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How to Tell if Your Phone Has Been Hacked

by Natasha Stokes on February 15, 2023

Updated by Suzanne Kantra on 2/15/2023 with new research and interviews with Keatron Evans, Principal Security Advisor at Infosec Institute, Sachin Puri, Vice President of Marketing at McAfee, and Jakub Vavra, Threat Analyst at Avast.

From email to banking, our smartphones are the main hub of our online lives. No wonder 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.

There are three main types of threats faced by mobile users: malware apps, adware, and spyware. According to the McAfee 2022 Mobile Threat Report, mobile malware apps are mainly masquerading as gaming hacks, cryptomining, and messaging apps to gather account logins, charge fees for bogus services, and sign users up for premium text services. In its 2022 State of Malware Report, MalwareBytes reported a rise in aggressive adware – ads that appear in notifications, the lock screen, and in popups – and highlights the fact that preinstalled malware on inexpensive Android devices continues to be a serious problem. Spyware is software 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 unintentionally downloaded from non-official sources that people visit in phishing links sent via email or text messages, as well as malicious websites.

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

There are technological means and motives for hackers, governments, and even the people we know, such as a spouse or employer, to hack into our phones and invade our privacy. However, 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.

Not sure if you may have been hacked? We spoke to Keatron Evans, principal security advisor for Infosec Institute, Sachin Puri, Vice President of Marketing at McAfee, and Jakub Vavra, Threat Analyst at Avast, about how to tell if a smartphone might have been compromised. And, we explore the nine ways your phone can be hacked and the steps you can take to protect yourself.

What are the 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 significantly decreased battery life. This is because the malware – or spy app – may be using your phone's resources to scan the device and transmit the information back to the hacker's server.

(That said, simple everyday use over time can also shorten your phone's battery life. 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 specific applications crashing? This could be a sign that malware is overloading your phone’s resources or interfering with other applications. You may also experience continued running of applications despite efforts to close them, or even have your phone crash and/or restart repeatedly.

(As with reduced battery life, many factors could contribute to a slower phone. One main contributor can be running out of storage space, so try freeing up space on your Android or iPhone.)

3. Phone feels hot when not using or charging it

Malware or apps, like bitcoin miners, running in the background can cause your phone to run hot or even overheat, according to Vavra. If your phone feels hot to the touch and it's not in use or on your charger, it could be a sign that malware is present. Try turning your phone off and on to see if the problem goes away. If not, there may be cause for concern.

4. High data usage

Another sign of a compromised phone is an unusually high data bill or running out of data before the end of the month. Extra data use can come from malware or spy apps running in the background and sending information back to their server.

For iPhones, go to Settings > Cellular and scroll down to see the list of apps using cellular data. You can check the current and last billing periods.

For plain Android phones (Google Pixels phones), go to Settings > Network & Internet > SIMs > App data usage. For Samsung phones, go to Settings > Connections > Data usage > Mobile data usage. Or, search for "data usage" in the search bar of the Settings app.

5. Outgoing calls or texts you didn’t send

If you see 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.

6. Mystery pop-ups and apps

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, pop-ups coming from external sources can include phishing links that attempt to get you to type in sensitive info or download malware.

You may also find apps on your phone that you didn't download and could be signs malware has been installed on your device. If you don't recall downloading the app, you can press and hold on the app icon (Android) and click on the option for App info. Scroll down and the App details section will tell you were the app was installed from (should be Google Play Store). Click on App details to go to the Google Play Store, where you can check the app is a legitimate app from a trustworthy developer. For Apple owners, go to the App Store and tap on your profile icon, select Purchased > My Purchases, and search for the app name.

7. Unusual activity on any accounts linked to the device

If a hacker has access to your phone, they also have access to your 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, signing up for new accounts whose verification emails land in your inbox, or moving emails to trash that you don’t remember seeing (especially those verification emails).

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.

