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How to Tell if Your Phone Has Been Hacked

by on May 01, 2019
in Privacy, Phones and Mobile, Mobile Apps, Tips & How-Tos :: 292 comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

6 Signs your phone may have been hacked

1. Noticeable decrease in battery life

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

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

2. Sluggish performance

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

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

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

3. High data usage

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

4. Outgoing calls or texts you didn’t send

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

5. Mystery pop-ups

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

6. Unusual activity on any accounts linked to the device

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

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

SOS steps

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

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

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

Who would hack your phone?

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

7 ways your phone can be hacked

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

1. Spy apps

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

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

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

Likelihood

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

How to protect yourself

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

2. Phishing by message

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

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

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

Likelihood

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

How to protect yourself

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

3. SS7 global phone network vulnerability

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

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

Likelihood

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

How to protect yourself

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

4. Snooping via open Wi-Fi networks

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

Likelihood

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

How to protect yourself

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

5. Unauthorized access to iCloud or Google account

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

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

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

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

Likelihood

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

How to protect yourself

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

6. Malicious charging stations

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

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

Likelihood

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

How to protect yourself

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

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

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

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

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

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

Likelihood

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

How to protect yourself

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

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

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

Updated on 5/1/2019

[image credit: hacker smartphone concept via BigStockPhoto]



Discussion loading

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I think my phone h'been

From bhargavi prabhakaran on November 26, 2017 :: 12:55 pm

I think my phone h’been hacked , whenever I tried to call some one firstly it is coming like engage ,data is getting over very fast and now my music app playing songs automatically and increasing and decreasing volume by its own.how it’s hacked r not how to find . please help me to find

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Haced my phone

From Mathan on November 29, 2017 :: 9:35 am

Hello sir, I am Mathan. I think someone
else hacked my phone. I doubt it.please
Help me.How do find?

Reply

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Follow our advice above

From Josh Kirschner on November 29, 2017 :: 9:41 am

You don’t say why you think someone hacked your phone, but if that is your concern, you can start by following our advice above.

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Gratitude

From Alan on December 03, 2017 :: 9:44 am

Natasha Stokes I love u

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Could there be Spyware on my email?

From Jackie on December 03, 2017 :: 1:38 pm

Hi Josh
I wrote the above comment. I apologize for the typos, which occurred because when I entered my Gmail address in the comment reply field, once again I had the extremely frustrating slow-down problem.The response to my key strokes at those times is so slow I can barely type. Ahhhhh!!!! I suspect it is some type of Spyware used to monitor those particular emails. The battery will drain very quickly at those times as well. Right now I am able to type normally, as i have left the email field blank right now.

To explain my situation further, I have been harassed for about 3 years. I had presumed that the people doing it were a small group who had a personal vendetta against me, but recently I discovered there was a connection to a cult group called NXIVM. This grouo is currently under criminal investigation. Check out the news stories- they are a scary bunch ogmf people. I’ve never been a member of this group, but I knew someone who was involved with them, and I believe I was targeted by them because of this.

The Facebook issue I mention is also connected,  as the person who sent the friend request apparently works for Nxivm, and the other fake page was made in the name of another victim of their harassment. If you have any ideas what I should do, I would appreciate it.

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Did you follow the steps above?

From Josh Kirschner on December 03, 2017 :: 3:31 pm

Slow response to keystrokes likely means some other program is running in the background that is taking up your phone’s resources. It could be spyware, but it could be something else, as well. And it wouldn’t surprise me to see this on an older device or if you haven’t restarted your phone for some time.

Since you are concerned about spyware, did you follow our advice above and download Lookout or another security app to do a scan? If it doesn’t find anything, then I would do a factory data reset and then only re-install those apps you really need and see if that resolves the issue.

As for Facebook, you can only set up one account on Facebook for a given email address. However, it’s not uncommon for people to set up fake profiles for various scammy reasons. I’ve seen this numerous times with my friends. Once Facebook is notified of the fake account, they’ll take it down, which may be why you saw it disappear.

I’ve read about Nxivm before, but it’s probably a stretch, at this point, to assume they’re connected with your issues. Especially, since you haven’t even determined if there is spyware on your phone, yet.

