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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

Phone number used to harass others.

From Cheryl on April 19, 2018 :: 4:04 pm

Someone calls me and swears they keep getting calls from my phone number. They call the number right back and it is mine. But I know that NO call was made from my phone. I was charging the phone and it was sitting right in front of me. How can a call be made to someone from another phone and come up as another person’s number?!?


Number spoofing

From Josh Kirschner on April 19, 2018 :: 4:37 pm

Spoofing a phone number is not hard to do and common among spammers. A typical approach now is to spoof the area code and exchange (the first three digits) of a number being called to make that person think it’s someone in their neighborhood. For example, if a spammer is calling 212-555-1111, they may spoof their number to make it look like the call is coming from 212-555-2222.  If that second number happens to be your number, then the person getting the spam call will think you’re the one calling them.

So your next question may be, “How can I stop it?” And the answer is, you can’t. Only the phone carriers can come up with a solution that will prevent spoofing and spam calls. The FCC and others have been looking for ways to address this, but, so far, we’ve just had to twiddle our thumbs waiting for them to act.


I don’t know if my phone has been hacked, but

From Janice on April 23, 2018 :: 9:43 am

The screen will shake after I press the home button from viewing text messages, I’ve sent myself emails from websites (apparently. I haven’t actually done that. It just says that I’ve sent them to myself), and I was followed from work two weeks ago. The phone in question was one that I purchased for my ex to use for Lyft in October of last year. He tried to stab me and was sent to jail. I received the phone from his sister (as Maryland put him under a no contact restraining order) and it’s been really bizarre since. My WiFi router now has a zebra installed in it, my location is always tracked even though I disabled it. My current boyfriend thought I was bananas until the police escorted me home on the night I was followed from work. I tried to sell one of my televisions (as I never use it) and a district attorney from Maryland started following the items I was selling. Everyone interested in the television had literally no information about them anywhere online and, if they did, it was always linked back to law enforcement. I can find no information about the case online or my ex boyfriend aside from the fact that he was charged initially unless I search from a different device. This is literally driving me nuts. I just want to live peacefully. I go to work and come home. I’m afraid to leave my apartment or go out and do anything unless someone else is with me. I’m scared of everything. I don’t know what to do.



From RYAN on May 02, 2018 :: 1:43 am


I was one of the first people to mention gangstalking on this, and a related posted. I had a victim of gangstalking since late 2011. I’m happy to tell everyone, and all the TI’s out there that I don’t think I’m being stalked anymore. I’m no longer hearing the voices. I may have found the way out.

I’m going to be honest and say that I was using meth during the time I was being stalked. And I’m no longer using. However, if you’re. TI, you probably know that it’s easy for people to blame your being stalked on mental illness, or if you use drugs, they can say it’s paranoia, or psychosis. And hey maybe some of it is. BUT, if you’re a true TI, you know what you’re experiencing. And I know what I was dealing with for 7 years.

If you’re a TI, you’re probably a good person. Someone with empathy. A person that cares about the things, and people in this world that others don’t. An exceptional person in many ways. However you’re probably also engaging in some kind of deep sin. KEEP READING. Haha, I know you think some holy roller thing is coming now. But let me tell you, if you do what I’m telling you, the voices will probably stop. As will the stalking.

I have come to the very real reality, that there is a heavy demonic involvement in Gangstalking. If you’re a TI, and you’re using drugs, and or engaging in sexual immorality, or walking in any known sin. Ask God for help in turning away from the sin and to him. Then stop using or walking in that sin. Your withdrawals, and cravings for the drug, or the sin you were walking in will go away. The voices and the stalking will go with them. I know for a 100% fact that all the voices I was hearing were demons now.  Because it was all made known to me by them, and God. Go to God with sin and he will help you turn from it. I’m now months off the drugs and sin and I have not had a craving for the drug since day 3 of quitting. If I even think about the drug my stomach turns. That amazing. I will never use again. He will do it for you too. Drugs, sex, ego, pride whatever it is. He will straighten you out in amazing ways

Understand TI’s, there is a reason you’ve come under attack. And you’re probably trying to figure out exactly why. You’re probably thinking why a good person like you would be getting targeted. Well, it’s because you have a purpose. And you’ve been targeted by God himself. He’s trying to turn you from your sin, and you bring you to him. He will humble you, and let you see you will not be able to overcome this on your own, until you reach out to him.

