You've heard about cyberstalking. Creeps hack into your smartphone and listen in on your calls, read your text messages, and use GPS to track your physical location.
It's a terrifying thought, but "60 Minutes" proved this week that hackers can do that in just a few seconds. They demonstrated on Congressman Ted Lieu's phone (he gave them permission).
They were exploiting a worldwide security hole that affects millions of smartphone users like you. It centers on something called the Signalling System No. 7, or SS7.
It's the system, or protocol used to connect 800 cellphone providers around the world. So, for instance, if you're a Verizon customer calling a Deutsche Telekom customer in Europe, you're being connected through SS7.
The problem is, no one really knows how good the security is for all those 800 companies. As the site Ars Technica recently wrote, "The problem with SS7 is that it's only as secure as its least secure or trustworthy member."
So, what can you do to protect yourself? Here are three extremely simple ways to keep cyberstalkers from listening to your calls, reading your texts, and keeping tabs on your whereabouts, according to cybersecurity experts.
1. Phone calls: Instead of making cellphone calls, use an encrypted social media app like Facebook's WhatsApp to make calls.
2. Text messages: Use encrypted social media apps like WhatsApp or Apple iMessage to chat.
3. GPS location: Turn off your cellphone if you think someone's stalking you, and use Wi-Fi connections whenever you can.