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Gmail can be used to make multiple fb profiles

From Jackie on December 03, 2017 :: 11:21 pm

Josh
You can apparently make 2 fb profile pages using the same gmail address. I didn’t know this either,and I only found this out after this strange occurrence with the fb profiles, and I started trying to find out how it happened. I know that the older of the 2 accounts was definitely created with a Gmail address.

You didn’t understand what happened with the fb profiles.  Sorry. I will explain it in more detail. The account did NOT disappear. It’s still there. BTW, Facebook will only remove a fake account if a certain number of people complain about it. I think its 20 people.

This fake account was made to impersonate an old friend. I was monitoring the account to see if anything was posted on it (nothing ever was besides the initial picture )I knew the profile was fake, but I didn’t know it was connected in any way to this other profile. I sent a friend request to the real account. This person accepted the request. Immediately upon accepting the request,  both fb pages in question stopped functioning normally. The pages did not dissappear. What happened was that when I clicked on the link to either page,  the page did not open. Instead, I got a screen saying there was some type of error. All other fb profiles were normal. Only these 2 behaved like this.

I then asked the owner of the first page to unfriend me, which he did. When he unfriended my page, both pages returned to normal. So there is very definitely a link between the 2 pages. Both pages have similar contact info,too. For example one page is:
/John.Doe.5 and the other is
/Bob.Smith.5
So both addresses end in a 5. I checked many other pages and couldn’t see any others that happened to end in a 5.

And yes, you really can make 2 pages from one gmail. Look it up. Gmail will allow you to do this when you add a dot somewhere on the address.

The keystroke problem only happens in certain situations…one situation being while I type emails to the person who has the fb account in question.

These people are definitely involved with NXIVM. I am not connected myself. NXIVM is well known for stalking, harassing and hacking anyone they take issue with. The Bronfman sisters even put Spyware on their own fathers computer. This information is true, and you can look it up if you don’t believe me.

Sorry if I sound a little defensive. I have been harassed for 3 years. This has included many death threats, weird pranks, and also property vandalism.

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Let's tackle one thing at a time

From Josh Kirschner on December 04, 2017 :: 2:04 am

Run Lookout on your phone and see what, if anything, it finds. If nothing, do a factory reset on your phone (make sure all your photos, contacts, calendar, etc. are backed up first) and see if that resolves your keystroke problem.

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Multiple Facebook accounts on 1 gmail

From Karilee Anderson on March 19, 2018 :: 12:47 am

Josh;
When I first set uo my Facebook account,I was unaware that my sister was also helping me set up an account? I ended up with twi accounts that were separated by friend requests and pictures, yet both accounts had the same password? I couldnt combune then ir delete one witgout deleting both? I kept sending help messages snd got no reply? I was switching back and forth and got so frustrated with the whoke mess I stopped using facebook for a couple of years until the end of 2014. All of a sudden everything combined where both accounts were identical so it didn’t matter anymore? Either someone noticed at Facebook and fixed it, or there’s still the second acct., but being identical, I can’t tell the difference? LOL

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@ Jackie Regarding NXIVM

From Ryan on December 04, 2017 :: 10:16 am

Thanks for posting this. I have been pretty active on this and a related thread. I was telling some of the people that their issues appeared to be Gang Stalking. I have been a victim of it for quite some time. It really got bad when I started dating a woman that claimed to also be a victim of it. Which I saw evidence of every time I went anywhere with her. Interestingly enough, while working on her phone to try to clean any spyware off of it. I noticed the primary email address registered on it was not a normal email address. It was one related to this or a similar Cult/Group that was based in empowerment. Looking into this group really kinda clears a lot of this up.  This group is never going to be taken down by the courts.It’s almost surely be a front for the intelligence community.

Anyone notice how many more of these hacking reports are coming into this thread not that Trump handed a certain space agency 91 Billion a couple weeks ago?  And hey as a bonus. Chemtrails are flying high again now too. Thanks Masa I mean Nasa

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@ Jackie Gmail Lag.

