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How to Tell if Your Phone Has Been Hacked

by on May 28, 2020
in Privacy, Phones and Mobile, Mobile Apps, Tips & How-Tos :: 605 comments

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How to Tell if Your Phone Has Been Hacked

From email to banking, our smartphones are the main hub of our online lives. No wonder that smartphones rival computers as common targets for online hackers. And despite the efforts of Google and Apple, mobile malware continues to land in official app stores – and these malicious apps are getting sneakier. According to the McAfee 2020 Mobile Threat Report, over half of mobile malware apps “hide” on a device, without a homescreen icon, hijacking the device to serve unwanted ads, post bogus reviews, or steal information that can be sold or used to hold victims to ransom.

And while iPhones can be hacked, more malware targets Android devices. In its 2020 State of Malware Report, MalwareBytes reported a rise in aggressive adware and preinstalled malware on Android devices designed to steal data – or simply victims’ attention.

Malware can also 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.

It is often downloaded from non-official sources, including phishing links sent via email or message, as well as malicious websites. (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.)

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 twelve 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-criminal’s wallet. In this case, check your phone bill for any costs you don’t recognize.

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.

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.

What to do if your phone is hacked

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 Bitdefender or McAfee for their robust feature sets and high ratings from independent malware analysis labs.

And while iPhones may be less prone to hacks, 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 $2.99/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. And unless you’re a high-profile target – journalist, politician, political dissident, business executive, criminal – that warrants special interest, it’s far more likely to be someone close to you than a government entity doing the spying.

12 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 twelve 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 possibly 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 Bitdefender or McAfee, and for iOS, we recommend Lookout for iOS.

2. Phishing messages

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

And with people often checking their email apps throughout the day, phishing emails are just as lucrative for attackers.

Periods such as tax season tend to attract a spike in phishing messages, preying on people’s concern over their tax return, while this year’s coronavirus-related government stimulus payment period has resulted in a bump in phishing emails purporting to be from the IRS.

Android phones may also fall prey to texts 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.). Android will warn you, though, when you try to download an unofficial app and ask your permission to install it – do not ignore this warning.

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.
  • Check the IRS’s phishing section to familiarize yourself with how the tax agency communicates with people, and verify any communications you receive
  • 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 try to download an unofficial app, your Android phone should notify you before installing it. If you ignored the warning or the app somehow otherwise bypassed Android security, delete the app and/or run a mobile security scan.

3. 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 are 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.

4. Bluetooth hacking

Any wireless connection may be vulnerable to cyber-snoops – and earlier this year, security researchers found a vulnerability in Android 9 and older devices that would allow hackers to secretly connect over Bluetooth, then scrape data on the device. (In Android 10 devices, the attack would have crashed Bluetooth, making connection impossible.)

While the vulnerability has since been patched in security updates out soon after, attackers may be able to hack your Bluetooth connection through other vulnerabilities – or by tricking you into pairing with their device by giving it another name (like ‘AirPods’ or another universal name). And once connected, your personal information would be at risk.

Likelihood

“Rather low, unless it is a targeted attack,” says Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky.“Even then, a lot of factors have to come together to make it possible.”

How to protect yourself

  • Only turn your Bluetooth on when you are actually using it
  • Don’t pair a device in public to avoid falling prey to malicious pairing requests.
  • Always download security updates to patch vulnerabilities as soon as they’re discovered

5. SIM swapping

Another reason to be stringent about what you post online: cybercriminals can call up cellular carriers to pose as legitimate customers who have been locked out of their accounts. By providing stolen personal information, they’re able to get the phone number ported to their own device and use it to ultimately take over a person’s online accounts. In a spat of Instagram handle thefts, for example, hackers used known login names to request password changes and intercept multi-factor authentication texts sent to the stolen phone number. The purpose? To hold victims for ransom or, in the case of high-value names, sell on underground marketplaces. Some people have also had cryptocurrency accounts hijacked and drained.