I did, and I’m now addiction, lust, and gangstalking free.

I challenge you to do it, and prove me wrong.


I believe u 💯👏

From BlowNminds on May 18, 2019 :: 1:58 am

Makes sense, not to mention I had the same thoughts on the subject for many years now. I like to believe God wants to save as many as possible during these dark days but it is also possible for some cases anyways, man playing God. The technology is there, the drugs and mental interferance that goes along with allows the paranoia and victim Ripe for the taking. Possibly it could be both at same time as well. Regardless I agree you speak truth that I share, which needs to continuously reshared as often as possible.


Gang Stalkers are Demonic

From Targeted 2 on March 06, 2021 :: 6:36 pm

I can agree with you on your findings… with some additional comments. The 1st time I attempted to rid myself of them by turning to God & reading the bible.. It got WAY WAY WORSE 1ST.. before it got better. As if I was “poking the bear” so to speak, & the bear poked BACK! But becuz I get a response I stuck with it.. & although they stalking didn’t stop, the tormentive part did. I went about my way, moved & purchased a mobile home and was fixing it up to flip it, when suddenly it all started up again. Here, my Christianity was apparently bothersome to the 28 Jehovah’s Witness’ who went to The Hall with our landlord. They tormented me relentlessly. I prayed daily to no avail from the break ins, damages & every single device hacked to high heaven! (Pardon the pun). But not being attacked spiritually, or mentally. Corruption prevailed still tho, with an illegal evictions after no notice for a hearing. I decided this was becuz I knew I really was meant to move out of Pennsylvania. So I did. I had almost 2 years of peace b4 renting a lot for my RV in a 55+ park near the beach in Florida. Once again, I caught this landlord being corrupt also. Charging all the single women an extra $20 more & pocketing it! The break-ins were like clockwork EVERY TIME I LEFT! The hacking of every device also. Damages to my RV, property & devices now exceed $6000, not including financial losses from destruction of my online sales business. ONCE AGAIN I WAS ILLEGALLY EVICTED 11/14/20 WHILE FL. GOV & PRES. TRUMP SAID I WAS PROTECTED DURING COVID! ONCE AGAIN NO NOTICE OF THE HEARING!
I have come to the realizations, that I am a psychic sensitive. I am aware of things others don’t even believe in. THAT is what makes me a higher end target. Although, I believe.. (hold your pants) that EVERYONE is being subject to this. They just don’t realize it. & it is those of us who can SEE.. that become BULLSEYES. None the less they cannot make my ears ring, get anxiety, get frantic, have nightmares, nothing spiritual. But they still can do things that others would call coincidence. Flat tires. Propane leaks. Broke water lines. & of course HACKING!!! Etc. I am now homeless (in my RV) and the phone I purchased 5 weeks ago was hacked in a record 8 days. Attempting a hard reset it says “Cannot unmount system partition… Access Denied”. While on Google help a red box appeared “Custom ROM not Play Protect certified. Contact developer” I am being denied my Constitutional and 1st Amendment Rights!! for the pursuit of happiness (running my own business) & privacy to complete my patents on 2 mega ideas. One which could eliminate 80% of plastic use. If I knew it’d work.. Id give my left toes to have a secure phone and laptop. I swear. I just don’t see that ever being a reality. I cant even get Norton 360 Lifelike to install!!
We are The Witnesses. Don’t ever forget it. We will be here on their judgement day. So forgive, but NEVER FORGET.


