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How to Tell if Your Phone Has Been Hacked

by on May 01, 2019
in Privacy, Phones and Mobile, Mobile Apps, Tips & How-Tos :: 395 comments

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From email to banking, our smartphones are the main hub of our online lives. No wonder that smartphones are starting to stack up to computers as common targets for online hackers.  

Security researchers recently revealed one attack campaign that released malicious Android apps that were nearly identical to legitimate secure messaging programs, including WhatsApp and Signal, tricking thousands of people in nearly 20 countries into installing it. These apps were downloaded via a website called Secure Android, and once installed, gave hackers access to photos, location information, audio capture, and message contents. According to EFF Staff Technology Cooper Quentin, of note is that the malware did not involve a sophisticated software exploit, but instead only required “application permissions that users themselves granted when they downloaded the apps, not realizing that they contained malware.”

Malware is often downloaded from non-official sources, including phishing links sent via email or message, as well as malicious websites such as the Secure Android site mentioned above. (While security experts recommend always downloading from official app stores – like the Apple App Store or Google Play – some countries are unable to access certain apps from these sources, for example, secure messaging apps that would allow people to communicate secretly.)

Across the board, mobile malware has been on the riseup – in part due to an increase in political spies trying to break into the devices of persons of interest. Once this malware is online, other criminals are able to exploit compromised devices too. Malware can include spyware that monitors a device’s content, programs that harness a device’s internet bandwidth for use in a botnet to send spam, or phishing screens that steal a user’s logins when entered into a compromised, legitimate app.

Then there are the commercial spy apps that require physical access to download to a phone – often done by those well-known to the victim such as a partner or parent – and which can monitor everything that occurs on the device. 

Not sure if you may have been hacked? We spoke to Josh Galindo, director of training at uBreakiFix, about how to tell a smartphone might have been compromised. And, we explore the seven ways your phone can be hacked and the steps you can take to protect yourself.

6 Signs your phone may have been hacked

1. Noticeable decrease in battery life

While a phone’s battery life inevitably decreases over time, a smartphone that has been compromised by malware may start to display a significantly decreased lifespan. This is because the malware – or spy app – may be using up phone resources to scan the device and transmit the information back to a criminal server.

(That said, simple everyday use can equally deplete a phone’s lifespan. Check if that’s the case by running through these steps for improving your Android or iPhone battery life.)

2. Sluggish performance

Do you find your phone frequently freezing, or certain applications crashing? This could be down to malware that is overloading the phone’s resources or clashing with other applications.

You may also experience continued running of applications despite efforts to close them, or even have the phone itself crash and/or restart repeatedly. 

(As with reduced battery life, many factors could contribute to a slower phone – essentially, its everyday use, so first try deep cleaning your Android or iPhone.)

3. High data usage

Another sign of a compromised phone is an unusually high data bill at the end of the month, which can come from malware or spy apps running in the background, sending information back to its server.

4. Outgoing calls or texts you didn’t send

If you’re seeing lists of calls or texts to numbers you don’t know, be wary – these could be premium-rate numbers that malware is forcing your phone to contact; the proceeds of which land in the cyber-crim’s wallet. In this case, check your phone bill for any costs you don’t recognise.

5. Mystery pop-ups

While not all pop-ups mean your phone has been hacked, constant pop-up alerts could indicate that your phone has been infected with adware, a form of malware that forces devices to view certain pages that drive revenue through clicks. Even if a pop-up isn’t the result of a compromised phone, many may be phishing links that attempt to get users to type in sensitive info – or download more malware. The vast majority of such pop-ups can be neutralised simply by shutting the window – though be sure you’re clicking the right X, as many are designed to shunt users towards clicking an area that instead opens up the target, sometimes malicious, site.

6. Unusual activity on any accounts linked to the device

If a hacker has access to your phone, they also have access to its accounts – from social media to email to various lifestyle or productivity apps. This could reveal itself in activity on your accounts, such as resetting a password, sending emails, marking unread emails that you don’t remember reading, or signing up for new accounts whose verification emails land in your inbox.

In this case, you could be at risk for identity fraud, where criminals open new accounts or lines of credit in your name, using information taken from your breached accounts. It’s a good idea to change your passwords – without updating them on your phone – before running a security sweep on your phone itself.

SOS steps

If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms of a hacked smartphone, the best first step is to download a mobile security app.

For Android, we like Avast, which not only scans for malware but offers a call blocker, firewall, VPN, and a feature to request a PIN every time certain apps are used – preventing malware from opening sensitive apps such as your online banking.

iPhones may be less prone to hacks, but they aren’t totally immune. Lookout for iOS flags apps that are acting maliciously, potentially dangerous Wi-Fi networks,  and if the iPhone has been jailbroken (which increases its risk for hacking). It’s free, with $9.99/month for identity protection, including alerts of logins being exposed. 

Who would hack your phone?