On top of that, researchers foundhttps://www.bitdefender.com/solutions/that there were representatives at all five major carriers who authenticated users giving the wrong information (such as billing address or zip code), by instead asking for the last three digits of the last two dialed numbers. Researchers were able to provide these details by first sending a text instructing users to call a certain number, which played a voicemail telling them to call a second number.

Likelihood

“Currently, SIM swapping is especially popular in Africa and Latin America,” says Galov. “But we know about modern cases from different countries worldwide.”

How to protect yourself

  • Don’t use guessable numbers for your carrier PIN – like your birthday or family birthdays, all of which could be found on social media.
  • Choose an authenticator app such as Authy or Google Authenticator instead of SMS for 2FA. “This measure will protect you in most cases,” says Galov.
  • Use strong passwords and multi-factor authentication for all your online accounts to minimize the risk of a hack that can reveal personal information used to hijack your SIM.

6. Hacked phone camera

As video calling becomes increasingly prevalent for work and family connection, it’s highlighted the importance of securing computer webcams from hackers – but that front-facing phone cam could also be at risk. A since-fixed glitch in the Android onboard Camera app, for example, would have allowed attackers to record video, steal photos and geolocation data of images, while malicious apps with access to your camera app (see below) might also allow cybercriminals to hijack your camera.

Likelihood

Less prevalent than computer webcam hacks.

How to protect yourself

  • Always download security updates for all apps and your device.

7. Apps that over-request permissions

While many apps over-request permissions for the purpose of data harvesting, some may be more malicious – particularly if downloaded from non-official stores – requesting intrusive access to anything from your location data to your camera roll.

According to Kaspersky research, many malicious apps in 2020 take advantage of access to Accessibility Service, a mode intended to facilitate the use of smartphones for people with disabilities. “With permission to use this, a malicious application has almost limitless possibilities for interacting with the system interface and apps,” says Galov. Some stalkerware apps, for instance, take advantage of this permission.

Free VPN apps are also likely culprits for over-requesting permissions. In 2019, researchers found that two-thirds of the top 150 most-downloaded free VPN apps on Android made requests for sensitive data such as users’ locations.

Likelihood

Over-requesting permissions happens commonly, Galov says.

How to protect yourself

  • Read app permissions and avoid downloading apps that request more access than they should need to operate.
  • Even if an app’s permissions seem to line up with its function, check reviews online.
  • For Android, download an antivirus app such as Bitdefender or McAfee that will scan apps before download, as well as flag suspicious activity on apps you do have.

8. Snooping via open Wi-Fi networks

The next time you happen upon a password-free Wi-Fi network in public, it’s best not to get online. 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. Nor is it necessarily a shifty manager of the establishment you’re frequenting. For example, someone physically across the road from a coffee shop 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.

How to protect yourself

  • Only use public Wi-Fi networks that are secured with a password and have WPA2/3 enabled (you’ll see this on the login screen requesting password), where traffic is encrypted by default during transmission.
  • Download a VPN app to encrypt your smartphone traffic. NordVPN (Android/iOS from $3.49/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).
  • Turning on two-factor authentication for online accounts will also help protect your privacy on public Wi-Fi.

9. Apps with weak encryption

Even apps that aren’t malicious can leave your mobile device vulnerable. According to InfoSec Institute, apps that use weak encryption algorithms can leak your data to someone looking for it. Or, those with improperly implemented strong algorithms can create other back doors for hackers to exploit, allowing access to all the personal data on your phone.

Likelihood

“A potential risk, but a less likely threat than others such as unsecured Wi-Fi or phishing,” says Galov.

How to protect yourself

  • Check app reviews online before downloading – not only on app stores (which are often subject to spam reviews), but on Google search, for sketchy behavior that other users may have reported.
  • If possible, only download apps from reputable developers – for example, who turn up on Google with positive reviews and feedback results, or on user reviews sites like Trustpilot. According to Kaspersky, “the onus is on developers and organizations to enforce encryption standards before apps are deployed.”

