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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

Help me please.

From Richard Trekell on June 27, 2018 :: 10:10 am

My phone is acting really weird. I think it must of been hacked can u help me?

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Hacked help

From Jayson Collin Underwood on July 02, 2018 :: 8:34 am

So I have noticed all
Of a sudden there is a clicking sound through out every phone call this has never happened before
I keep turning find my iPhone and every time I go back into it it’s always switched on
I have noticed recently that messages and notifications pop up but when I go into it they disappear
My Apple Music just lost all what I had then next minute it had a whole selection of song I hate and have never downloaded
Please help
If there is a way to catch them out or sever the connection
And also have just noticed that my phone isn’t doing face recognition on downloading from iTunes or the App Store
I have a feeling I may no who it is
Byt
No proof

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Hacked bad

From Concerned on July 11, 2018 :: 8:27 am

So.. someone managed to get into all our devices. 2 phones a tablet and
2 computers. I had strange numbers call daily from all over the US. Some didnt say where they originated.  I never answered but the would leave VOICEMAIL And only say my name sounded like different ppl everytime. They changed administrative control on my comp and set up a guest account which went unnoticed for a long time. Erased my gmail inbox or denied me access. Blatently set up a very obvious soundbar which would move if we spoke recording from every Bluetooth device we had. Ads sites and ppp ups pertaining to conversations or relate to something relevant in our lives freauently.setting were constantly restored after my restrictions or just no longer availble to change. I could not factory reset my tablet at all. Had to shut down everything. Unplug devices modems amd routers and completely replace them. Get new phones and numbers. Things seemed fine but my boyfriend swears its happening again. Someone sent a picture to my boyfriend from my Facebook account which wasnt me.
I think i know who it is but dont know why. They are known to is and have made remarks in convos that they should not know. What do we do if its happening again. They are shady for sure and live on our street.

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tip https wmail9798@gmail.com

From ann on August 18, 2018 :: 4:33 am

More on phone

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Implantables are here and dangerous as You know what!

From deana on August 24, 2018 :: 11:31 am

You did not mention reversing electric signals using unacknowledged and stolen implantable technology used by criminals for harassment mind sabotage and information gathering through computer and reversed spy listening! Criminals figured out how to use the old “Spy cat 2-way war implants” now they are updated and anyone could have them and being stalked followed listened to and even being spied on and or robbed right under their nose but through their own body! Read Nano Implants want to know.com and this stuff is sold everywhere over the internet even in E-bay and all they have to do is hire a doctor to put them in! Dentally or surgically without your knowledge! and they think no-one can hear them because it is an internal real implantable 2-way spy implant1

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I was hacked by jealous boyfriend

From Candace on August 25, 2018 :: 2:52 pm

My phone was taken from me while I was pretending to be asleep. He did a free 5 day trial and could track my every move, see inbound and outbound texts as well as phone calls and all social media. He told me after the free five day trial was up he quit tracking me from that spy crap. How do I know for sure that I’m not being hacked,stalked, recorded and most importantly he can erase everything in my phone if he wanted to. Please help

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Help Required Please

From Rayhan on September 04, 2018 :: 4:59 am

Dear
i am using huawei P10lite, i just saw an email id
add in setting>accounts without my consent.
i dont how its add in.
my mobile is protected with bio metric security

please help me out

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FAke hacker

From Sayyed Shakir on September 18, 2018 :: 9:24 am

folks be careful of .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) same person. They will ask for money and then pretend to work on your case. After sometime will ask for additional money to go ahead. If you say no will disappear. He is completely fake

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how to know my mobile is hacked or not

From prity on September 21, 2018 :: 3:16 pm

pls tell me how to know is anyone else trapping my phone

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possibility of someone on phone other than me

From Jesse on September 22, 2018 :: 9:48 am

So a ccouple of days ago i got a text saying my photos are on WhatsApp
i had ignored but in typing a response to the person “who is this” i pressed preview and now my phone is acting up and it feels like someone is using it cause its opening apps up that i’ve never used, i have even reset my phone and still am having these weird actions pretty often

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I wanna knw did my phone was hacked

