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How to Tell if Your Phone Has Been Hacked

by on February 15, 2023
in Privacy, Phones and Mobile, Mobile Apps, Tips & How-Tos :: 729 comments

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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.

Discussion loading

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…


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.


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?



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!


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.


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


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


how to tell if phone is hacked

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

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


Not clear what is happening

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

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

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



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

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


Hacked? No. Spam? Yes.

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

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


Last resort.

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

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


Follow our advice above first, then deal with bigger issue

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

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

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

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

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


Hey josh- how would u

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

Hey josh- how would u monitor home traffic?


The easiest way is through your router

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

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


From Mj on December 19, 2021 :: 3:54 am

I feel like my ex does have access to my accounts thru the simplest of ways. I was trying to think of all these gadgets and things I didn’t understand. And then it dawned on me. He uses my license and my SS# to obtain my info. I think? I had my ID just randomly come up missing a few years ago and my SS card. I also believe he has dated an ATT employee and also one of his customers is an ATT employee. Is this a possible way? And what should I do if so. When I say this ATT worker is a customer I mean a customer of an illegal business. If you know bay I mean. I think he does this not because he cares but to make sure I’m keeping my mouth shut and not telling what I know which is apparently more than I thought. Because why would someone put so much effort into knowing what I’m saying or doing? Especially if they could care less. I know this sounds crazy but my ex is in deep. And I think this is truly happening. It sounds like a movie and sometimes I think I’m crazy but deep down I know I’m not. I know this is going on.


I dont feel alone...

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

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


Help.. hacked?

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

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


It's possible

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

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

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


Can you literally watch someone from a thousand miles away?

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

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


Yes, it's possible

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

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

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


Explain this

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

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


My phone did the same sort of thing

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

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


I guess you not gonna answer

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

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


Hello,why you ignore my question?

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

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


Here's your answer

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

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


Caller Changes to unknown whilst on a call

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

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


Not sure, but have a guess

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

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


Helloooo ,why won't you reply?

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

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


your'e an a$$

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

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


Chill Lady!

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

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


Umm okay then

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

Gee thanks for nothing!


Also Gang Stalked (Toronto, Canada)

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

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


Well is there anything that

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

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


Just guessing

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

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


I'm sure of one thing

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

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


Wifes phone hacked

From David on March 23, 2018 :: 5:49 pm

My wife recently had her bank card used by a 3rd party. They also had her ebay and paypal accts and her google was tried to be logged on to from iraq. Im guessing her phone was hacked. Didnt find any new or unrecognized apps. We did recently buy a longer usb cord off of amazon. Could that be the source of her info being hacked?


May not be phone hacking

From Josh Kirschner on March 23, 2018 :: 6:15 pm

It doesn’t sound like phone hacking. If someone has access to multiple accounts that sounds more like her passwords have been compromised through a breach, or poor password management or both. It’s theoretically possible that someone could create a USB cable that would hack devices plugged into it, but I haven’t heard of that threat existing in real life and the information that could be pulled off this way from a smartphone would be limited.

Assuming your wife has already changed her logins for those sites, she can see what credentials may have been leaked through breaches by reading this article: You should also install anti-malware on your computer and phone and do full scans.

But my bet right now would be on the data breach/bad password angle.



From Martin on March 28, 2018 :: 8:31 pm

So what does it mean when I go into my Verizon and it says I send pictures to numbers I don’t know and it says I received and sent them


Now my Gmail is hacked

From Jackie on March 29, 2018 :: 10:36 pm

Hi Josh
I commented here a few months ago regarding my hacked phone.  Now I have had a new incident aND I hope you can explain it.
I sent an email to someone using an address provided on their business website. I then left my phone charging while I was out of the house and no one had access to my phone.

When I next turned on my phone I noticed that the email had been returned to me, at 3:44 as undeliverable.  I also noticed that at that exact same time an email I had sent out several weeks ago to reply to a Craigslist ad about a house rental, had oddly been sent back to me. I was puzzled why that happened weeks after I had replied to the ad, but the weirdest thing was I noticed 2 drafts were opened in my email program, both at 3:44.

When I opened them I saw that one was blank and that the other said “Wow…you’re something aren’t you”? This one seemed to have been sent thru Craigslist.

Any ideas how someone was able to hack my email…it seems they somehow used the Craigslist relay email to do this.


Can Nokias be hacked

From James Williams on April 01, 2018 :: 7:59 pm

My nokia is not a smartphone. A couple of weeks ago I attended a public protest in London. Since then the battery has needed charging 5 times as much as normal. At one stage I was using my camcorder to film an arrest. When I got home I found the film of that scene had been tampered with and wouldn’t show. Could my phone have been hacked too?


Can a Nokia be hacked?

From James Williams on April 02, 2018 :: 6:13 am

I was filming a protest demo a couple of weeks back and found the footage on my camera of an arrest being made had been scrambled. Also, my Nokia phone battery had drained very quickly. The battery on the Nokia has struggled ever since and yet there were no problems previously. Did the police use some tech to damage my Nokia and to cause the battery to drain?


