My Cell Phone Was Hacked, and Here’s What I Did to Backup My Data and Apps

Wroclaw was my last stop on the tour of five cities in Poland. At the airport, before a flight to Warsaw, there was a lot of time to kill. So I connected to the airport WiFi. Everything seemed fine until I returned home to Dubai the next day.

Going through my emails, I found a message that my Apple ID password had been reset. THE ALARM BELL has sounded! I did not change the password. Panic overwhelms me. I quickly calmed down and checked the time the email had been sent. At that exact moment, I was sitting at Wroclaw airport, munching on a sandwich and browsing WhatsApp messages. Definitely not the time to change a password.

So someone at the gate of Wroclaw airport hacked into my phone. I slowly overcame the disbelief and resigned myself to the fact that my phone had been compromised. So what do I do? The first thing I did was change the Apple ID password and the phone password.

Alright, the hacker accessed my phone; what did he/she do after that? I went through all the messages and checked my banking apps. There were no suspicious transactions: no purchases, no money transfers. I was relieved, but I couldn’t sit still. My mind was racing.

If my Apple ID was accessed, what damage could the hacker cause? All apps have individual passwords, so they need to be secure. But, if the Apple ID password could be hacked, how secure are app passwords? So I sat down and changed the passwords for all the important apps.

It wasn’t enough. What about iCloud? If my Apple ID is accessible, iCloud is not safe. And iCloud contains backups, which could be compromised. Will it give access to apps? I did not have any answer.

So what do I do? I also decided to change the Apple ID. I now have a new Apple ID and a new password. My bank apps work on another phone and I don’t carry the phone with me.

A huge scare, it was. So much so that I spent an entire day reworking the passwords. A day when I should have rested after a hectic seven-day trip.

Of course, we live in an interconnected world. And danger lurks in the online connections that make our lives easier. Like other conveniences in life, one misstep can lead to losses. Many shady characters prowl the Internet, looking to prey on unsuspecting and gullible people. I’m fully aware of that, which is why I still can’t believe I made the mistake of connecting to public WiFi.

It’s like leaving the front door of a house open. An invitation for burglars. It’s a stupid mistake. A mistake so serious that I am embarrassed. A mistake that taught me to be careful in the future. Luckily, I didn’t lose any money. I could have. I realize that I was very lucky. I may not be next time.

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