From Ryan on December 06, 2017 :: 4:51 pm

Hey, I get the exact same thing. You type in your gmail, and or google search box and the letters populate in a delayed manner.Also you’ll hear your sound split, or break up when clicking on new tabs, or refreshing a web page.  Try running NetAdapterRepair Google it, download it, and click on repair all, and run it.If it hangs on a particular repair, omit that repair and run it again. Then reboot. Also try downloading RogueKiller to check for any spyware. It works really well. You can also download a program called Rkill, and run it any time you think something may be running on your system. It is a quick ac ting program that runs and instantly kills any spyware processes.  This is all for PC by the everyone. Not for your phones. But in my experience they usually hit both. If you want to see how coordinated it is. I can probably bet you that you also receive tons of spam phone calls on your LandLine, and/or Cell phone daily. Always a different number, but seemingly the same people, or no one on the line. Now try going on 800 notes and mentioning the correlation between one of the numbers that are spamming you, and possible gangstalking. Watch how fast they delete your post, and ridicule, or ban you.  Hope this helps some of you.  You know the FBI doesn’t call a T.I. a Targeted Individual in their internal documents. They refer to TI’s as Empowered Individuals. If you’re targeted, you’re probably a good person. Know that, and hang in there. Your purpose in this life will come to you.  I go through this life literally being made to feel as if I will be murdered at almost any waking moment. Kept constantly on edge, and not allowed to sleep for any sustaining period of time. But I’m still here. 

Matthew 10:22
You will be hated by everyone on account of My name, but the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.


Ned Flanders you are not, but you were never expected to be.

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Who are these people..

From K. From Cali. on March 19, 2018 :: 12:56 am

Who are NXIVM? Afraid to look it up? And is it spoken; ” NX 4 M”? And if you weren’t associated with their group, why would they target you? Is this about Gaming?

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More info regarding my Spyware and fb question

From Jackie on December 04, 2017 :: 12:00 am

Josh
The phone is about 1.5 years old.  It’s a galaxy…can’t remember which model.

It is shut down and restarted every once in a while.  I have removed all unused apps and files to free up space.

I have not run a security scan.

The phone also goes thru periods of extreme battery drain. It’s not doing that so much currently, but of course the battery is not as good as it was when the phone was brand new.

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Regarding the Spyware and fb issue

From Jackie on December 04, 2017 :: 4:36 am

Thanks Josh
I am trying more to find out how to confirm if this is hacking by Spyware, as i want evidence to press charges. After seeing this weird thing happen with the Facebook account, I am really convinced this guy is a liar and a criminal, and that he created this fake fb page impersonating my friend in an attempt to cover up some type of criminal activity. Especially as this fake page was created a few hours after I talked to a another victim of this guy, and she posted some info about this on her IG page.The timing of this really made me suspicious, as I’m sure he must have seen the IG post, which in itself has some very nefarious implications. 

There is a very, very long story with all this. Currently I’m not getting much help from the police,(who seem to think the answer to my problem is just to block people) instead of investigating why these people have gone to all this effort to hack me and harass me.

So if this sounds like it is possible Spyware, I want to be able to prove it’s this guy who has installed it, not necessarily uninstall it.

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Proving who installed spyware will be very difficult

From Josh Kirschner on December 04, 2017 :: 1:38 pm

You could take your phone to a specialist for forensic analysis, but this will be very expensive and, even if they discovered spyware, it would be very difficult to prove how the spyware got on the phone. And that’s a lot of investment when there’s not even strong evidence that you might have spyware.

If you run Lookout, it will detect spyware and give you the option to remove it (or not). And at least you’ll know what you’re dealing with. Though, again, proving who put it there will be very difficult.

I’ll be frank, I really don’t follow what you’re describing with the Facebook issue. But since nothing has happened beyond seeing two Facebook profiles out there, I really wouldn’t spend time worrying about it. Focus on getting peace of mind with your spyware question, first.

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Regarding the Spyware and fb issue

From Jackie on December 05, 2017 :: 4:46 am

Thanks Josh
I am just trying to figure out what is going on and if it’s possible to prove anything legally.