10. SS7 global phone network vulnerability

A communication protocol for mobile networks across the world, Signaling 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.

The security issues have been well-known for years, and hackers have been exploiting this hole to intercept two-factor authentication (2FA) codes sent via SMS from banks, with cybercriminals in Germany draining victims’ bank accounts. The UK’s Metro Bank fell prey to a similar attack.

This method could also be used to hack other online accounts, from email to social media, 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

The likelihood is growing, as the minimal resources needed to exploit this vulnerability have made it available to cybercriminals with a much smaller profile who are seeking to steal 2FA codes for online accounts – rather than tap the phones of political leaders, CEO or other people whose communications could hold high worth in underground marketplaces.

How to protect yourself

  • Choose email or (safer yet) an authentication app as your 2FA method, instead of SMS.
  • 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.

11. Malicious charging stations

While travel and tourism may not be on the horizon anytime soon, last year the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office released a security alert about the risk of hijacked public USB power charging stations in locations such as airports and hotels.

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 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 hijacked charging points, 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 ($9.99 for two-pack 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).

12. Fake cellular towers, like FBI’s Stingray

The FBI, IRS, ICE, DEA, U.S. National Guard, Army and Navy are among the government bodies known to use 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. The American Civil Liberties Union has identified over 75 federal agencies in over 27 states that own StingRays, but notes that this number is likely a drastic underestimate. Though some states outlaw the use of eavesdropping tech unless in criminal investigations, 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 will be unthinkable that we ever allowed our private conversations and information to fly through the ether unprotected.

Updated on 5/28/2020 with new ways your phone can be hacked and what you can do to protect yourself.

[image credit: hacker smartphone concept via BigStockPhoto]

Natasha Stokes has been a technology writer for more than 7 years covering consumer tech issues, digital privacy and cybersecurity. As the features editor at TOP10VPN, she covered online censorship and surveillance that impact the lives of people around the world. Her work has also appeared on BBC Worldwide, CNN, Time and Travel+Leisure.



Discussion loading

dumb question ??

From jack on September 05, 2019 :: 2:30 pm

I have an I phone 7 use it only for calls,
gps maps, news, weather, letgo,Line, it receives emails but I do not use it to answer them, is it dangerous to use it for texting.  What kind of damage could be don via it ?

Reply

Not much of a risk

From Josh Kirschner on September 06, 2019 :: 5:29 pm

The likelihood of an iPhone being compromised via text is very slim. Just make sure you have it updated to the latest iOS and don’t click on any links or attachments from people you don’t know.

Reply

crypto text message

From evita on September 11, 2019 :: 11:34 pm

hi guys, i have received yesterday a text message that looks a code or a spyware, it comes from a person who is mentally obsessed with my but harmless and 20.000 km far away( i’m in australia she is in italy). can somebody help me understanding what kind of message it is and if there is any way i can track down the origin of it?

Reply

How can I stop my phone from being hacked

From Jason Perrott on September 12, 2019 :: 10:29 am

Hi my name is Jason I have a 6s and I’m having a problem with some dip ass hacking my phone I need a link or something I can go to he or she has locked me out of my accounts and it’s very frustrating and help please

Reply

Phone hack or account hack?

From Josh Kirschner on September 12, 2019 :: 1:22 pm

If you’re being locked out of your accounts, it’s more likely that your login(s) have been compromised than your phone hacked. Depending on which accounts you’re locked out of, each service has it’s own process for recovering your account. If you maintain complex, unique passwords, and use two-factor authentication, the ability to hack your accounts will go down significantly.

If your iPhone actually was hacked, it usually only occurs when your iPhone is jailbroken (easy to check via Lookout or another security tool) and someone had physical access to it, though there are hacks that don’t require this. Ensuring you’re always updated to the latest iOS can prevent this.