From Sofi on November 05, 2018 :: 10:45 am

When I try to open my fb acct ma password showed that it was wrong later some how I deactivated my account… Late I got a call from +8265number tell me did my phn was hacked by some one or not please

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Plz help

From Adrian on November 27, 2018 :: 8:35 am

Hello i am in need of help i have been hacked over and over everytime i create a new account through google i get hacked again, i have also changed phones 4 or 5 times and within a week they have me again i even went with another phone company and they hacked me within a weeks time thwy are also on my phone i can hear what sounds like a landline pickup and then hangup my calls have been redirected also plz if anyone can help me, they have also taken around 480.00 out of my account.

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Phones hacked and spyed on 24/7

From Billy on December 08, 2018 :: 1:13 pm

How can I figure out and put an end to finding out who is hacking into and spying on my phone and invading my privacy so that I can take legal actions against them to make sure get what got coming and prevent it from being a Continuous reoccurring situation

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phone hacked maybe

From manahil on December 14, 2018 :: 10:32 am

i dnt know my phone shuts in the middle of whatever I am using and it then restarts after a bit. it slows down while it doesnt has a specific problem.
i think its hacked. my phone is samsung galaxy note 4
please help

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Sounds more like a phone issue

From Josh Kirschner on December 14, 2018 :: 11:30 am

That sounds more like a phone issue than hacking. Have you tried factory resetting the phone to see if that helps things?

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Facebook recovery

From KB on March 04, 2019 :: 12:25 pm

I am also a victim of hacking and identity thief as well. I went to the Police, I contacted everyone I could like credit card bureau.
  I have switched banks, phone numbers, email accounts, routers. You name it and I have done it. Factory reset my iPhone, iPad and Mac so many times and yet still being hacked.
  I hear a doorbell noise in the background during phone calls. And/or my phone vibrates in my hand when I am talking on the phone.
  Talking with Apple I would get disconnected so many times and Apple Fraud always said they would call back but then hacker would block their call.
  Such a nightmare!! 
I have to pretty much let go of this as I have literally just given up.  It was taking up months of my time and energy to fight Chase Bank on realizing this truly was happening. My air printer was stopped when I was printing off evidence of the monies that were being taken out so I could use it as evidence.
  To this day I cannot use my new printer as hacker still controls everything WiFi in my home.
  But what I am asking about is much more important to me than it should be but perhaps you will understand? My 31 year old Son’s life was taken from him in a violent and totally unexpected death. Then 10 months later my husband passed away (whose account was also being hacked after he passed).  What happens to any app I install that requires a password and I will put really hard to guess passwords down. I go into the app and all is good and then after I close out of the App EACH and EVERY time when I try to go back in. Wrong password. So I get the secret code from two factor and by the time I type that code in -‘hacker has already picked it up and now my code is invalid.
  To make a long story short. I SO need and want my FaceBook account back!!!  It has comments and posts from friends about my husband a Son that I have never seen. I had saved posts and pictures from them as wellb before they even passed away. Our life history is on FB. There were literally hundreds of comments that I couldn’t not go and read at the time. They, as you can imagine, will be priceless to me now.  When I felt like I was contacting FB they asked me to send a pic of my passport or drivers license??? I DONT THINK SO!!
  I did not know if anyone knows how to contact the LEGIT FACEBOOK reps as I just come up with total phishing when I try it and I won’t (hopefully) be fooled again.
  I so have a different email that I did have when I opened my FB account years ago but that is the email that got hacked into so I can’t use it or the hacker gets the link to reset it on that old email.
  I would be forever grateful for any help in getting my memories back from my FB. I feel it is something that I cannot let go of until I have read and replies to the many PM’s and posts that friends and loved ones posted to help me with my healing process.
Thanking you in advance.

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Hacked messages

From Simphiwe on December 16, 2018 :: 1:27 pm

How do i stop the hack on my phone, its J5 Grand Prime?