By now, government spying is such a common refrain that we may have become desensitized to the notion that the NSA taps our phone calls or the FBI can hack our computers whenever it wants. Yet there are other technological means – and motives – for hackers, criminals and even the people we know, such as a spouse or employer, to hack into our phones and invade our privacy.

7 ways your phone can be hacked

From targeted breaches and vendetta-fueled snooping to opportunistic land grabs for the data of the unsuspecting, here are seven ways someone could be spying on your cell phone – and what you can do about it.

1. Spy apps

There is a glut of phone monitoring apps designed to covertly track someone’s location and snoop on their communications. Many are advertised to suspicious partners or distrustful employers, but still more are marketed as a legitimate tool for safety-concerned parents to keep tabs on their kids. Such apps can be used to remotely view text messages, emails, internet history, and photos; log phone calls and GPS locations; some may even hijack the phone’s mic to record conversations made in person. Basically, almost anything a hacker could possible want to do with your phone, these apps would allow.

And this isn’t just empty rhetoric. When we studied cell phone spying apps back in 2013, we found they could do everything they promised. Worse, they were easy for anyone to install, and the person who was being spied on would be none the wiser that there every move was being tracked.

“There aren’t too many indicators of a hidden spy app – you might see more internet traffic on your bill, or your battery life may be shorter than usual because the app is reporting back to a third-party,” says Chester Wisniewski, principal research scientist at security firm Sophos.

Likelihood

Spy apps are available on Google Play, as well as non-official stores for iOS and Android apps, making it pretty easy for anyone with access to your phone (and a motive) to download one.

How to protect yourself

  • Since installing spy apps require physical access to your device, putting a passcode on your phone greatly reduces the chances of someone being able to access your phone in the first place. And since spy apps are often installed by someone close to you (think spouse or significant other), pick a code that won’t be guessed by anyone else.
  • Go through your apps list for ones you don’t recognize.
  • Don’t jailbreak your iPhone. “If a device isn’t jailbroken, all apps show up,” says Wisniewski. “If it is jailbroken, spy apps are able to hide deep in the device, and whether security software can find it depends on the sophistication of the spy app [because security software scans for known malware].”
  • For iPhones, ensuring you phone isn’t jailbroken also prevents anyone from downloading a spy app to your phone, since such software – which tampers with system-level functions - doesn’t make it onto the App Store.
  • Download a mobile security app. For Android, we like Avast and for iOS, we recommend Lookout for iOS.

2. Phishing by message

Whether it’s a text claiming to be from your financial institution, or a friend exhorting you to check out this photo of you last night, SMSes containing deceptive links that aim to scrape sensitive information (otherwise known as phishing or “smishing”) continue to make the rounds.

Android phones may also fall prey to messages with links to download malicious apps. (The same scam isn’t prevalent for iPhones, which are commonly non-jailbroken and therefore can’t download apps from anywhere except the App Store.)

Such malicious apps may expose a user’s phone data, or contain a phishing overlay designed to steal login information from targeted apps – for example, a user’s bank or email app.

Likelihood

Quite likely. Though people have learned to be skeptical of emails asking them to “click to see this funny video!”, security lab Kaspersky notes that they tend to be less wary on their phones.

How to protect yourself

  • Keep in mind how you usually verify your identity with various accounts – for example, your bank will never ask you to input your full password or PIN.
  • Avoid clicking links from numbers you don’t know, or in curiously vague messages from friends, especially if you can’t see the full URL.
  • If you do click on the link and end up downloading an app, your Android phone should notify you. Delete the app and/or run a mobile security scan.

3. SS7 global phone network vulnerability

A communication protocol for mobile networks across the world, Signalling System No 7 (SS7), has a vulnerability that lets hackers spy on text messages, phone calls and locations, armed only with someone’s mobile phone number. An added concern is that text message is a common means to receive two-factor authentication codes from, say, email services or financial institutions – if these are intercepted, an enterprising hacker could access protected accounts, wrecking financial and personal havoc.

According to security researcher Karsten Nohl, law enforcement and intelligence agencies use the exploit to intercept cell phone data, and hence don’t necessarily have great incentive to seeing that it gets patched.

Likelihood

Extremely unlikely, unless you’re a political leader, CEO or other person whose communications could hold high worth for criminals. Journalists or dissidents travelling in politically restless countries may be at an elevated risk for phone tapping.

How to protect yourself

  • Use an end-to-end encrypted message service that works over the internet (thus bypassing the SS7 protocol), says Wisniewski. WhatsApp (free, iOS/Android), Signal (free, iOS/Android) and Wickr Me (free, iOS/Android) all encrypt messages and calls, preventing anyone from intercepting or interfering with your communications.
  • Be aware that if you are in a potentially targeted group your phone conversations could be monitored and act accordingly.