How your phone can be hacked and what you can do to prevent it

From targeted breaches and vendetta-fueled snooping to harvesting data from the unsuspecting, here are nine 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, others are marketed as legitimate tools 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.

Techlicious has studied consumer cell phone spying apps and 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 their every move was being tracked. Commercial spyware programs, like Pegasus, sold to law enforcement and government agencies (including in countries with poor human rights histories), don't even require direct access to the device.

“The purpose of spyware is to be undetectable. Generally, if it's sophisticated, it may be very difficult to detect,” says Vavra.


Spyware apps are not available on Google Play or Apple's App Store. So someone would have to jailbreak your iPhone or enable unauthorized apps on your Android phone and download the spyware from a non-official store. Parental monitoring apps, which are available in Google Play and the App Store, have similar features for tracking and monitoring, but they aren't designed to be hidden from view.

How to protect yourself

  • Since installing spy apps requires 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 a 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 in the App Library. 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. For iPhones, ensuring your 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 into the App Store. The easiest way to tell if your iPhone has been jailbroken is the existence of an alternate app store, like Cydia or Sileo. They may be hidden, so search for them. If you find one, you'll need to restore your phone to factory settings. Back up your phone and then go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.
  • If you have an Android phone, go to Settings and search for "install unknown apps" and make sure all sources are set to off.
  • Download a mobile security app that will scan for rogue apps. We recommend Avast, Bitdefender, or McAfee.

2. Phishing messages

Whether it’s a text claiming to help you recover a package or a friend exhorting you to "check out this photo of you last night", text messages containing deceptive links that aim to collect 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 concerns over their tax returns. You'll also see a rise after natural disasters, asking people to donate.

Android phones may also fall prey to texts with links to download malicious apps. Android won't allow you to install apps from sources outside the Play Store unless you change your install permissions in Settings to allow unknown app, so it's safest to always keep these set to "Not allowed". The same scam isn’t workable for iPhones, which are commonly non-jailbroken and, therefore, can’t download apps from anywhere except the App Store.


Quite likely. While people have learned to be skeptical of emails asking them to click links, people tend to be less wary when using 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 provide your password or PIN via text message or email.
  • 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 in texts from numbers you don’t know or in unusual messages from friends.

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, contacts, location, messages, call logs, and saved passwords. This information can be used for phishing or blackmail.

Additionally, access to your Google account means access to your Gmail, the primary email for many users. The ability to use your email for verification codes to your accounts can lead to a domino effect of hacking all the accounts your email is linked to – from your Facebook account to your mobile carrier account, paving the way for identity theft.


If you use a weak password, it won’t be difficult for a hacker to gain access to your account.

How to protect yourself

  • Create a strong password for all your accounts (and, as always, your email). We recommend using a password manager so you can use strong passwords without needing to memorize them. Password managers can also generate strong passwords, making the process even easier.
  • Enable login notifications, so you are aware of sign-ins from new computers or locations.
  • Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) so that even if someone discovers your password, they can’t access your account without access to your 2FA method.
  • To prevent someone from resetting your password, lie when setting up password security questions. You would be amazed by how many security questions rely on information that is easily available on the Internet or is widely known by family and friends.

4. SIM swapping

Last year, the FBI announced that it saw a significant rise in SIM swapping complaints. With SIM swapping, cybercriminals 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, including virtual currency accounts.


SIM swapping is not common, but it is on the rise.

How to protect yourself

  • Make sure you have your cellular account protected by an account passcode. Don’t use guessable numbers for your carrier PIN – like your birthday or family birthdays, all of which could be found on social media.
  • For AT&T, log into your AT&T account, select Account settings > Linked accounts > Manage extra security and make sure "Extra security" is checked in the Account Passcode tile.
  • For T-Mobile, log into your T-Mobile account with the T-Mobile app and select Account > Profile Settings > Privacy and notifications > SIM protection, and toggle on SIM protection for your accounts and select "Save Changes."
  • For Verizon, log into your Verizon account with the Verizon app. Select Account Settings > Number Lock and toggle on for all of your accounts and select "Save Changes."