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My vivo x21

From Lewis on December 22, 2018 :: 3:15 am

My vivo x21 I was cheated to trade in with my mate10 then later I realised it was a demo or China set n now my phone was ridiculous…  Games cannot play after do.  Group chat in SMS after my so called friend use my phone when working. I lend my hot spot to a person name ah tan n he act as if dunno hp… But he asked to used my hot spot to dl play store then carousel then all becomes upside down… Pics coming to my album I dunno whose…  Pics of even my medicine in a physician…  Then I go interview I open GPS it juz shows rubbish direction…  N I am working n the apps also hang n I have no choice but to see the item address written 1 by 1 n was scolded for being slow for nothing…  Now my m1 dun even believed my data was overused…  It’s juz crazy…

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Hacked

From Adrian Gutierrez on December 26, 2018 :: 5:01 pm

I believe my girlfriend hacked my phone is using my emails to do fraudelent activities i need some help on how to handle this matter i called my local polica station and all they say is to factory reset the phone i need help guys i dont know what to do ?😞

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Need help on how to

From Perry B White on December 29, 2018 :: 6:20 am

Need help on how to spy and track a cheating spouse?

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iPhone 7plus

From Michelle on January 05, 2019 :: 11:55 am

For the past year I’ve been having a lot of random numbers on my monthly statement that I know I have not called or texted. A lot are calls and texts that are sent to me and it all looks like I’ve been having conversations with ppl with these unknown numbers. One number is the location where prisons and jails go through for inmates to make calls. I know I haven’t talked to anyone in prison or jail. This is causing a lot of problems with my boyfriend. I’ve tried calling the phone carrier I go through but they keep telling me that there’s no way for this to happen so it looks like I’m guilty and I’m not. Someone plz help me get this figured out.

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Calendar

From Joan Muscat on January 07, 2019 :: 8:58 pm

Can someone enter their birthday on your calendar?
I tried to remove it and found it was like a public holiday - locked in.

Then it just disappeared.

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You're probably syncing from another app

From Josh Kirschner on January 11, 2019 :: 1:23 pm

In your calendar settings, there is sometimes the option to sync holidays and birthdays from other services, like Google+. If you’re using Google Calendar, go to Settings and then click on Birthdays in the left panel to see what is syncing. You can also click the little eye next to Birthdays to hide birthdays from your calendar entirely.

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Phone hacked

From Sharon on January 26, 2019 :: 9:52 am

My contacts in the phone disappeared
And some of my emails disappeared

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H E L P

From GrannyBlu on January 27, 2019 :: 1:52 pm

My ex has my phone hacked. Tells me where I’ve search,  sites I’m on and who I’ve called or messaged.  An I dunno how.  I have my SD card encrpyped and I NOW have a pin on it,  but hasn’t always been as such. How can I tell without a doubt,  and stop it

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very smart mdn and xda dev is clever

From a on January 31, 2019 :: 10:33 pm

phone hacked. changed google voice num. only way is to change mac also laptop hacked. he did it via wifi thats close, conn to a unsecure phone and connected to laptop. it said via ethernet cable which was not even plugged in. deleted my stuff or put on his cloud. there issoftware pack that includes the tools used but i dont care he is admin on phone and binded all my abilities to use keyboard or touchscre.en. all i c ao do is wait for the day

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Suspected hack using mobile data

From Cs101 on February 16, 2019 :: 5:26 pm

Hi wondering if someone can help.
I’m a former fraud analyst for a retail company so I’m quite knowledgeable about fraud but something has stumped me.

A friend of mine was complaining they were using there mobile data (10gb in 18 days)
I looked at there phone and the email account had used 8gb looked into there email account and spam was being sent from there mailbox. Not a massive amount but I’m working on the assumption some was deleted. It’s mostly background data. Is there a way they have sent it through the phone remotely? Other than that I’m thinking they’re possibly putting the email to be sent on a delay or putting it into the outbox and it’s being sent through the phone which has a constant connection.
But I don’t have a clue why the hacker wouldn’t send it through there own device.
Ran a scan using avast and nothing is showing and no accounts linked to the email seem to have been compromised.