Reply

my boyfriend read my texts and saw pics

From Tara on September 13, 2019 :: 8:50 am

My boyfriend claims to have hacked my phone…digital fingerprint he said and my storage. He has mentioned things that were in the texts. How can I protect this from happening again in the future

Reply

Dump boyfriend, upgrade security

From Josh Kirschner on September 13, 2019 :: 5:52 pm

The first thing you need to do is lose the boyfriend. No one should be wasting time dating a controlling, abusive partner. This time it’s the phone, next time it’s something else. I don’t see how this ends well…

To keep your tech secure from someone who lives with you (or is with you all the time) and has shown a history of violating your trust isn’t easy. To keep your phone secure, remove any fingerprint or facial logins. Change your lockscreen password to something difficult to guess and never let him see you enter it.

Once your phone is secure, get a password manager and use it to change all of your passwords - email, bank accounts, social media, etc - to complex, unique passwords that can’t be guessed. Set up all your accounts for two-factor authentication, where possible. Finally, set up a complex password for your computer login and set your computer to automatically lock when not in use for a short period of time. Ensure you have a strong anti-malware program (Bitdefender, Norton, Kaspersky) on your computer to avoid falling victim to RAT or other monitoring software.

Finally, consider the risk of hidden cameras and how to detect them, that he may be using to monitor you.

That’s a lot of tech fixes, but it’s really the relationship fix that needs to happen.

Reply

Cyber stalking and service hacking signal disruption spying on me and sending pain thru a website or

From James beshears on September 17, 2019 :: 7:25 pm

I’m a ex soldier and a Christian . I am being cyber stalked and attacked on my Facebook messages being blocked muscle spasms sent from a website I’m told by my stalkers and the numbers I call show up in red and have a middle eastern accent and tell me there the fbi.what website is it and how do I get it stop I’ve been done this way for a yr and ten months

Reply

Cyberstalking

From James beshears on September 17, 2019 :: 7:29 pm

My service and all games everything is being mess with by a group of woman at the mcminn county justice center. There using some website to track my phone my Facebook and messenger and when I try to call the fbi they forward my calls to the ion. That tell me there the fbi and they can’t help me

Reply

Trojans by bluetooth

From Barros Mariclara on September 25, 2019 :: 3:32 pm

Hi everyone.
My mobile is infected by 2 trojans and a system apk “chat”. I’ve downloaded a lot of antivirus and antimalwares, but none of them solved the problem. My phone behavior is: battery is charging and discharging quickly, a lot of ads has invaded my phone after desk.plugin.com arrive again and again and again (this is one of the trojans), the phone, SMS, Whatsapp, Messenger, Chrome and other apk stop unexpectedly etc. .
Another thing is happining:
my phone hangs up all the time, and and when I turn it on again, Bluetooth is open. This happens every time.
The other trojan is wi-fi settings.
All these trojans comes even with the antivirus installed.
I don’t want to reset the factory settings. I want a antivirus or a way to kill this virus for good. 
Do you know a way to destroy them and to recover the battery and the system?
Tks a lot.

Reply

Same here

From Prezli on November 16, 2020 :: 3:52 pm

I’ve never had this problem with iPhone before & actually didn’t know it could happen as long as I kept my iOS updated. I don’t want to lose all my data on my phone by doing a factory reset & not sure that would even solve the issues. Lost my faith in Apple. Someone please help!

Reply

Ms

From Masi on October 03, 2019 :: 12:32 pm

Hi
My phone is iPhone 7 , someone is clearly hear my conversations and see my text massage and emails, how would i stop this??

Reply

What are you seeing that makes you think that is happening?

From Josh Kirschner on October 03, 2019 :: 4:52 pm

Unless you are running an old version of iOS and your phone is jailbroken, it is highly unlikely anyone is listening to your conversations or accessing the other information through your iPhone. It’s possible they’re accessing your email or texts online because your passwords are compromised.

What makes you think this someone can hear your conversations and read your info? What version of iOS are your running and have you checked your phone to see if it is jailbroken (see article above)?