I know it’s hard to understand my questions about the fb accounts.
The reason I think the fb thing could be important is because I suspect the person who installed the Spyware is also the same person who made the fake profile in a friend’s name.

I’ll give you a bit more info, in case someone else has any ideas how this occurred. So…. I was contacted by email bY person A. This is where I noticed the keystroke issues, and I suspected A had installed Spyware,as the problem occurred only while typing emails to him. Since I had been harassed for some time already, I suspected that “A” was connected to these other harassers.

Meanwhile,I noticed that a fake facebook profile had been opened in the name of a friend, B. B had also been harassed by the people who had harassed me.

I was suspicious of A and wondered why he was emailing me, and I decided to send him a fb friend request to see if he would accept, which he did. After A accepted the request, the link to his FB profile appearred on my friends list, but when I clicked on the link, the page couldn’t be opened, and I received an error message. I wondered what was going on, and I tried looking at other fb profiles to see if the same thing happened on any other profile.

What I found was that the only other fb profile where this same thing occurred was the fake profile for B.

I then asked A to unfriend me, and when he did that ,both profile pages, for A and for B, began to function normally again.

This concerns me because if Spyware has been installed to spy on my Gmail address, this same Gmail address is the one I used to open the fb profile that sent the friend request to A.

So if this Spyware is screwing up my Gmail account, I think it could also screw up my fb profile which was created using that Gmail. Thats Just a guess, but it seems like a possible answer to why “A’s” fb profile was not able to properly connect to my fb profile when I friended him.

*******
RYAN: Yes, these groups are all different factions of organized crime, and they are often connected to each other and to Intelligence groups. Presently, European Intel is out of control…these groups all have access to sophisticated hacking equipment. So if there seems to be increased reports of hacking by gangstalkers (more aptly called the crime cartel) i wouldnt be surprised.
Of course we can’t stop them all, but I just want to be able to stop at least this small group, if I can. If we do nothing at all, then we really are screwed.

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Please,Help me Someone.

From Manju Manju on December 05, 2017 :: 3:17 pm

Today,I have used an app on my android phone"Samsung j7 Nxt” called “Free spyware and malware
remover”,then it’s detected something called “mspy”,
And said to remove from my android device.
I have no idea what it is,from where it is came and who had done this.
i want to know,who is this people.
So, I kindly request all the people here that please
help me to find him/her.
or may be else.
please tell me what i can do for this?

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That's not good

From Josh Kirschner on December 06, 2017 :: 2:04 pm

First of all, I’m not familiar with the antimalware app you’re using (using generic security apps is not a good ideas). You should download Lookout Security or another well-know security providers app and run the scan again to see if it detects mSpy.

If it does, that’s not a good thing. mSpy is a very intrusive spyware program that can reveal almost everything personal on your phone to whomever is using it to spy on you. It’s also important to note that installing MSpy requires someone to have physical access to your phone, so it is often someone you know who put it there.

Unfortunately, finding out who put it there is very difficult. There’s no way to do it yourself. It’s possible paying a forensic analyst may help you gather more information about when it happened, but it won’t be cheap, and still may not reveal much. If there is a crime involved, then the police theoretically could get a warrant and serve it to mSpy to see who registered the corresponding account, though I think the likelihood of that is low.

Your best bet is to remove the spyware and put a lock code on your device that would prevent anyone from getting in to install spyware again in the future.

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i want to findout her/him.

From Manju Manju on December 07, 2017 :: 2:08 am

i mean,people who are trying to do something bad with someone,there is many ways and they are easy as well.
But on the opposite sight to findout them,it is difficult.
No…..
No….i want to findout,whatever she or he is because,i am not giving my phone to anyone,i mean no one.
May possible a person to whom i am totally blind,may do this.
i want to clear this.

please help me.
And give me any suitable option.So that i can find that person on my own.
please…please.

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I can't give you much help

From Josh Kirschner on December 07, 2017 :: 7:34 pm

As I said, figuring out who installed spyware on your phone can be very difficult. You will likely need to hire a forensic technician to examine your device, and then you might still need police to get a warrant for mSpy’s customer records. And I would estimate your success rate will be low with both of them.

