Cell phone numbers are often mandatory to use any services on the Internet. For example, when registering on social networks and messengers, confirming the phone number is a mandatory procedure. This seems justified, because eventually it can also be used for security procedures. But is it worth giving your cell phone number online? Let’s get to the bottom of it.
Why it’s dangerous to give out your number online
The more information about you online, the easier it is for cybercriminals to get hold of personal data and harm you. Therefore, it is worth acting on the principle of saving data. As an example, we can take a large company WhatsApp, when in 2022 the messenger was attacked by hackers, and the phone numbers of millions of people around the world leaked into the network.
Most likely, such a leak does not pose a real danger to WhatsApp user accounts, because knowing only the phone number makes it impossible to hack an account. Nevertheless, the cybercriminals who receive this database may use the information for some other purpose, for example, to gain the trust of potential victims in order to obtain payment information and steal money, or simply for advertising and spamming.
The social network Facebook also refers to services that request the cell phone number of their users. But it is precisely the registered cell phone numbers of this resource that have appeared freely on the Internet millions of times.
Attackers can get hold of your cell phone number
Fraudsters can use the so-called “SIM card spoofing” method to get hold of your number. Before that, hackers get your password, on closed marketplaces. Then they trick the phone service provider and transfer the corresponding cell phone number to their SIM card on an online portal. All incoming calls or SMS will no longer reach you. This can manifest itself in a sudden loss of connection to your cell phone, making it impossible to make calls. For example, if you use the mTAN procedure in online banking, the sent security code can be intercepted and used for transfers.
Two-factor authentication can be abused
By capturing your cell phone number, two-factor authentication (2FA) no longer provides any protection. If you provided your phone number to an app or online service as a means of protecting your account, cyber criminals can get the security codes and log in on your behalf. Because SMS are sent in unencrypted form, they can also be intercepted along with the code. That’s why it’s better to use 2FA through apps that generate codes.
What do I do if I need a phone number to register online?
The cheapest and most affordable way to avoid all these consequences is to use a temporary phone number. You may be asking, what is it? Let us now tell you.
A temporary phone number or online phone number is a service that allows you to get certain features of a regular SIM card over the Internet from the comfort of your home. These mobile numbers are issued to the user for a limited period of time and can be used to receive SMS. Thanks to this you will be able to register anonymous accounts on any platform where SMS notification is required. In addition, it will help you keep your personal data secret and you will no longer have to worry about your private phone number falling into the hands of ill-wishers.
One of these reliable providers of temporary phone numbers is the company SMS-man. The site offers phone numbers from various countries, which can also help you bypass some regional restrictions. Such phone numbers can be used to create accounts anywhere, where you need to provide your phone number during the registration process.