Reply

iPhone 8 is synced to husbands samsung 8

From Bon on October 05, 2019 :: 9:48 am

Hi we are in the Sam plans & he is the admin well I notice weird things happening to. My phone so I did so tricks to find out .phones are synced… 😡😡😡🤬 I can NEVER get his phone to undo!!! Please help ASAP

Reply

Hack

From Al Sturdivant on October 06, 2019 :: 10:14 pm

My email been hacked how can it be stopped????

Reply

HiMy mobile is hacked and

From Monica Gregorio on October 11, 2019 :: 2:32 pm

Hi
My mobile is hacked and all my accounts were hacked too
I know who it is but I don’t have proves
Help please

Reply

My spouse hacked ALL my devices to hide...help please?

From Tammy C on October 11, 2019 :: 4:25 pm

I’ve been hacked(EVERY device, pictures, emails,cable etc.). Hacked by what I thought a cheating spouse or a least hoping a spouse going to great lengths to hide his DEVASTATING PORN ADDICTION. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE help me throw it in his face “YOUR busted NOW STOP”.

Reply

I have a doubt is my mobile is hacked or not

From Anand N S on October 14, 2019 :: 12:22 pm

Kindly help me..

I want to know. Is my mobile is hacked or not
Because charge decrease very fastly and data is also automatically decreases

Reply

H

From Hey what on October 20, 2019 :: 1:46 pm

I’m sorry for offending all of you.

Reply

The Greensboro Police Department spammed

From Walle, Alexander on November 13, 2019 :: 8:30 pm

The Greensboro Police Department spammed my phone to no end after I dodged the Department and Allied Universal at Valley Hills Mall and what the Department does in District 3 is even worse and unsurprisingly known by many—there’s always that and what the Department does there is allow people to come to you or your property endlessly—you will instinctively know they are out to have you charged.  I was, although it took a few years and the Times should know the Department still stops people and even included Andrew Swofford in the scheme—he was a “creeper” before the Web aw

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Help

From Andy on November 16, 2019 :: 7:23 pm

Im Andy one yer ago I moved to nyc I met my ex partner . Now one year later I’ve been involved in a lot things that I don’t even understand, I don’t have privacy eve. I can’t browsing freely, please I would like take back that !

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The Greensboro Police Department, "Skip" and Marty Kotis

From Walle, A. on November 19, 2019 :: 2:22 pm

The Greensboro Police Department has had a time with my phone, so much I told Concentrix that I did not get their text until 1:30 despite their sending it at 8:30 A.M., that I get repeat messages with names of friends in the leader, their favorite out of the bunch being “Car repair warranty” ads—I was stopped by the GPD as I dropped my car-off at Firestone “You know where the Coliseum’s at..?”  It is how they let you know they’re watching you at all times; even Andrew “the Closet Creeper” got involved—in broad daylight—it’s really that bad with the GPD aw

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Voice mail hack

From Veronica on November 22, 2019 :: 7:45 am

Some how my daughter’s GM got changed on her IPhone X.  I called her phone she did not pick up and a vulgar GM message came on.  I called her back and asked why she had that message on her phone. She asked what message?  I called her back and merged call she heard it.  She tried to turn off her Vm.  Nothing worked and she could not shut it off.  I call my carrier and my pass code and verification questions were different.  So I was told I would need to go into a local carrier store and have them reset my passcode so that they could access my account to see what was going on with the Vm.  I asked the rep if this was a known problem. Of course she said no.  My daughter was flying out of state and this happened at 4:30 am.  I called and spoke to a different rep and was told o needed to speak to central billing or something and they could do a verification and reset code.  They open @ 8 am est.  I am so frustrated right now.  How did this happen to her phone?

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CAN A HACKER FILM YOU THROUGH YOUR PHONE

From Sally on November 25, 2019 :: 4:30 am

I was shopping on YouTube recently and a hacker has now emailed me saying I clicked on a link and has filmed me and is threatening to release footage to my clients.
Can this happen????