4. Snooping via open Wi-Fi networks

Thought that password-free Wi-Fi network with full signal bars was too good to be true? It might just be. Eavesdroppers on an unsecured Wi-Fi network can view all its unencrypted traffic. And nefarious public hotspots can redirect you to lookalike banking or email sites designed to capture your username and password. And it’s not necessarily a shifty manager of the establishment you’re frequenting. For example, someone physically across the road from a popular coffee chain could set up a login-free Wi-Fi network named after the café, in hopes of catching useful login details for sale or identity theft.

Likelihood

Any tech-savvy person could potentially download the necessary software to intercept and analyze Wi-Fi traffic – including your neighbor having a laugh at your expense (you weren’t browsing NSFW websites again, were you?).

How to protect yourself

  • Only use secured networks where all traffic is encrypted by default during transmission to prevent others from snooping on your Wi-Fi signal.
  • Download a VPN app to encrypt your smartphone traffic. ExpressVPN (Android/iOS from $6.67/month) is a great all-round choice that offers multi-device protection, for your tablet and laptop for example. 
  • If you must connect to a public network and don’t have a VPN app, avoid entering in login details for banking sites or email. If you can’t avoid it, ensure the URL in your browser address bar is the correct one. And never enter private information unless you have a secure connection to the other site (look for “https” in the URL and a green lock icon in the address bar).

5. Unauthorized access to iCloud or Google account

Hacked iCloud and Google accounts offer access to an astounding amount of information backed up from your smartphone – photos, phonebooks, current location, messages, call logs and in the case of the iCloud Keychain, saved passwords to email accounts, browsers and other apps. And there are spyware sellers out there who specifically market their products against these vulnerabilities.

Online criminals may not find much value in the photos of regular folk – unlike nude pictures of celebrities that are quickly leaked– but they know the owners of the photos do, says Wisniewski, which can lead to accounts and their content being held digitally hostage unless victims pay a ransom.

Additionally, a cracked Google account means a cracked Gmail, the primary email for many users.

Having access to a primary email can lead to domino-effect hacking of all the accounts that email is linked to – from your Facebook account to your mobile carrier account, paving the way for a depth of identity theft that would seriously compromise your credit.

Likelihood

“This is a big risk. All an attacker needs is an email address; not access to the phone, nor the phone number,” Wisniewski says. If you happen to use your name in your email address, your primary email address to sign up for iCloud/Google, and a weak password that incorporates personally identifiable information, it wouldn’t be difficult for a hacker who can easily glean such information from social networks or search engines.

How to protect yourself

  • Create a strong password for these key accounts (and as always, your email).
  • Enable login notifications so you’re aware of sign-ins from new computers or locations.
  • Enable two-factor authentication so that even if someone discovers your password they can’t access your account without access to your phone.
  • To prevent someone resetting your password, lie when setting up password security questions. You would be amazed how many security questions rely on information that is easily available on the Internet or is widely known by your family and friends.

6. Malicious charging stations

Well-chosen for a time when smartphones barely last the day and Google is the main way to not get lost, this hack leverages our ubiquitous need for juicing our phone battery, malware be damned. Malicious charging stations – including malware-loaded computers – take advantage of the fact that standard USB cables transfer data as well as charge battery. Older Android phones may even automatically mount the hard drive upon connection to any computer, exposing its data to an unscrupulous owner.

Security researchers have also shown it’s possible to hijack the video-out feature on most recent phones so that when plugged into a malicious charge hub, a hacker can monitor every keystroke, including passwords and sensitive data.

Likelihood

Low. There are no widely known instances of hackers exploiting the video-out function, while newer Android phones ask for permission to load their hard drive when plugged into a new computer; iPhones request a PIN. However, new vulnerabilities may be discovered.

How to protect yourself

  • Don’t plug into unknown devices; bring a wall charger. You might want to invest in a charge-only USB cable like PortaPow ($6.99 on Amazon)
  • If a public computer is your only option to revive a dead battery, select the “Charge only” option (Android phones) if you get a pop-up when you plug in, or deny access from the other computer (iPhone).

7. FBI’s StingRay (and other fake cellular towers)

An ongoing initiative by the FBI to tap phones in the course of criminal investigations (or indeed, peaceful protests) involves the use of cellular surveillance devices (the eponymous StingRays) that mimic bona fide network towers.

StingRays, and similar pretender wireless carrier towers, force nearby cell phones to drop their existing carrier connection to connect to the StingRay instead, allowing the device’s operators to monitor calls and texts made by these phones, their movements, and the numbers of who they text and call.

As StingRays have a radius of about 1km, an attempt to monitor a suspect’s phone in a crowded city center could amount to tens of thousands of phones being tapped.

Until late 2015, warrants weren’t required for StingRay-enabled cellphone tracking; currently, around a dozen states outlaw the use of eavesdropping tech unless in criminal investigations, yet many agencies don’t obtain warrants for their use.

Likelihood

While the average citizen isn’t the target of a StingRay operation, it’s impossible to know what is done with extraneous data captured from non-targets, thanks to tight-lipped federal agencies.