I doubt it

From Josh Kirschner on April 02, 2018 :: 11:13 am

I’ve never heard of technology that could scramble modern cameras in this manner and it seems highly dubious that would be the cause of your video issue. If someone has information that says otherwise, I would like to see it. If you’re using an old video tape camera, I could see how you might be able to do this with strong magnetic or electronic fields, but doing so would create issues for all sorts of devices, not just your camera, and why would the police implement tech to block 30-year old devices?

As for the battery on your phone, I don’t see a connection there for the same reasons.


It is possible, wife and brother witnessed

From BlowNminds on May 18, 2019 :: 1:47 am

Approx 2 months ago, my android out of blue stopped taking pics of the aircraft around home. Mainly military as I live close to Navy base in Florida. After 3 or 4 pics and a quick look @ pics just taken, nothing but sky. I asked wife to come out back and take pic if military copter circling, at same time put my phone up to show her the aircraft did not show yet would in hers. We did this 5 or 6 times over next couple of hours with same result. Brother stopped by a little later and thankfully was able to witness this as well. Freaked em out quite a bit, myself have seen stranger things. Regardless I am thankful for 2 witnesses but stunned at how and why it happened. Eventually few weeks later I was able to take pics of the aircraft again as I have been for past 4+ years.


@James Williams.

From RYAN on May 02, 2018 :: 12:57 am

I can tell you this much. I don’t at all doubt that they can scramble video in this way. Even if the tech isn’t well known yet.

I can tell you in my personal experience, I taking video of a bunch of military choppers that we’re flying over my house here in Los Angeles one time, and my phone battery suddenly died, and never worked again. Then on another occasion, I was filming some strange orb like balls of light that we’re moving around the sky above my house with an actual video camera, and suddenly the battery died, and never worked again. Haha.


Yes they have tech that can scramble the camera

From Eric91crx on October 19, 2020 :: 10:45 pm

I’ve noticed the same thing that the original poster mentioned, I have been taking photos of chemtrails and trying to take pics late at night of very very different looking miliary advanced flying craft that are triangle shaped like a doritos , and often when trying to take a picture of a chemtrail jet spraying when I view the picture later I cannot see the planes in the pic only the sky and the chemtrail.  As for my numerous attempts to take pictures and video of these odd triangle shaped military ufo like craft when shooting the pics and videos mainly I notice I can barely see anything with the camera even though the craft to the naked eye is brilliantly lit up with numerous different red , orange and white lights blinking , strobing and some on solid, and not to mention the craft were only at 1000-1500ft of elevation maybe one mile from me at the very most not only would my phone’s camera barely capture what my naked eye was seeing but of the lights on the craft that my camera did infact capture the lights appeared as a completely different color in the camera than they did to the naked eye.  Ive also noticed the same exact effect even when trying to view these craft with standard binoculars , same exact results. Have no clue what kind of tech they are using on board these craft but it’s cloaking the craft for sure and manipulating my camera or just not allowing it to capture a true image for sure .


iPhone 6s

From Sara on April 09, 2018 :: 2:57 am

I plugged my phone in at the airport charging stations and a green bar popped up on the bottom of my screen. I don’t know if I’ve been hacked or not but I’m worried… someone help!!


Have I been hacked or does my phone just suck

From Danielle on April 16, 2018 :: 2:16 am

I can be in the middle of doing anything on my phone and all of a sudden it kicks me out. Sometimes I can retrieve it from being minimized, but sometimes it isn’t even available to pull back up. Also I notice settings on my phone that I don’t recall making. Is this a hack, what can I do? I’ve changed passwords for the most part, and have a backup security access for accounts but am worried that it is not enough for these clever criminals.. Able to help, please do!!!!


Probably an non-spy app causing issues

From Josh Kirschner on April 16, 2018 :: 12:34 pm

Chances are, your issues are being caused by an app not working as it should or a system problem. You don’t say what settings, specifically, have changed, though if you’ve downloaded an antispyware app like Lookout Security and it hasn’t found anything, I wouldn’t worry about spying.

Either way, the best solution is to do a factory reset on your phone (backup you data first) and then only reload those apps you really need.


Was I hacked I dont know what to do?

From David Chance Snyder on April 17, 2018 :: 1:22 pm

I had a purchase from a online dating site with my phone and credit card information and I didn’t do it and last night I had a thing pop up on my phone telling me my phone was hacked could this have been true and my phone was hacked and if so could they have done all that with the online dating services because I’m a married man there’s no way I would do something like that I don’t know what to do or tell me wife… need advise asap thanks


Most likely not connected

From Josh Kirschner on April 17, 2018 :: 2:43 pm

Unless it was a antimalware app that you have installed on your phone warning you about a specific threat, the message you saw on your phone was almost certainly a scam. Those messages pop up on sketchy sites (or non-sketchy sites that have been hacked) and then get you to download some equally sketchy “security” app, which at best does nothing, and at worst is spyware.

If you’re concerned about the security of your device, get Lookout Security or an app from another well-known, reputable vendor, like Norton, Kaspersky or Bitdefender. Then scan for malware and keep yourself protected on an ongoing basis.


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