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That's a scam

From Josh Kirschner on November 25, 2019 :: 12:53 pm

What footage? Footage of you shopping? Or, more likely, footage claiming to have caught you doing something more private?

We covered this scam in detail here: https://www.techlicious.com/blog/is-the-porn-blackmail-scam-real/

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I'm confused now. A man

From Confused on November 27, 2019 :: 9:33 am

I’m confused now. A man claim that he hacked my Samsung Galaxy J3 and force me to open Skype or else he will spread my personal infomation online. Is he really hacking me or just lying to make me scared so I’ll follow his words? Anyway, he did gave me a link and when I click on it, there’s a picture of cute anime girl. And he asked me to search for a number (IP address). If he really hacked my phone, what I need to do?

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He's lying

From Josh Kirschner on November 27, 2019 :: 12:03 pm

This is almost certainly a scam to get you to go on Skype so he can get real video of you. Don’t do   it. Just ignore the person.

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My phone is a Moto

From Carolyn Harris on November 30, 2019 :: 11:19 pm

My phone is a Moto g4

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Help

From Linda Kvasnicka on December 08, 2019 :: 8:42 pm

How to find out my phone being hack.Someone has gotten into my bank account. What can I do to protect myself from them doing it again. .They have all my inf. Wipped my out

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Probably wasn't your phone

From Josh Kirschner on December 10, 2019 :: 12:08 am

I’m sorry to hear about your bank account, but it probably wasn’t due to a phone hack. More likely, you were either phished for your bank login credentials, you reused a password for your bank that you used elsewhere, or the criminals were able to reset your bank password based by hacking your email and/or figuring out your security questions. It’s hard to say more definitively without more information from your bank on how they got in.

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Are you serious?

From Robb on January 11, 2020 :: 6:53 am

A lot…and I mean A LOT of these issues you say “not to worry about” because they don’t sound real, are VERY real. Do you have any background in technology even? This is simple and destructive software manipulation. You are not helping at all. Do a little research, try it yourself! You should not be Fielding questions on this matter. Sorry, had to be said.

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My fcbk account was hacked,trying

From Precious M Malik on December 13, 2019 :: 7:30 am

My fcbk account was hacked,trying to retrieve it the code sent by fcbk cudnt reach my phone but through another number and code not acceptable by fcbk am suspecting my Sims too are hacked. What do I do

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Being hacked help.

From Eulis lemons on December 19, 2019 :: 10:54 am

Don’t know how to stop hacker please help

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Think my phone has been hacked

From Yolanda on December 23, 2019 :: 7:35 am

I found Facebook accounts an email account and a Instagram of a person i dont know on my phone, is it possible that my phone has been hacked?

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That doesn't sound like hacking.

From Josh Kirschner on December 23, 2019 :: 3:54 pm

Hackers don’t install their accounts on other peoples’ phones. In fact, it would be impossible for someone to install their Facebook or Instagram account on your phones unless they had physical access to it or gave you their credentials to add for them. Did you buy your phone used? Is it possible you took someone else’s phone by mistake?

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everything i own is hacked

From Person 2 on January 04, 2020 :: 1:38 pm

i have a celebrity stalker.
everything in my house and car is hacked.
what should i do

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internet connection

From Ntombekaya Totongwana on January 25, 2020 :: 6:24 am

Cant log in facebook can’t see my friends and chat to them can’t see my timeline cant see notifications just everything is not working right

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simcard

From Ntombekaya Totongwana on January 25, 2020 :: 7:43 am

It all started when i was using this simcard 0623976065now the simcard doesn’t work i couldn’tchat with my friends in whatsapp it just said emergence calls only till now

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apps

From Ntombekaya Totongwana on January 25, 2020 :: 4:45 pm

I think they are tempered plz help find the source of my problems i don’t have aphone like this

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hacked

From Ntombekaya Totongwana on January 25, 2020 :: 5:32 pm

My phone is sumsung z2

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What if this is a possiblity!?