5. Hacked phone camera

The prevalence of video calling has highlighted the importance of securing computer webcams from hackers – but that front-facing phone cam could also be at risk. To gain access to your phone's camera, hackers would need to have the ability to run software remotely in a remote code execution (RCE) attack. In 2021, a vulnerability found in Qualcomm and MediaTek chips used in two-thirds of all phones sold that year put people at risk of RCE attacks, including streaming video from the phone's camera. This vulnerability was quickly patched, but RCE vulnerabilities regularly crop up, including Apple's recent update to old iPad and iPhones.


While RCE vulnerabilities continue to be a problem, cameras are not usually the target. Hacking is unlikely unless someone has physical access to install an app on your phone.

How to protect yourself

Always download security updates for all apps and your device.

6. Apps that over-request permissions

While many apps over-request permissions for the purpose of data harvesting, some may be more malicious and request intrusive access to everything from your location data to your camera roll. Puri notes that "Cheating tools and hacking apps are popular ways to get extra capabilities in mobile games. Criminals are exploiting this by promoting game hacking apps that include malicious code on legitimate messaging channels." Other types of apps that have been known to deliver malware include camera filters, photo editors, and messaging apps. And last year, McAfee identified a group of "cleaner apps" that purportedly removed unneeded files or optimized battery life, but actually installed malware on millions of devices.


It's common to run into apps that over-request permissions.

How to protect yourself

  • Read app permissions and avoid downloading apps that request more access than they should need to operate.
  • For Android, download a mobile security app such as Avast, Bitdefender, or McAfee that will scan apps before downloading and flag suspicious activity on apps you do have.

7. Snooping via open WiFi networks

The next time you happen upon a password-free WiFi network in public, be careful. Nefarious public hotspots can redirect you to lookalike banking or email sites designed to capture your username and password. It's not necessarily a shifty manager of the establishment you’re frequenting who's behind the ruse. For example, someone physically across the road from a coffee shop could set up a login-free WiFi network named after the café in hopes of catching useful login details for sale or identity theft.


If you're using a legitimate public WiFi network, Vavra says that "there are now enough safeguards it [snooping] shouldn't be too much of an issue." Most websites use HTTPS to encrypt your data, making it worthless to snoopers.

How to protect yourself

  • Use the apps on your phone to access email, banking, etc., rather than your browser, and you will be protected against malicious redirects.
  • Vavra says that "VPN adds another layer of encryption and essentially creates a more secure tunnel between the user and the website. While HTTPS only covers the communication data, VPN encrypts all data sent and can be used to change user location as perceived by the website or service the user is communicating with. So even the ISP (Internet provider) doesn’t see what is sent." Paid versions of mobile security apps often include a VPN, and we like Nord VNP and, for a free option, Proton VPN.

8. SS7 global phone network vulnerability

A communication protocol for 2G and 3G mobile networks, Signaling System No 7 (SS7), has a vulnerability that lets hackers spy on text messages, phone calls, and locations. The security issues have been well-known for years, and hackers have exploited this hole to intercept two-factor authentication (2FA) codes sent via SMS from banks. According to Evans, his method could also be used to impersonate a user's identity by spoofing their MSISDN or IMSI number, intercept calls, locate the user, commit billing fraud, and launch a Denial of Service (DoS) attack, which could bring down the network.


Evens says that the likelihood is pretty low of experiencing this type of hack. The major U.S. carriers have shut down their 3G service, and Evans estimates that only about 17 percent of the world still uses 2G or 3G networks.