How to protect yourself

  • Use encrypted messaging and voice call apps, particularly if you enter a situation that could be of government interest, such as a protest. Signal (free, iOS/Android) and Wickr Me (free, iOS/Android) both encrypt messages and calls, preventing anyone from intercepting or interfering with your communications. Most encryption in use today isn’t breakable, says Wisniewski, and a single phone call would take 10-15 years to decrypt.

“The challenging thing is, what the police have legal power to do, hackers can do the same,” Wisniewski says. “We’re no longer in the realm of technology that costs millions and which only the military have access to. Individuals with intent to interfere with communications have the ability to do so.”

From security insiders to less tech-savvy folk, many are already moving away from traditional, unencrypted communications – and perhaps in several years, it’ll be unthinkable that we ever allowed our private conversations and information to fly through the ether unprotected.

Updated on 5/1/2019

[image credit: hacker smartphone concept via BigStockPhoto]



Discussion loading

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My laptop and phone have been hacked

From Donna on December 08, 2017 :: 2:51 am

Hello , I was on my laptop when I got a on screen emergency message supposedly from Microsoft saying I needed to call a phone number. I did .. The man said my ip address had been hacked and told me to type in a couple things then he was controlling my laptop he continued with my IP address is now gonna be black listed and I can pay $499 for them to fix it By issuing a new IP address after the malware was removed i told him I didn’t have the money he said in 2 minutes I would no longer be able to use my network .i hung up now my laptop and 1 of my phones wont connect to WiFi saying authentication problem but everyone else’s devices in the house still connect via WiFi without a problem along with 1 of my phones. his can I fix this issue? I’ve already changed my google password

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That's a well-known scam

From Josh Kirschner on December 08, 2017 :: 10:52 am

You probably realize this now, but you fell for the classic “microsoft support scam”. You visited some website that was compromised or simply fraudulent, which then displayed a popup falsely claiming to be a Microsoft system warning. For the benefit of anyone reading this, Microsoft will NEVER display system warnings in this way or ask you to call into an 800-number for service. These messages are always scams to sell you fake or even malicious technical services. And there’s no way to “blacklist IP addresses” in this manner; that’s BS. Now, back to your problem…

It’s a little difficult to determine exactly what this guy did to screw up you IP address without taking a look at your system. But I can give you some steps to try to recover it without taking it in for service.

First, you’ll want to run a complete system scan to see if any malware was installed. If you already have antimalware on your computer, make sure it is turned on (this guy didn’t shut it off) and run a full scan (it may take a while). You should be using a well-known brand - Bitdefender or Norton would be my recommendations.

Step two is to remove any programs this guy may have installed that weren’t picked up by the antimalware. Type “programs” in your windows search bar (the little area at the bottom left of your screen next to the Windows button) and click “Add or Remove Programs”. You’ll see a list of Apps installed on your laptop. Sort the list by Install Date, click on the ones that were installed since your conversation and Uninstall them.

Now if your laptop still won’t connect, he probably changed something in your wireless configuration. This is tricky to diagnose without access to your computer because there are a number of things he could have changed that would screw things up. But let’s start with the most basic - network password. It’s possible he simply changed your password, so right click on the little wireless icon in your taskbar at the lower right. Does it say you are connected to your network? If not, right click on your wireless network and click “forget”. Now do the same thing, this time click “Connect” and enter in your wireless password.

If things are now working, great. If you are connected to your wireless network but still getting that error, then right click on your wireless network and click “properties”. Make sure “Set as metered connection” is Off and IP Assignment should be set to automatic.

If those steps don’t work, things get trickier.
Since others in your house can still access the network, let’s assume that he didn’t actually have you login to your router and change settings there (if he did, let me know). So it might be something with your wireless adapter settings. Go to the Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network Connection > Change Adapter Options. Right click on your wireless network and click Diagnose. I’m doubtful this will find the problem, but might as well give it a shot.

If that didn’t work, before we go changing adapter settings, let’s really confirm whether this is an issue with your wireless in general, your specific network or something else. Try a different browser - does that work? Take your laptop to your local coffee shop or somewhere else with free wireless (or have a friend/relative set up a mobile hotspot). Can you connect to that network?

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help

From santhosh sk on December 08, 2017 :: 11:58 am

Sir my mobile intex 3G and asus 3G intel zenfone. Please tell me my mobile is hacked one year before

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I think I've been hacked through Google on my S7 edge

From I need advice on December 15, 2017 :: 11:55 pm

While I am not new to the world of crypto investment. I’m completely new to trading. Yesterday as I was browsing what’s out there to broaden my exchange horizons I clicked on an ad for one it it immediately popped up you’ve been hacked ect..typical phish attemp. OF COURSE I DIDN’T. TODAY Google links news ect..give error message and will not load. Blue tooth turned itself off when I pull down email window it offers link to incognito browser. Pages that im viewing switch to other links through ChRome which I don’t use often.

