Howls of despair over the impending cyberpocalypse of hackers taking over people's mobile devices have yet to match the actual numbers of people getting attacked, but there are ways to make sure you're device is protected. Many people do carry extra-sensative information around on their smartphones, so they can be tempting for would be hackers. Here's how to protect yourself from an attack or at least stop an attack if it's already in progress.
In the latter's case, the only really effective way to prevent more damage is to remove your device's battery. For prevention, start by not responding to messages from anyone claiming to be from your service provider who wants your permission to reset your settings. Instead, ask your carrier to find out if the message is legitimate first. Next, you could try using a prepaid SIM card (only works for AT&T or T-Mobile customers in the U.S., unfortunately) and destroy it once it's used up. You can buy them by the gross for just a few dollars, and using them will make you less desirable to hackers. Unscrupulous apps can also infect your phone and steal info from you, so consider only downloading apps directly from known vendors like Apple, Google and Microsoft instead of third parties.
Even when you get the officially sanctioned apps, it's good to read what permissions they need to work properly. Be particularly skeptical of apps that ask permission to go online, show your location or identity or make phone calls. Apple actually doesn't list the permissions needed by their apps because they check them out first. Anti-virus apps are good to stock up on, like AVG or Lookout, but they only look for viruses already running on your system. Ways to tell if you've been infected are if you are getting slow Internet connections, degrading battery life and extra charges on your bill. Furthermore, if you have the option of 3G or Wi-Fi, 3G is safer. Tell us in the comments if you've ever been hacked or what you do prevent an attack.