First things first, you should make sure you really do have spyware. Use Lookout to scan your device, but don’t have it fix the problem if you intend to take the steps above.

Also, did you buy this phone new or is a pre-owned device? If not new, your phone may have had spyware from a previous owner and the phone was never properly reset.

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thanks.

From Manju Manju on December 08, 2017 :: 7:26 am

it’s okk.
thank you for your suggestions and your response.

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Ryan

From Jackie on December 07, 2017 :: 2:44 am

The keystroke delay is very frustrating,  but it only happens when I email certain people usually. It will also happen on this forum if I enter my Gmail into the email field before I start typing. If I leave the field blank while I type , then it’s fine. Go figure.

I was going to leave the Spyware on the phone and see if the police could find who had installed it, but itlooks like it’s not possible to find that out.

Ryan, I was targeted after I was first bullied by someone on FB and on another forum. The bully is connected to NXIVM…her hubby is one of their lawyers.  I have been trying to piece it together, but I still haven’t understood what their reasoning is in doing this to me. Didn’t even know about NXIVM being connected until I was given a tip recently.


I don’t have the spam call problem, but I know another person also targeted by this cult, who does have the spam phone call problem. The numbers are sometimes not even in service when she calls back. Weird.

If you are interested check out Dr. KATHERINE HORTON on YouTube. She is being severely harassed right now.

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@ Jackie

From Ryan on December 07, 2017 :: 5:53 am

I could pretty much bet that they are the social club this woman is referring to also. Give it a listen. Pretty interesting story. https://youtu.be/OCqjYkX5yj0 

Wish there was a way to PM you. I don’t want to congest this thread with personal chat. I may create an email account to put up here for people to contact me if they want to talk about this stuff. I’m curious as to who is all in California where I am. I know there is a ton of this in Florida, and Texas as well. I’m in the Los Angeles area.  Anyone else?  I think LA is a great place to get the hell out of at this point.

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@Ryan

From Jackie on December 07, 2017 :: 12:51 pm

Holy crap
I didn’t even finish that video, but her story is so scary, and what’s so bizarre is that you are right, Ryan. yhat the way her harrassment started is eerily similar to what happened to me.

In fact I was harassed because these women (who at first pretended to befriend me) tried to keep me from communicating with a man who was interested in me. I should explain - the man was a former friend/love interest but we ended up marrying other people, many years ago. Then I had contacted him online.

I had assumed everything happening to me at first was just personal (the wife and friends of the man probably doing it to bully me)but it’s obviously a much larger group involved than I first believed.

I also eventually discovered that the doctor who operates the website forum involved in the bullying was involved in harassing me himself, as unbelievable as that sounds, I have evidence. He actually changed the time stamp on a post to hide the fact that it was a fake post. He did this after I mentioned, on my social media page, that the post was obviously fake. So he was apparently also reading my tweets. I use Twitter to post evidence and screen shots of their bs.

I’m in Canada Ryan. One of my harassers is in Southern California like you…I have her name and her husbands name. It would be good to start some kind of data bank of names so we could compare.

I am still trying to understand the reasoning behind whY they did this, and how. An interesting note Ryan,in regards to the fake FB profiles. 2 fake-looking profiles were made for my old friend/love interest. They want me to believe he is still married, so they posted 2 pics of him with his wife. One pic was 2 or 3 years old, the other I could see immediately looked weird, and I’ve since determined that the wife was actually photoshopped into the picture, as she is out of proportion. This is a very bizarre level of mentally illness we are dealing with here to actually go to the effort to do this.

