 ways you can help to protect yourself against smartphone porting.


Choose a Reputable Service Provider

Selecting a trusted and secure service provider is crucial. Look for providers with strong security measures, a good reputation, and positive customer reviews. Research and compare different options before making a decision.


Enable Additional Security Features

Activate two-factor authentication (2FA) for your accounts, adding an extra layer of security. Use complex and unique passwords for each account and consider using a password manager to store them securely.


Monitor Your Accounts Regularly

Regularly review your account activity for any suspicious behaviour. Check for unauthorised access, unfamiliar devices, or unusual transactions. Promptly report any suspicious activity to your service provider and relevant authorities.


Safeguard Personal Information

Be cautious when sharing personal information online and offline. Avoid providing sensitive details unless necessary. Regularly update and strengthen your privacy settings on social media platforms to limit the exposure of personal information.


Stay Vigilant and Report Suspicious Activity

Be alert for signs of unauthorised porting or identity theft, such as unexpected service disruptions or unusual account behaviour. If you suspect wrongdoing, immediately contact your service provider and follow their guidance. Please make sure to document any interactions and file a police report if necessary.

Remember, SOS mode alone is not a definitive indication of a cyber attack.

However, if your phone goes into SOS mode for reasons you can't explain, keep in mind that it could be the first sign of a cyber attack. If you have any doubts at all, follow the 5 steps we recommend if you think you've been the victim of a cybercrime.

Once you've followed those steps, you can report the matter to the the Australian Government Cyber Crime unit.