How to protect yourself

  • Choose email or (safer yet) an authenticator app as your 2FA method, instead of text message. We like Authy and Google Authenticator.
  • Use an end-to-end encrypted message service that works over the internet (thus bypassing the SS7 protocol). WhatsApp and Signal encrypt messages and calls, preventing anyone from intercepting or interfering with your communications.
  • Keep your device updated.
  • If you want to be extra careful, Evans suggests, "If you're traveling abroad, get a cheap phone that you can almost use as a disposable and get rid of it when you get back or getting ready to return."

9. Fake cellular towers, like the 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 ISMI 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 half a mile, an attempt to monitor a suspect’s phone in a crowded city center could amount to tens of thousands of phones being tapped.

The American Civil Liberties Union has identified over 75 federal agencies in over 27 states that own StingRay-type devices but notes that this number is likely a drastic underestimate. In 2015, the Department of Justice started requiring its agencies to obtain warrants for using StingRay-type devices, but this guidance doesn't apply to local and state authorities. Several states have passed legislation requiring a warrant for use, including California, Washington, Virginia, New York, Utah, and Illinois.


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

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. WhatsApp and Signal encrypt messages and calls, preventing anyone from intercepting or interfering with your communications. Most encryption in use today isn’t breakable, and a single phone call would take 10-15 years to decrypt.

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.

[image credit: hacker smartphone concept via BigStockPhoto]

Natasha Stokes has been a technology writer for more than seven 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.


Privacy, Phones and Mobile, Mobile Apps, Tips & How-Tos

Discussion loading


From Peterlovegrove on April 22, 2020 :: 4:24 pm

Had email saying had one my passwords and will forward private video of myself that I don’t remember but threatens to send to contacts which I don’t no of tel/f/book etc
Asking for money in bitcoin in 24 hours I have replied but worrying email code could be one I use but not one I’ve used if I have in a while

Can this person send anything to my contacts and if can
And I see how do I take down or delete ?


That's a common scam

From Josh Kirschner on April 22, 2020 :: 6:06 pm

Don’t fall for it. The person has nothing on you. This is a common sextortion scam that’s been going around for a couple of years now. Click the link for more info.



From Help on June 01, 2020 :: 12:53 pm

I have a notification with Google Assistance saying my phone has been hacked and im scared im just 14 I don’t know what to do


That sounds like scareware

From Josh Kirschner on June 01, 2020 :: 2:46 pm

Google Assistant won’t give you a message saying your phone has been hacked. That sounds like a scareware popup. Read our article on fake virus alerts and see if that sounds like what you experienced.



From Doubt on June 07, 2020 :: 8:17 am

I have a question?? What are the chances the hack malware would get get deleted if u format your device


Very likely to be removed

From Josh Kirschner on June 09, 2020 :: 12:34 am

For the majority of spyware apps, or in situations where an iPhone has been jailbroken, resetting your device to factory settings almost certainly will remove the malware. I don’t want to say “definitely”, because there could be something out there that is more deeply embedded in your phone’s firmware that doesn’t get removed, but I would say that is highly unlikely for most people. And there are some cases where phone manufacturers installed malware inadvertently as part of their standard builds, which would not be removed on a reset.


I don’t know if it was a troll or not

From Jeffrey on June 17, 2020 :: 8:07 pm

I was looking at a website and when I went to close out the tab there was another one open, curious I tapped on it and the website said that my phone had been hacked. It was in private tab so I can’t go back to it. Please let me know if this is a real alert and I what to do.


That's just scareware

From Josh Kirschner on June 18, 2020 :: 6:54 pm

Whatever site you were on delivered a scareware “pop-under” with a fake virus message. Just ignore it. For more information on how to recognize these scams, read our article on fake virus pop-up alerts.


Hacking Instagram Account | Need Safety and Security

From 인스타 해킹 on June 18, 2020 :: 7:41 am

Thanks for sharing such informative article. Can you please throw some light on how to find out that your Instagram accounted has been hacked or not?


Why do you think your Instagram has been hacked?