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Here's one possibility

From Josh Kirschner on February 16, 2019 :: 9:35 pm

It’s a little tricky to determine what’s happening without being able to analyze the phone in more detail. But since you say you have seen some spam being sent from this account, one possibility is that there is a large quantity of spam being sent from the account (not necessarily via the phone) and when those sent messages are synced up to the phone that’s where the data usage happens. The messages are then deleted by the spammer to either avoid detection or to ensure the mailbox doesn’t run out of space and get frozen.

That said, 10gb is a huge amount of data for email. I would think that send limits or fraud detection would kick in before it got to that point, but maybe not. Again, would really need to be able to analyze the data further.

In any case, if it is email spam that is the problem, solving it is really simple. Change the email password immediately, turn on two-factor authentication and follow the other steps in our article for what to do when your email gets hacked.

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Hello please

From Molly Byrd on February 16, 2019 :: 6:59 pm

found out recently that my mother’s phone has been hacked by this chick enter a code into it and now when someone calls her this number pops up that wasn’t there before. Now I’m starting to have a weird number popping up when people call me. It would be the phone number and then rn=+1318422 does anyone know what that means is my phone really hacked and if it is what do I need to do.

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My sister...

From Diane Combs on February 21, 2019 :: 12:18 pm

My sister got a hold of my phone and retrieved my deleted messages. So she said. Ruining my life. Help me find out if she did. or is still. I know nothing about phone’s other than text and talk.

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Help

From Malcom on February 26, 2019 :: 8:09 am

Help me my been hacked

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How do you tell if you are being cyber attacked?

From James Williams on February 26, 2019 :: 3:02 pm

A colleague of mine has been making a video documentary based on real and fresh data relating to Government corruption. However, his computer started crashing. He bought another, new computer and after a while that started crashing too. He consulted with tech people who confirmed that neither computers should be behaving like that. How can he find out if he is the target of a government agency/big tech cyber attack?

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Most likely, his computer is just crashing

From Josh Kirschner on February 26, 2019 :: 3:13 pm

It’s not that unusual for computers to have issues that cause them to crash. This, alone, is indicative of nothing, and could just be bad luck or related to software that your friend is installing on his or her computers. If you’re in the US, I would say there is zero chance this is related to any type of government retribution.

Now, if your friend is an a country that has a history of repressing government critics - Saudi Arabia, China, Russia, etc. - than maybe there’s a chance that this could be related to government hacking/spyware. But it’s impossible to say more without knowing the details of what is occurring, what anti-malware protection your friend has in place, and what hardware and software they’re using.

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How do you tell if you are being cyber attacked?

From James Williams on February 26, 2019 :: 4:41 pm

Thank you for such a rapid response. We are not in the US and my colleague has high profile notoriety that is why I believe that is not unlikely. Government has been shown to spy on its citizens. I cannot disclose any names because of that. But, how can the devices being used be checked for external tampering to prove or otherwise? I am on this site enquiring because things are getting a tad scary and this seems more discreet.

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Prevention is more important than detection

From Josh Kirschner on February 26, 2019 :: 6:21 pm

If you’re talking about state actors, there are so many ways a computer could be compromised that you always need to focus on prevention first, not detection (which can be very difficult with that level of surveillance). That means having a computer fully encrypted with a complex password (and, ideally, two-factor authentication for access). Ensuring that online access is only made via a trusted VPN and TOR (https://www.techlicious.com/tip/how-to-browse-the-web-anonymously/)or, better yet, completely air-gapping the computer and keeping it stored in a secure location.

I’m not an expert in this specific area, however, there are resources out there from investigative journalism organizations such as https://www.icij.org/blog/2018/01/five-digital-security-tools-to-protect-your-work-and-sources/ and https://gijn.org/digital-security/.

Some one is hacking my phone and signing in and out of my stuff

From Nick Fowler on March 09, 2019 :: 10:22 pm

Please help figure out whats going on. I have a lg charge and someone has been logging into my stuff.mt phone is on an account of 5 other people.is it them or what. Please help me

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Can you provide more info?

From Josh Kirschner on March 15, 2019 :: 4:21 pm

Not clear what you are observing that is making you believe other people are logging into your accounts. Can you provide more info on what is going on?

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Encrypted but hacked.