PLEASE HELP ME

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For those who are or may be a T.argeted I.ndividual

From D3MON3AT3R on December 17, 2017 :: 6:04 am

“Hello, I have been a T. I. for several years now, even more.
This is a very true and very real possible ( events) that can happen to anybody. All of us can go on social media sites, and state opinions about things like religion and politics, but guess what? The moment you even ” like” a post that you strongly believe, or agree on, this gives the NSA rights to track, hack, jack, and its all under their cover of “Protecting the people from terror”.
Every one of those so called “cell towers” that are put up, and some just meters from another, are all government spy towers.
The NSA works with every cellular phone company in this country.
We’re talking ( T- moble/ Verizon/ Sprint/ Boost/ Cricket/ AT&T/ etc.) ALL OF THEM.
One can look up the company called “ONVOY” and see procedures under law enforcement. Onvoy is a third party middle man that provides information and relay to them, all liable and allowed with out a damn thing but a fax to your provider on what to send to them.

My phone right now is being compromised as the battery is trying to off its self.

Anyway, I know too much.

But lets start at the beginning.
This type of technology was brought over by German engineering shortly after the great war.

They are able to read your thoughts, make you scratch your head, even have a signal sent into your head making you think that a spider on the wall is telling you to kill or be killed.

They rain down on us micro sized bots that we breath in/ drink/ eat/ and from the inside can change the very thought process of an healthy person with no record of mental illness.

They can hypothesize you to shoot thousands of people to get the right to bare arms taken from us. And can have a child kill his classmates while under this hypnosis.

This is very true. Can be looked up anywhere on the web.

I have to go.

PEACE TO YOU ALL.
~§~

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That explains a lot!

From Bluey on March 19, 2019 :: 5:28 pm

Well thanks, you’ve just explained the occupant of the Oval Office.

And btw, i will go sleeveless any time I want.  Thay can’t take THAT away.

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Strange contact appeared

From Michelle on December 25, 2017 :: 12:12 pm

I just noticed today that a contact has been added to my Galaxy S5: You’ve Been Blue Jacked

I can’t find any info on this anywhere. Any thoughts?

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Your the bug

From Johnny floyd on March 09, 2019 :: 10:02 pm

Dude what in the methamphetamine are you talking about?

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Methaphetamine comment

From Mely on March 24, 2019 :: 1:39 pm

Lmfao.. that was funny!

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Help

From Ginge on December 27, 2017 :: 9:17 pm

I was watching stuff on YouTube and then it said switching to x-box and what I was watching popped up on the x-box for a couple of minutes and switched back.ever since then it seems like someone else is on it while I’m on it at the same time I will be scrolling the out of nowhere it will scroll up and down or take me to another app. Or (while typing) it will take me to the search bar twitch and then search up something like bing or some thing. Or it will change my text. It was a hassle to even type here without the hacker taking out and searching something else. I can easily tell when they are on it but it sucks when I can’t type my passcode because it can’t (feel my touch)

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I think my dad got hacked?

From Erik on December 28, 2017 :: 8:51 pm

Hey im not sure if someone hacked my dad’s phone or not but my little sister was using my dad’s phone and while i told her to go to sleep i got a weird text message it said “The only way to go to the next couple days ago, I am not sure how much you love to see the"it couldn’t be her we were in the next room so was this a hacking or something else it was through messaging

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hacked

From vicki on January 01, 2018 :: 4:51 pm

I had a laptop hacked years ago. Person called me on cell (I never gave my number to him). I was polite, friendly, pretended to be relieved and asked questions. He said he hacked me with a keylogger and knew everything about me. My location, address, phone, accounts, passwords, finances, work account and password, internet history (named accounts I made but forgot about) and knew information about other friends. Even knew things I deleted.
I ended the call by saying thank you for telling me. Then went to store, bought CDRs.
1- sent message to a friend about how i was hacked and how i knew hackers isp, location, and other info as well
2- opened on screen keyboard to avoid keystoke tracking
3- backed up only info i wanted to keep
4- changed all passwords
5- deleted all history from email accounts, all pictures and videos saved, all downloaded apps
6- got new account at work and had old one disabled
7- factory reset
8- on screen keyboard again (precaution) and changed all passwords again
9- instead of noting passwords, i made a list of hints that only made sense to me
10- checked cdrs for safe info to transfer, went to websites to download fresh application info
11- ignored all of hackers attempts to contact me
12- got new phone number and service provider
13- noticed hacker friend wanted me to download specific pictures and videos that were stupid to begin with
14- informed friends to check for spyware
15- finally relaxed a little bit
To this day, I never open any links or anything telling me to download something. I constantly review contacts and delete any I dont use regularly. Im always surprised by the ones that sneak back in.
I never ever respond to ‘send to friends’ or any type of chain requests. I delete everything that isnt useful.
I have two unique email accounts that have no contact information at all. One I use for anything financially related. The other one I use to forward information I want to keep by copy/pasting in a new email instead of a direct forward. I have three other email accounts, an empty one that I use as a recovery address, one I use for resume and employment information, and my main “junk” email that I use when I sign up for anything.
Im extremely careful now and my friends know not to send me anything suspicious. When I do get something, I tell them what I got from their account, and remind them to check for malware.
Im cautious on all devices now. I dont want to be hacked again, but I know how to check and reset if I suspect it.
Dont trust something because it came from someone you know… check sender information, isp info, and delete it if it doesnt match up. Skilled hackers can disguise themselves easily by pretending to be someone you know.
Hope this helps at least one person smile

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Thx

From Tim on January 07, 2018 :: 12:37 pm

I looking for an app to install on android Samsung galaxy to detect individual snooping remotely and their device impersonating another individual allowing the number to be seen as person being impersonated

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I know this is odd but what network do u use?