From Josh Kirschner on June 18, 2020 :: 7:02 pm

Is there some reason you think your Instagram has been hacked? Is someone making posts and comments using your account?

Regardless of whether it has been hacked or not, if you have concerns, change your password and turn on Instagram’s two-factor authentication.

And if you want more of the Instagram basics, check out our article on Instagram 101


My tablet keeps going off

From nani on July 05, 2020 :: 6:50 pm

My tablet keeps going off and restarting by itself. Please what could be the issue hear?


Could be a number of issues

From Josh Kirschner on July 06, 2020 :: 9:38 am

A number of hardware, firmware or software issues could cause that to happen, including a bad battery. I wouldn’t assume it was hacking, but it may be a sign of a permanent issue with your tablet. Your best bet is to factory reset it and see if that resolves the issue.


I think I was hacked but I'm not sure

From Tanaka on July 13, 2020 :: 10:48 am

My phone is constantly shutting down on its own and now I’m struggling to open apps such as Google play, discordant pinterest. I don’t know what to because I can’t download avast or other apps at that.
Please help me


Sounds more like a battery issue

From Josh Kirschner on July 15, 2020 :: 9:42 am

This sounds more like a system or battery issue. The first thing I would try is doing a factory reset on your device (back it up first) to see if that fixes your issue. If not, it could be your battery. If it has a replaceable battery, see if a new one helps. If not, you may need to take it in for analysis and repair, or you may need to get a new device.



From Norma Weitzel on August 31, 2020 :: 2:59 pm

I performed an hard reset on my phone and I created a different email account I noticed that when I went to my hot spot /mobile tethering the name and password was set already ..I thought strange cause anytime I’ve ever done hard reset on my phone never having anything backed up nor sync after doing such i’ve never seen my Hotspot having been named with a password set up.. I also noticed my device name was set as “naura’s galaxy s9” ??This shouldn’t already be set up especially if i didn’t back up nor sync any data after a hard reset right ? I’m concerned my boyfriend might have a spy app in my phone,  everything I send a text, receive a text , call etc..his phone dings everytime ..


How did you hard reset?

From Josh Kirschner on September 08, 2020 :: 1:17 pm

Did you go through the factory reset process in the Android settings? When you set the phone up again, are you sure you didn’t link to an existing Gmail or Samsung profile that would reload your settings? As you said, a true hard reset should permanently wipe all that data. I’m not aware of any spyware that is capable of blocking a hard reset, though I suppose it’s possible.


What if you delete the app?

From Parascma on September 11, 2020 :: 12:36 am

Could you stop your phone from being hacked if you delete the app though which the phone was hacked ?

Thanks !


That should work

From Josh Kirschner on September 17, 2020 :: 9:53 am

If your phone was hacked by someone downloading a spy app to it, then deleting the app will resolve them problem. However, if someone had access to your device to install one app, there could be other issues. The best path would be to backup your data/photos and factory reset your device.


what is the access you mean here

From Sara on June 03, 2021 :: 3:38 pm

sorry but what you mean has access to your device to install one app ? you mean physical access or what ?


Yes, physical access. If someone

From Josh Kirschner on June 03, 2021 :: 5:06 pm

Yes, physical access. If someone has physical access to your device, they could have made a number of changes that would compromise your privacy. So, safest to do a factory reset.

Help needed

From Blake on September 28, 2020 :: 11:55 am

My phone has been getting random pop ups and I am confused can you help I don´t know if I am getting hacked and it turned off randomly


What do the popups say?

From Josh Kirschner on September 28, 2020 :: 1:16 pm

Popups can be caused by malicious ads on websites or apps that you have installed on your phone. What do the popups say and when do they occur? When visiting web pages or at any time when using the phone?


i receive popups also from avast antivirus free version

From Sara on June 03, 2021 :: 3:40 pm

i receive popups also from avast antivirus free version; is it okay ?


Do you have Avast?