From Laurence on March 15, 2019 :: 9:10 am

Hi Josh,
I have strong passwords, encrypted phone and end -to-end encryption chats ie, WhatsApp and signal but my spouse still has my chats and can even access my phones without touching my phone. I haved changed phones but she still has remote access to my phone. How is they possible?

Kindly assist.

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More detail?

From Josh Kirschner on March 15, 2019 :: 4:23 pm

What have you seen that makes you think your spouse can access your phone? What kind of phone do you have?

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How cracked apps can be installes

From Artorius the Great on March 17, 2019 :: 9:31 am

Hi!

So you are connected to a network?
You choose update app? Well you might be fucked now!

It could be a cracked app!

How do you know that you are connected to the sever of apple or google?! You don’t.

Update is finished installing? Enjoy your spyware!

How is this possible? You can install custom roms for you’re phone by connecting to a proxy; so in the same way a custom rom could be installed!

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BEG U TO HELP ME STOP THIS INSANITY 6TH TIME BEEN FULLY TAPPED AND HACKED

From Kyerra snyder on March 19, 2019 :: 10:29 pm

HI I HAVE MAJOR ISSUES MY FACEBOOK EMAIL SAMSUNG CLOUD ALL POSSIBLE GMKEEPS GETTING CHANGED HACKED PRETEMDING TO B ME THIS IS MY 4TH SAMSUNG PHONE GONE THROUGH SAYS I HAVE THIRD PARTY APPS AND TAKES PIX OF ME SAYING FRAMEWORK USER SCOPED IT CONTROLS MY SETTINGS WHENEVER IT WANTS LOCKS OUT OF PERONAL IMPPRTANT ACCNTS N PASSWORDS !!!!! IM NOT GOOD WITH ELECTRONICAL DEVICES

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awesome

From lucy on March 21, 2019 :: 10:58 am

great

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Bf

From Manda on March 21, 2019 :: 1:52 pm

I know my bf put something on my phone to see everything might have cloned it how do I find out

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Phone is Cloned

From Phone Cloned on March 27, 2019 :: 11:45 am

My girlfriends ex has her phone cloned.  He has access to her mic, her messages and photos.  He regularly sends me photos shes taken on her phone.  He also has the ability to change her settings, as he regularly turns off her location settings and texts that he is coming to take her (he uses web based texting and the police wont do anything as theres nothing tying it to him)
How do I break a clone like this to an iPhone 8 plus?

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confusion

From Mia on March 31, 2019 :: 1:45 pm

Can someone please explain why on my account on LINE, some random texted me saying “I’ll flick your ears Mia”

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Phone hacked

From Vicki Matthews on March 31, 2019 :: 6:35 pm

My boyfriend hacked my phone and I can’t get him to stop can I please get someone to help me

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im being gang stalked and bullied by anieghbor who has access to my phone

From chris on April 06, 2019 :: 5:03 pm

IM being gang stalked and harassed by a number of individuals who liven in a house nearby they got a living situation from a dead relative and are usin git to hack people in my neighbor hood but are targetting me based on the fact that I make financial and life mistakes and am also disabled which is why IM now being harrassed daily for it I dont know what to do As they have hacked my phone and feel as though IM being surveyed constantly by these people please help

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Whats up with this

From Stacia Ry on April 24, 2019 :: 3:34 am

So i met a cool woman who is going to be at the same convention I am next year and we excahnged numbers. I saw her call my cell from hers so I would have her number and then she texted me from the same phone so I would have her correct spelling. The txt number was not the same as the number that called in and was logged. I took a print screen of it cuz I thought it was a weird glitch and an hour later the txt matched the number she called in on. So i checked the print screen and sure enough it was different. Do you think it was just a glitch?

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Yeah, sounds glitchy

From Josh Kirschner on April 24, 2019 :: 1:58 pm

Not clear why that would happen, whether it has to do with her iMessage set up or something else, but doesn’t sound like anything to worry too much about.

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HELP phone hacked

From Linda Nuehring on April 25, 2019 :: 5:04 am

My phones hacked by several people and monitering me 24/ 7. They prevent me from getting phone calls and emails and also prevented me from being able to call to contact my employer.

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