From diane on January 27, 2020 :: 5:00 pm

This is what I heard from reading about others with this problem and it is true as what was read from law cases with same situation and those who could pay for legal help!!
It is sort of like those maybe!?
Neighbors or someone possibly hires person, through doctor case acting as a impersonator police or investigator…
people might be implanting deliberately covertly follow your every movement, watched hacking jobs computers your s also and TV set…even in town they work at listening and possible abuse of audio spy implant with ” “tracker put in mocking tracking of a offender without judge court approval for implantation”
so they can stalk harasses the victims while unknown does other stuff at their work area, but not in the building ...outside when no one is around to witness the crime activity and at home, so police can’t find any evidence of harassment or damage to property, pet ,home, car and even work when it is closed… at will, hoping to get them falsely fired, also hoping to cause problem for employer ...
and the neighbors just say: You can’t do anything about nothing to stop us,nothing about it, our friends set you up and police won’t ever know or help you! they will even try to get you for fake arrests like rape, paid by them and planned way ahead of time to know they can pull the most evil entrapment!!so if neighbor or someone mentions ( revenge artist!) we investigated you ten years ago without law knowing they might be hinting your being set up!

their doing the “Enemy of the State movie” gene Hackman stuff now! Mocking or doing surveillance used by police and FBI!

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It could be MY mistake.

From Rebecca Logue on February 04, 2020 :: 1:05 am

I had an account set up on Instagram for my kitten‐‐ you know the type: I post cute photos of him & write remarks as if he was saying them. The account was set up in his name; if you searched for his name, the account would come up.
He had 14 followers so far!

I had an Galaxy S7 which WAS experiencing quick battery drain but I figured it needed a battery. I went to the Samsung store, and got an A50 instead.
I’ve had some problems with it, but the main one seems pretty minor compared to being stalked and spied upon but…suddenly, I couldn’t reach my kitten’s Instagram account unless I went to Rebecca.35.1 or something. New photos wouldn’t post to the real account. But at the top of the page on the left side,  the name of the original account was there. It was the only way I could reach it.
So I wrote, “This is not Keby’s real account. Touch his name at the top of this page to get to his real page.”
That has disappeared and I can’t find kebyjoe at all. His page had about 16 photos, now this one has 2.
I don’t remember anything about rebecca, etc. Could I have done this when transferring information to old & new phone?

In the past week, I have found that the phone is telling me Yahoo is draining my battery. The bizarre thing about that is that I seldom use Yahoo and a couple weeks before I got this new phone, because of the battery drain, I deleted 1000 emails from Yahoo. NOW it’s got a battery drain?
My problem is that I don’t know how easily I can screw up a phone all by myself, and I may have done some things inadvertently. Is that possible?

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Samsung Galaxy note 9

From Shannonanddaniel Leonard Hadley on February 20, 2020 :: 1:20 pm

I have messages popped up on my phone that are not messages I’ve sent or anything I’ve not had any service on this phone and I just found out that is reported stolen what’s going on with my phone and how do I fix it cuz it’s causing problems in my relationship

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My phone has been hacked

From Eangel on February 21, 2020 :: 2:53 am

Hello, my phone has been hacked and it’s become very obvious. I think it’s been about a year now, but since I’m anything but tech savvy I didn’t understand what was happening.  Also I tend to trust a little too much. If a anyone could please help me I would greatly appreciate it     there is alot more to say about it all but I don’t want to put too much in my first comment.  Bottom line is I could use the help of a knowledgeable and honest person. Thank you

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Can a VPN Help?

From Billy Edwards on March 02, 2020 :: 10:54 am

Well, I advise a lot of my clients to use VPNs like Express or Ivacy to get protected on that initial level of encrypting their digital footprints and so far it has been really helpful.

