Matt Case - June 3rd, 2024 - 6:43pm PDT 

    Urgent Warning for iPhone and Android Users After Secret Cyberattack Targets Millions of Devices - Here's How to Protect Yourself

    Officials are urging all iPhone and Android users to turn their devices on and off once a week to protect against secret cyberattacks. The recommendation comes in response to 'zero-click' hacks, which download spyware onto users' phones without requiring them to click a link.

    The National Security Agency (NSA) endorses this rebooting method, explaining that it temporarily deletes the massive stores of information running in the background, such as on apps or internet browsers. An NSA document outlines the steps all iPhone and Android users should take to mitigate the risk of a cyberattack.

    Restarting your phone is a lesser-known but effective method. Unlike other forms of malware, zero-click attacks don't require any interaction from the victim. Hackers exploit software vulnerabilities to gain access to devices without needing to trick users into clicking a malicious link or downloading a malicious file.

    If the system isn't turned off and on, a cybercriminal can manipulate opened URLs to run code that installs malicious files onto the devices. By turning the phone off and back on, it forces the closure of all apps and logs out of all bank and social media accounts, preventing hackers from accessing sensitive information.

    The reboot method is also effective against spear-phishing attacks, where attackers send targeted fraudulent emails to steal sensitive information like login credentials.

    A 2015 Pew Research study found that nearly half of smartphone owners rarely or never turn their phones off, and 82 percent said they never or rarely rebooted their devices.

    The NSA document also advises users to frequently update software and apps to ensure device security. Over time, hackers find new ways to break into systems, but updating old software removes potential flaws or loopholes they might exploit to access data.