From Josh Kirschner on June 03, 2021 :: 5:12 pm

Do you have the Avast free version installed on your phone? If so, it’s possible it may be creating notifications to upgrade in you notification center, but these shouldn’t be coming through as popups. Popups on your phone are almost always a sign of adware you have installed or malicious ads on a site you’re visiting.

Avast does do popups on desktop, though. so that wouldn’t be unusual if you already have it installed.

Mobile Phone hacked through phone no?

From It's me on October 02, 2020 :: 1:32 pm

I gave my whatsapp no to someone I met in online game, she said that she will call me but she didn’t than she started asking unusual question like name, age, no of brother name, brother age. Than she asked to chat via boobs voice to text but I didn’t than in a second my game crashed and it got on after 2 min but I am scared that if it is hacked kr or not
pls answer me. Because I was refusing to answer them but still she was forcing me to answer which was not in her attitude first.


Possible, but highly unlikely

From Josh Kirschner on October 02, 2020 :: 5:01 pm

We know there are tools out there that have been used to target individual phones with malware, though you can’t do it just by knowing someone’s phone number unless you’re the high-profile target of a nation state, which I will assume you are not (and in that case, they certainly wouldn’t need to hit you up for your number through a game). From the sound of it, she/he is fishing for personal info they can use to answer security questions to hijack one of your accounts. Don’t provide any info and stop responding.


FBI sevalance

From Samantha Matthews on October 03, 2020 :: 4:38 am

There’s this wifi option that shows up late every night that’s call FBI sevalance, when it shows up it knocks my husband and I both off of our network, what is it?


It's just a silly named Wi-Fi network someone set up

From Josh Kirschner on October 04, 2020 :: 3:54 pm

You can name your Wi-Fi whatever you want, so someone near you decided that would be funny. It shouldn’t know you off you existing network, though, unless you try to connect to it. So make sure your device isn’t trying to connect to it if you’ve tried in the past by “forgetting” the network.

On the other had, if your network disappears when the other one pops up, that would indicate someone is changing the Wi-Fi name of YOUR router, which means they know your login info - that would be very bad. If that is what’s happening, you should change your router login credentials ASAP.


Is my internet being monitored?

From Andrew on October 09, 2020 :: 8:41 am

In the last month I have booked tickets to 2 events. And put my name on a waiting list for a ps5.  I have received fishing text messages for each of these incidents. However. The data was entered into a laptop not on my phone and they still got the info. Has my laptop been hacked? Or has my network been hacked?


Galaxcy tab Samsung

From Elizabeth Joubert on November 15, 2020 :: 5:34 pm

My number was used to phone I am accused of doing it.  Even the name of the caller is not my name but it is my number.  Please how can this happen..this is ruining my life


Spoofing numbers is very easy to do

From Josh Kirschner on November 16, 2020 :: 10:37 am

It’s very easy to spoof numbers and it’s standard practice for scammers to do that when making spam calls. My number has been spoofed, my wife’s number has been spoofed, anyone’s number can be spoofed. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to stop it. This is something that needs to be addressed by the phone carriers with the new STIR/SHAKEN framework.



From Emma on December 11, 2020 :: 12:16 am

I didn’t know about the text hacking and I went to a website that was weird so I got off it and the next time I went to do something on my phone it said that if I don’t download a specific app to put a security thing on my phone or else all my photos and contacts will be deleted. I don’t know if this is another trick or something but it’s scaring me. I don’t know what to do. Please help me!!


Sounds like scareware

From Josh Kirschner on December 16, 2020 :: 7:24 pm

Scareware has been around for a long time, trying to trick people into installing apps that either cost them money, serve up ads or create security risks of their own. This definitely sounds like scareware. It’s not clear on whether this is simply a popup you received will visiting a site or somehow you downloaded something that is serving up the message. The best thing to do is download an antimalware app - Lookout, Norton, Bitdefender, Kaspersky - and do a scan to make sure your phone is clean.