From Gemma Stroud on January 08, 2018 :: 10:15 am

Iv had similar problems at first I thought it was all in my head And I started having weird dreams
Something about the 5 GHz 2 gigahertz Internet connection on my home landline , that I let somebody split… basically given them all access to my router silly I know now I’ve since got rid of the landline and had multiple numbers.  From my mobile device i’ve had New and different iCloud accounts,
I’ve since moved from the network three And I’m now withTesco’s touchwood things seem better I’m not sure if it was the three network or my landline although after my landline was taken out it was still happening since leaving free I found it to be much better not sure why this is and I did think three did a good deal for data and wondered what was the catch.
Also my boy is phone was a Galaxy S7 I found lots certificates that he had trusted foreign and English he is only 10 but Sam certificates gave his phone access to copy data from any phone that was put next to his ...,That is pretty scary stuff how can this happen

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How can I prove it?

From Barbara Jean Sunday on January 10, 2018 :: 5:09 pm

My 16 year old daughter has an LG Rebel Android. Her almost new phone battery was not holding a charge. Then the phone started overheating, and apps started acting strangely. Eventually friends started noticing weird texts from her (some offensive) that she swears she did not send. Is there any way I can prove whether or not this was a hack job?

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Did you follow our advice above?

From Josh Kirschner on January 18, 2018 :: 2:20 pm

Start by downloading one of the security apps we recommended and see if it detects anything on the phone. If not, then the phone is probably clean. Either way, do a factory reset after and see if that resolves your phone overheating/battery issues.

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Ongoing Hacking

From Emma on January 15, 2018 :: 10:33 pm

All my devices including my Roku are compromised and the Hacker is probably using something called Samba 3.0.37 some software.How do I block him from accessing my devices to start with laptop .He basically has access to my Router.

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My friend is able to listen my conversations over mobile phone

From Hemant on January 21, 2018 :: 4:33 am

When I talk to someone over my mobile phone Lenovo Vibe K5 Note, it seems one of my friend is able to listen the conversations. He used my phone for around 30-40 minutes as his phone was not working around 15 days ago.
Could you tell what app might be installed in my phone and how could I remove the same. thanks…

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Download a security app for your phone

From Josh Kirschner on January 22, 2018 :: 2:09 pm

See step 1 above. Download one of our recommended security apps and see what it finds.

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Please help me know if my boyfriend's phone is hacked

From Libokanyo Khabo on January 23, 2018 :: 3:44 pm

More often when I call him someone responds…it happens even when my bf is out to where there is no network coverage. Could it be that the person hacked my bf phone or he is merely cheating like that?

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Keylogger

From Lisa on January 24, 2018 :: 4:42 pm

I realized about 6 months my phone was being hacked by my ex’s gf (long story) and since then I have a new phone (Samsung Galaxy 8plus)  and changed as much personal information in regards to social media accounts and email account etc.  She was reading texts, emails etc.
I’m worried a keylogger software could of been installed on my old phone. Would that software still be associated with my telephone number? Should I change my number??
I lose sleep because she just won’t leave me alone. Trying to protect myself!

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Spyware is device specific, not number specific

From Josh Kirschner on January 26, 2018 :: 2:50 am

The types of spyware you are likely to encounter are device-specific. That is, they are apps installed on a specific device and are not connected to the phone number of that device. There are some types of spying that are based on phone number (see SS7 vulnerability above), but it’s unlikely that your ex would be able to engage in that type of spying unless she is particularly strong technically and connected into major spy agencies or shady security software circles.

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got eem

From Tor on January 25, 2018 :: 7:05 pm

God bless your sweet heart, josh. Youre such a trooper replying to these insane comments

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Txt message

From Ijim on January 31, 2018 :: 9:18 am

My wife’s phone supposedly has been hacked her text messages are between two people supposedly her and someone else can a hacker put up these messages

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how to tell if phone is hacked

From Kimberly on February 10, 2018 :: 7:17 pm

My cell phone bill is very high a lot of Gig a bite’s used and I hardly use it ? what do I do also I’m locked out of my Apps I could really use some help

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Not clear what is happening

From Josh Kirschner on February 12, 2018 :: 4:00 pm

You didn’t say what type of phone you have, but you can see what apps are using data in Settings>Cellular>Usage on iPhone or Settings>Network & Internet>Data Usage>Mobile Data Usage on Android to see what apps are using your data (these settings may vary slightly depending on what version of Android/iOS you’re running and your phone manufacturer.

