This Trick Can Stop Crooks Who Try to Hack Your Phone

Advertising Disclosure: When you buy something by clicking links on our site, we may earn a small commission, but it never affects the products or services we recommend.

Woman with cellphone
Mangostar /

Are you worried that hackers might break into your phone? A ridiculously easy maneuver can keep them at bay.

Simply turning your phone off and on — regularly — can thwart crooks from stealing information like text messages, contacts and passwords from your smartphone, The Associated Press reports.

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, a member of the secretive Senate Intelligence Committee, tells the AP he reboots his phone about once a week.

Guidance issued last year by the National Security Agency also recommends powering mobile devices off and back on once a week.

While the occasional reboot does not guarantee hackers won’t invade your privacy, it makes their job harder.

Increasingly, hackers are using a method called “in-memory payloads” to get into your phone, the AP reports. These are harder to detect and trace.

But as it turns out, turning your phone off and back on causes sudden death for these hacks.

Citing Neal Ziring, technical director of the National Security Agency’s cybersecurity directorate, the AP explains:

“Typically, once hackers gain access to a device or network, they look for ways to persist in the system by installing malicious software to a computer’s root file system. But that’s become more difficult as phone manufacturers such as Apple and Google have strong security to block malware from core operating systems, Ziring said. … That encourages hackers to opt for ‘in-memory payloads’ that are harder to detect and trace back to whoever sent them. Such hacks can’t survive a reboot, but often don’t need to since many people rarely turn their phones off.”

Get smarter with your money!

Want the best money-news and tips to help you make more and spend less? Then sign up for the free Money Talks Newsletter to receive daily updates of personal finance news and advice, delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for our free newsletter today.