Im hacked in almost every way spoken about

From Tiffany on January 02, 2021 :: 7:23 pm

It started in sept. Shortly after i tried to break up with my boyfriend and told him i was in love with someone else. I ended up staying with him….since my phone has started dying quick, apps on my phone i didnt install, my passwords keep getting changed, bluetooth-nearby device scanning, call and text on other devices and a bunch of other crap turning on and off by itself. Now there is admins of every account and a super admin on my phone. This bs is unreal and he still denies it. The feeling of not having a lick of privacy or even be speak to my family without him knowing every word. Its one of the worse feelings ive ever had. Ive cried day in and day out cuz of this. Why would someone who claims to love u so much and cant live without u hurt u so bad? Smh


Photos Contacts Messages all gone! Help!

From john on January 23, 2021 :: 2:50 pm

Hi; I have an Samsung A10e. A friend(?) stopped by last night and when he left I went to use my phone and my contacts were gone! And…all my photos and messages too! Gone! In fact, the phone was wiped clean of everything and I had to do everything over as if I just got the phone! Can someone tell me what happened? Thanks


Hacked phone

From Sam on February 07, 2021 :: 4:21 am

Please my phone has been hacked and they’re asking for a ransom. A message was sent to my mail and that if i dont comply they’ll post my photos and videos


Almost certainly a scam

From Josh Kirschner on February 08, 2021 :: 1:33 am

That sounds very similar to the porn email blackmail scam we covered a while back. It’s a scam, they don’t have access to your photos, don’t pay them.


Inside Job!!!

From Zach Jones on March 02, 2021 :: 7:10 am

Just the fact that you can scrub everything, by abandoning all your old accounts and getting rid of “infected” hardware and you still get hacked immediately, means there are people on the inside with high level access involved. In my mind, no question about it. If there was no hacking why would we buy all these security measures from them?
You still not convinced, ask yourself why we NEVER hear about a billionaire, and there are many of them, whom for a hacker would be the ultimate target. Why have we NEVER heard that Warren Buffet, the Koch Brothers, Marc Cuban, on and on and on. How come their accounts have never ever been the target of the abuse people are sharing here???? Ordinary hard working people….we ARE the Product


That is not accurate

From Josh Kirschner on March 02, 2021 :: 1:01 pm

Many of the suspected technical hacks described here simple aren’t possible. However, it doesn’t take much searching to see that anyone can be the victim of real hacking scenarios, including the wealthy, celebs and politicians:



From Amber on March 12, 2021 :: 12:06 pm

Okay for the past couple weeks my phone has been flashing as if I had screenshot my phone. for a split second it would flash then a notification will pop up with a tilted bell with the words super camera and disappear. my battery drains faster then usual. I’ve never seen anything like it before I’m very confused I am not sure if someone’s hockey me or stalking me I don’t know how to get help I did contact forensic cope professionals they had informed me that is very suspicious and unusual but for their help to track whoever and to find out what they’re doing it would cost me $900 which I do not have I’ve also came across On my files it seemed like someone was trying to track my location I’m just not sure what to think need some advice does anyone know about this or has anyone else had this happened to them before?


Sounds odd

From Josh Kirschner on March 12, 2021 :: 12:38 pm

It’s hard to say what is happening without more details and checking out the phone, but your best course of action is to download an antimalware program, like Lookout, and run a full scan. It should pick up anything that might be on there. If it doesn’t and you’re still concerned, back up your important photos/files and do a factory reset.


Remote hacking of my old j7 auroa

From Tim on March 13, 2021 :: 3:02 am

Someonr took my phone is there q way i cam hack into and recover stuff if it wasn’t deleted?


Unfortunately, not

From Josh Kirschner on March 17, 2021 :: 11:21 am

If you never backed up your photos to Google Photos or another service, there is no way to “hack” into your phone remotely to access the photos.