As far as being locked out of your apps, I don’t understand what you mean by that. Can you elaborate?

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Confused

From Dani on February 15, 2018 :: 11:17 pm

So, out of vulnerability I did a survey for an Amazon gift card stupidly, put in my number and email. Is there a possibility of getting hacked and how would I know? Please help!

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Hacked? No. Spam? Yes.

From Josh Kirschner on February 16, 2018 :: 11:35 am

There’s no way someone can hack you just by knowing your phone number and email address. However, it does open you up for phishing type attacks. That said, these gift card things are usually a way of collecting info so they can spam you and resell your email address to others to spam you.

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Last resort.

From SKM on February 18, 2018 :: 3:36 am

After reading through all of the messages to you, I was relieved to see you still are responding. And shocked, I must say.  I have had suspicions that my husband has been tracking my phones for the last 6 or so years. It’s past suspicion, I know, but being that no matter what I do, nothing changes. I’ve learned to just turne a blind eye bc at some point it can drive oneself mad. A few examples: My text messages have shown as duplicates on my bill, for a few years with ATT and now Sprint. My Usage shows in gigabytes. Completely disproportionate from my actual usage. I read your older post before this one, and saw what I had expected all along about the “android system” showing in my app info. I had done all I could with android and felt too vulnerable, so finally switched back to IPhones. I have the strangest system diagnostic show up. He acts ignorant to all things phone related, yet is a frequent follower of Github. He is a gamer, and always has to the best electronics. And for just our household he has to always have what he deems the best for computer equipment. He is very savvy. We have an Asus dual band 802.11 AC gigabyte router, which makes me wonder if the hacking is network related. I’ve done everything you have said and more. I change passwords, I stopped using FB or any other social media site bc I didn’t want to make it any easier. I have read so many books trying to learn anything I can about all things computers: networks, p2p, java, coding (mainly bc I found a file on his computer with so much code, much of it with target 0 and I thought that may be the key). Much of it doesn’t soak in. It’s hard to when I have to constantly look up what what thing means just to turn around and have to look up another. Programing is just not in the cards for me!
I know you are busy, but anything you can do to help would be so greatly appreciated. I will gladly pay for your services. I look forward to hearing from you. I’ll be checking my email! Thank you!

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Follow our advice above first, then deal with bigger issue

From Josh Kirschner on February 20, 2018 :: 5:33 pm

From what you said in your note I’m not clear on why you think you’re being spied on, beyond excess data usage (which you can check in your settings to to see what apps are using your data). My daughter had HUGE data usage (GBs) simply because she had her Instagram set to download data in the background. Once we changed that on her phone, her data dropped significantly.

With the iPhone, it’s very difficult to spy on someone unless their iPhone is jailbroken or they have access to your iCloud account. If neither of those things is true, then it probably isn’t happening, but you can always reset your phone to confirm and ensure you have a lock feature that no one can bypass except for you in the future.

You can easily monitor network traffic via a home network if you know what you’re doing, but that wouldn’t be true for text messages or any encrypted connections (https).

Perhaps the more fundamental question you need to ask is not a technical one, but a human one. If you and your husband don’t have a basic level of trust, and you haven’t for at least the six years you think he has been spying on you, isn’t that the real issue? Because even if I could prove to you that he was spying on your phone (or that he wasn’t), resolving that doesn’t change the relationship issues that are causing the situation you’re writing in about - those will still be there long after your phone issues are resolved and will just foment themselves in other ways.

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Hey josh- how would u

From Anon on July 08, 2018 :: 3:04 pm

Hey josh- how would u monitor home traffic?

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The easiest way is through your router

From Josh Kirschner on July 08, 2018 :: 8:46 pm

Many home routers offer logs or built-in parental control features that let you see what sites are being visited. There are also “sniffer” programs that let you monitor network activity from a computer. A quick Google search will provide more info for you if you’re interested in getting into the details.

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I dont feel alone...

From Pool Boy on November 16, 2018 :: 11:05 pm

All i can say is wow…i have ben reading and feeling the same exact way for almist as long..i know its there..follwing me my number..etc..when i sked her about code she acted stupid although i saw apps on her laptop that when i looked them up it was for coding are related to help (ssh) she denies then they disapear…. She runs all internet so to say networks etc..she runs to mailbox to always “get” mail..i find shredded are mail coming in to her as prepaid cards she laffs o thats junk…i dont get those..she has tons of “Aliases” i think they call them..but point…when i find something online. Its like im denied..get error are i never find again..especially after Google sets in.

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Help.. hacked?

From MB on February 21, 2018 :: 4:19 pm

I got 2 messages from an unrecognized number giving me “info on my BF cheating”. There was info that was accurate enough to where they knew personal info. When I reached out to him, via phone and text he never responded… very odd given our ages and the fact that I’ve known him literally our entire life. Could someone have hacked or blocked my messages to him?