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I have info jackie

From Privateofcourse on March 31, 2019 :: 9:28 pm

Jackie, been thru same, have info… yes theyre tied to nexium… but its hard to believe…know this: nexium and relayed make honeypot sites on net, to find out who has info on them… posing as opposite… hence your bully doc….these are pimps to germophobes who break into attractive single persons homes using gumout, (ether) and sell access while knocked out victim never knows, to pervs of wealthy status afraid to visit sex places etc….they are also capable of if filming it and selling in other half of globe for example South America…. the date nix with old flame is to guarantee you stay single…. they iriginated in uostste ny… i recognized your description at once….they operate as a computer virus recruiting more people like a pyramid scheme, and many are high bill drug addicted to be controlled; so for one member, theyre required to take prisoner ten victims, done thru friending and conning..and of those ten, they expect each to lead to ten more, them atop reaping the monies from those they. Victimize….house gets bugged, gang stalk keeps you reigned in and spied on, and many times forwarding on phone to prevent outside help. Make interior locks to prevent lockpicking… secure windows as many new models pop out for cleaning off the tracks… you will be basically model material as am i and im twenty years into them now,  all new discovered in hindsight….they make more off this than drug dealers and pimps combined because the clientele they sell to is elite and wealthy…and sad to say their taking more stalking victims to conquer will likely involve other clan members of your own. Which is how they picked you to begin with….  hard to allow as posdible due to terrifying but thats it in a nutshell….

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I'm in Sunshine State as

From BlowNminds on May 18, 2019 :: 1:05 am

I’m in Sunshine State as u stated above, I have wondered for long time now whether gangstalking was a real thing & if so why would I be targeted? My cell is compromised, I have Lookout but have no control over app it’s self. Will not allow me to change email and password, nor will it allow me to push permissions, update, or disable buttons. Greyed out…..My online banking info was stolen but was able to stop the transfer of 4000 to US Bank acct. before transaction was made. I had the bank name, routing info along with a females first and last name yet was told by authorities there was really nothing they could do and since they did not actually obtain any monies to just resecure bank acct? Wtf has happened to this world we live in? I have friends who no longer answer my calls since on numerous occasions another voice is heard online, both male and female, which apparently freaked them out. I get the calls all day everyday from numbers similar yet always a little different. If u call # back the number is not an actual working number it says. I receive text messages stating “Do not show what I have sent to anyone else, sent with a url in which I would never be stupid enough to connect to. Whoever or whatever it is that controls my cell has the power to change pics I have taken in past and even more recently, I could not take any photo of any type of aircraft for nearly 2 weeks. Literally showed my wife, look through my lens then yours , c how the plane , helicopter etc shows in your screen yet not in mine only yours can take pic while all I get are clouds and sky. She freaked pretty good on that one and I was a little relieved that I had a couple of people as witnesses to this, which is now working.California, Florida & one other state u mentioned, I cannot recall this min. third named, wonder why these states over others and why me over say my neighbor or ball coach? I am no threat as far as I see it. At least I was not in beginning , but I have become quite bitter and angrier as years have passed with these and other things I don’t want to go in detail about right now, continuously happening.The best or only positive I can admit to would be process of fully awakening. Eyes wide open, perceptions & reality never to be as it was. I have also exp. health issues out of blue that stumped all docs and nearly killed me, still possibly could or will. I have a family & cannot come to an answer for why these things are being done or to what benefit to appease self, what sane person could? If this is 100% happening to others and quite possibly myself, I will continue to pray that they have a time limit or stopping point because this is not a life I could ever just get used to living.I should not have worded it (if this is happening) I do know it is happening unfortunately and have compassion to the most high for all victims involved.

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My laptop and phone have been hacked

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

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

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That's a well-known scam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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help

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

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

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

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

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

PLEASE HELP ME

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

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

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

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

Anyway, I know too much.

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

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

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

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

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

I have to go.

PEACE TO YOU ALL.
~§~

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That explains a lot!

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

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

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

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Strange contact appeared

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

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

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

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Your the bug

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

Dude what in the methamphetamine are you talking about?

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Methaphetamine comment

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

Lmfao.. that was funny!

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Help

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

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

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I think my dad got hacked?

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

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

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hacked

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

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

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Thx

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

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

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

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

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

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How can I prove it?

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

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

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Did you follow our advice above?

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

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

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Ongoing Hacking

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

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

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My friend is able to listen my conversations over mobile phone

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

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

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Download a security app for your phone

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

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

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

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

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

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Keylogger

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

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

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Spyware is device specific, not number specific

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

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

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got eem

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

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

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Txt message

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

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

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