Account details in a website changed

From Rani on March 19, 2021 :: 8:17 pm

I understood recently that somebody hacked into my phone. I gave my bank account details to a site. But when I logged to that site again I saw that details of another bank account is given. I have two bank accounts. What to do?



From Izabele on March 23, 2021 :: 3:59 am

Idk what’s going on but from yesterday my apps keep closing, settings icon got deleted, i can’t turn on some apps, i can’t join zoom classes,and I bought this phone just last year. I Didin’t downloaded anything but what’s the reason what to do? Can someone help me please.


I need help

From Sara on April 30, 2021 :: 1:51 pm

Hello everyone i need help, today when i login to my Gmail i found something strange, one unrecognized device login in my account. its a Samsung S20 5G Ultra i dont use samsung Devices. i removed that device. is my account compromized. need help.


Change your Gmail password and set up 2-factor authentication

From Josh Kirschner on May 04, 2021 :: 10:54 am

Sometimes, Google can be a little unclear whether someone actually accessed your account (i.e., they had the correct login info) or “tried” to access your account (perhaps with login info from another site that was leaked in a breach). If they did access your account, or if you’re just unsure, you should immediately change your Gmail password. I also strongly recommend setting up two factor authentication for Gmail.


Thank You.

From Sara on May 04, 2021 :: 11:07 am

Thank You.


Need help

From kko on May 06, 2021 :: 1:35 pm

I received my debit card last Friday. Then I used my iPhone (safari) to unblock my card. On Sunday, my card was used to purchase a Netflix account. I didn’t use my card, neither left my house. I already canceled my card, but I’m worried now. Is it possible that my iPhone is hacked? Or only my safari? I already changed my passwords, what else should I do to stop that? Please help.


phones made in China

From Greg on May 23, 2021 :: 8:26 am

Apps aside, my concern is more with firmware. Is it possible that some legitimately-priced phones from smaller Chinese companies like Unihertz are NOT under the thumb of the CCP and NOT sending all kinds of user (in the U.S.) personal data to the CCP’s servers?


Hard to say, but does it matter?

From Josh Kirschner on May 25, 2021 :: 10:17 am

We have never seen any direct evidence that any of the Chinese phone companies are compromised by their relationship with the Chinese government. However, given the strong warnings and actions by the US government, as well as a number of European nations, it does suggest there is evidence out there that is not being released to the public.

The question you should ask yourself, though, is do you care? Government spying of this nature is intended to target political or commercial information valuable to that party. For most of us, the Chinese government could care less what we’re up to. Meanwhile, there are plenty of advertisers, big data companies, social media sites, apps, etc. collecting data about your online and offline activities through perfectly legal means.

Privacy should be a concern for all of us. IMHO, the Chinese government should not be where most people’s concerns should lie.


which method can hack and access mobile camera

From sara on June 05, 2021 :: 4:05 pm

which hacking method or technique can hacker uses to hack and monitor someone camera ? does the only way is by installing spy app ? if mobile is android 6?


does secure screen lock password prevent pyhiscal access hacking

From Sara on June 11, 2021 :: 6:24 am

Hello sorry to write here but there is no new comments section, so i replied here to write my comment
if i have a screen lock password on my android phone, but in the work sometime i leave my mobile in the office with my colleagues; as sometime I go to make coffee or sudden talks out the office or go to toilet ....etc is this it okay and my mobile is safe cause it has a password and no one know it ?


Yes, screen lock prevents access

From Josh Kirschner on June 11, 2021 :: 9:23 am

If you have a screen lock PIN on your device and it is secure enough not to be easy to guess, it will prevent hacking. No one will be able to access the phone to download apps or load anything through the USB port unless the phone is unlocked. As I recall, some earlier versions of Android (prior to Android 8 or so?) may have had USB access vulnerabilities, but this won’t be an issue unless your device is very, very old.

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