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It's possible

From Josh Kirschner on February 26, 2018 :: 3:19 pm

It’s possible that your messages are being blocked, but it would more likely be something that someone (your boyfriend or someone with access to his phone) did on your boyfriend’s phone (simple number block), rather than hacking. It’s also possible that your boyfriend is cheating, knows you know, and is just ignoring your calls/messages.

The fix here is probably an in-person conversation with your boyfriend.

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Can you literally watch someone from a thousand miles away?

From Dex on February 27, 2018 :: 9:00 pm

A friend of mine said that her boyfriend claimed to have visual coverage over her whilst he was in Europe. Not just a GPS location but that he claimed that he could see what she was doing and who or what was close to her. I told her he is bluffing but she claimed otherwise. I need clarification as to whether or not such tech is accessible to civilians and if so is it true that you can see someone in real time? Need some clarification…..

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Yes, it's possible

From Josh Kirschner on February 28, 2018 :: 2:42 am

If you read our story on cell phone spying apps we linked to above (https://www.techlicious.com/review/android-spyware-apps-how-dangerous-are-they/), you’ll see that these apps would allow a spy to use the phone’s camera and microphone to spy on the person and their surroundings. So if her boyfriend installed one of these apps on her phone then, yes, he could have been spying on her even when she was in Europe since these spy apps can be controlled anywhere via the Internet.

While that is a possibility, it’s certainly not possible that he could have been spying on her by hacking global security/traffic cameras or spy satellites - that is purely in the realm of fiction (with acknowledgement that it is possible in limited scenarios for nation state law enforcement and spy operations).

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Explain this

From Cynthia Snook on March 01, 2018 :: 1:22 am

My phone said “attention”,while I was texting.In the Google lady’s voice?

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My phone did the same sort of thing

From Mely on March 24, 2019 :: 2:07 pm

Someone spoke to me through my phone and referenced my place of employment, what the hell is this and how?!

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I guess you not gonna answer

From Cynthia Snook on March 02, 2018 :: 11:23 am

I was waiting for an answer to why my phone spoke by itself while I was texting someone .In the Google lady’s voice it said “attention”.That was

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Hello,why you ignore my question?

From Cynthia Snook on March 07, 2018 :: 8:16 pm

I have posted three times.I want to know why my phone would talk by itself when I’m actually texting someone else.The phone said in the Google lady’s voice,“attention” and that was all?

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Here's your answer

From Josh Kirschner on March 08, 2018 :: 3:44 am

I have no idea why your phone said attention. Since it apparently only happened once, it was probably just some random combination of factors. It doesn’t sound like anything related to hacking.

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Caller Changes to unknown whilst on a call

From Pegz on March 07, 2018 :: 10:47 pm

When on a call, the name of the caller changes to unknown and the timer restarts. What does that mean?

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Not sure, but have a guess

From Josh Kirschner on March 08, 2018 :: 10:15 pm

That’s not an issue I’ve heard of before. I’m guessing that it may be some error of handoff when your phone is switching between cell towers, or perhaps when the phone is switching between cellular and Wi-Fi calling. It doesn’t sound to me like a spyware issue.

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Helloooo ,why won't you reply?

From Cynthia Snook on March 07, 2018 :: 11:21 pm

Is there any particular reason I’m getting ignored on this forum? I asked my question three times!

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your'e an a$$

From noname on May 21, 2019 :: 3:04 pm

Lady chill out. Maybe instead of using your cell phone, go grab some Xanax or something.

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Chill Lady!

From Kellydee on August 29, 2019 :: 1:14 pm

Seriously I agree this lady needs a chill pill or some sorta therapy maybe

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Umm okay then

From Cynthia Snook on March 07, 2018 :: 11:22 pm

Gee thanks for nothing!

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Also Gang Stalked (Toronto, Canada)

From Melissa b on March 08, 2018 :: 9:19 pm

I have been hacked and stalked by a religious vigilante group because I am a disabled sex worker and they don’t want me living in their building anymore which is beside their Catholic Church parish :(

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Well is there anything that

From Cynthia Snook on March 17, 2018 :: 11:40 am

Well is there anything that you can tell me what those factors are that you said it could be a combination of,if not hacked then please explain something?

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Just guessing

From Josh Kirschner on March 18, 2018 :: 7:55 pm

Weird stuff happens with tech all the time. If it is repeatable, you can try to track down the cause. If it’s a minor one-time thing, it can be extremely difficult to determine what happened. If I had to venture a guess, you probably had a video or ad that popped up for a moment in the background, and the “attention” you heard was from that. It may have sounded like the Google voice, but probably wasn’t. That’s the best guess I’ve got.

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I'm sure of one thing

From Cynthia Lyn Snook on March 30, 2018 :: 4:54 am

That was Google lady’s voice.That is something I’m positive about that’s why it’s tripping me out

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