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I have been hack

From Audrey Kennemer on March 06, 2020 :: 10:21 pm

What do i do not i get calls all hours of the night..i know someone getting into my gmail how do i stop it..someone disconnected my service wednesday night..i tried to change my number and it keeps saying i. Don’t have enough bars..i cant even gets service whee I’m at when i moved here i had great service not its drop domn to 3 bars then down to no bars

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Hello, I feel like my

From Winnie odoyo on March 10, 2020 :: 12:54 am

Hello, I feel like my phone is hacked I need help camon 11 tecno

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All my home devices are hacked!

From Jeremy Whittington on March 11, 2020 :: 7:50 am

All my devices including my firestick,and phones, pc, and tablets, have RATs! They have destroyed over 10 TV of pc hard drive data, I have no control over any of my online accounts, or my devices for that matter. They can get in though the cell connection or cable internet, they take control of my devices, use huge amounts of data, and even block me from contacting my data providers.  I can get no help, and it has ruined and IS CURRENTLY RUINING MY LIFE. have no control anymore.they seem to have rooted my android devices including my firestick,so factory resets dont help there, it just comes back when done.(When I called amazon about this, they basically told me that that is impossible, nevermind I can hardly use it because of the huge data that keep filling it) I can not use my home internet or cell internet hardly at all for the last two months. Not that my ISP or cell provider care they just say it was used and expect payment. I’ve worked with tech for over 30 years, I use vpn, and antivirus,malware. but none of this works is for this. I’m at a loss, about ready to toss about 5 grand worth of equipment. Or just cry. Not happy with Nord Vpn,not happy with google,Samsung, not happy with McCaffrey, not happy with my ISP, or tmobile. I gotten very little help, or could not even get ahold of these entities.Seriously this is a nightmare, and is about to put me in the nuthouse.

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Can't access my Gmail account after losing my phone and it being two step Verification locked

From Amelia Wood/Robinson on March 25, 2020 :: 5:37 pm

Go back in 2018 I lost my phone went on a walk with my baby dad I can swear I had it in the stroller but when we got home and I went looking for it I couldn’t find it and I went out looking for it and couldn’t find it anywhere I even went back to the gas station where I thought I may have left it but they said they didn’t find anything I tried accessing my Gmail account from another device and it wouldn’t let me access it because my account was two step verification locked and I didn’t know any of the codes I know my password and my username but it wasn’t until like a couple days later that my baby dad brought up my Samsung account and told me I could access the location through there and sure enough it stated that the location was at the gas station and and that my device didn’t leave that location I tried calling it multiple times tried to find my device through Samsung up until the battery died I ended up going into AT&T and getting a new phone same model and had the same phone number yet when I tried sending the verification code to my phone number it wasn’t an option because they couldn’t verify the device I love more than anything to be able to regain access to all of my Gmail accounts that were on that device but unfortunately I’m locked out of all three of them because I had all of my Gmail accounts connected and 2-step Verification locked there’s several accounts that I can’t regain access to such as bank accounts my Snapchat and now I’m even locked out of my Samsung account because somehow the password got changed on it and I entered the wrong password too many times in my Samsung account is registered to the email that I can’t get into any more I spoke with AT&T about it and they said that they have no connection with Gmail so they can’t do anything about it to get me back into my account I have pictures of my kids and videos and things I can’t replace it’s heartbreaking please help

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Hacked? When Powers Off in Middle of Call

From C on March 29, 2020 :: 5:10 pm

Hi,

I’ve heard that if your phone powers off in the middle of a call and both phones have enough power that my phone has been hacked.  Is that true?  If so what do I need to do, change my number, get a new chip?

Cindy

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Not true.

From Josh Kirschner on April 02, 2020 :: 6:33 pm

If your phone powers off in the middle of a call when the battery isn’t showing low power, it likely means you have a bad battery that needs to be replaced.

While a phone can be shut off remotely if someone has access to your Apple or Google account and chooses to power off your device, it seems a much more unlikely scenario than a bad battery.

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your last sentence

From Miranda Kerr on June 20, 2020 :: 6:55 am

Needs editing

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