I feel like that was for me

From TiffC on June 23, 2022 :: 5:53 pm

Hit it riight on the nail. I feel that was just for me. It’s amazing how reaching out the way you did, gave me confermation. Now I just need to act accordingly. Thank you and I hope all is still well with you. I really want to be TI


Spied/Stalked on for 4 years

From Michelle Jackson on May 05, 2018 :: 10:31 pm

Finally! I’ve found a forum that can assist me!! I have bought new phones iPhones android had over 100 email addresses, Facebook addresses taken over… vpns dont help… nor does malwarebytes.. sophos… etc.  None of them…


Reply back to Michelle Jackson

From W on March 15, 2021 :: 7:26 pm

Your not alone! Same thing you mentioned is same thing I been victimized by for the past 4 years! I have bought up to 7 different phones and have went through 3 laptops during these past 4 years. It’s still has not stopped! Every time the compromising gets so bad you get to point you cannot live another day like this so i go by another new phone and new phone service, 4 to 6 weeks later, they are in my device again; repeating the same steps or patterns all over again. I lost countless Facebook accounts and Google accounts-all social media accounts due to someone changing passwords,etc. Moreless, I have an abnormal amount of notebooks I completely used up from constantly having to keep changing passwords and forced to,endlessly,keep having to create new accounts! Photos, files, documents, etc continually disappears, sharing of files I did not ever share, settings being changed i did not change, my data runs way to high in apps I have not opened or mobile hotspot data shows it’s used up when I never got the chance to use it, bank accounts showing transactions I did not do, credit report showing loans & credit cards taken out under my name that did not belong to me! To many issues to mention! I performed different background checks on myself & my family to look for signs of identity theft & resulted in disturbing info, (For example, people listed as your inner circle closest relatives that are not related to you) that should not be on any of your background info including background showing prior addresses that you never lived at!! If anyone ever suspects their identity has been compromised, be sure to obtain copy of all 3 credit reports that belongs to you &
retrieve a background check of yourself! These reports will tell you everything you need to know if you suspect identity fraud! People take their privilege of having privacy for granted! People also do not have absolutely no clue how important privacy is until it is completely taken away from you! Your whole environment in your life becomes controlled by somebody using corceive control, gaslighting, & defamation! You beg for help and help never comes! You just want to break free and you want your life back! Hope becomes nothing but dismissive! You go to the police & get police report but nothing still does not get better! Who else can you go to for help if no help ever comes from law enforcement??


I think my phone is hacked

From Beth on May 06, 2018 :: 6:08 pm

My question is I think my boy friend hacked my phone but not sure , he knew all the people I was talking to on messanger , is this possible?


Did you follow the steps above?

From Josh Kirschner on May 07, 2018 :: 12:06 pm

You can use the steps above to determine if your phone has been hacked and what to do about it. However, it may have nothing to do with your phone - not clear which messenger app you’re referring to, but if he has or an guess your login credentials for that, then he would be able ot see all of your conversations.


Possible hack

From Lucy Sandoval on May 07, 2018 :: 3:21 pm

Ok so I had a missed call, when I called the number back it began to ring, then I noticed the same number i was dialing was now calling me. I hung up and tried calling thE number and the same thing happeded. So I then called from a land line and now,my cell phone was the number I call had my cell ringing. I’ve since powered my phone off. Any suggestions on whAt to do?


No, not really sure what's causing that

From Josh Kirschner on May 07, 2018 :: 5:38 pm

Haven’t heard of that situation before, but it doesn’t sound like any type of “hack”. If I had to guess (and I am taking a guess). whomever you are calling has a set up that recognizes your caller ID and forwards the call back. Can’t explain why calling from your landline would ring your cell unless those numbers were connected in your system. It’s a weird situation that almost sounds more like a prank than a scam. Did you try Google searching the number to see what comes up?


I received a confirmation message from Google verification ,I give that code to my friend my wa

From Karthik Bathini on May 09, 2018 :: 1:43 pm

Hii ,I received a confirmation code from Google tell a code to my friend my phone was hacked or not


Hacked once. Need info and suggestions

From Maria on May 10, 2018 :: 9:49 am

Was hacked before and lost 3 emails! Now I signed in to retrieve a code only to access my YouTube account on a different device and I’m seeing little details that made me concerned! So changed all information on main email that possibly could, and dropped 2nd email that had access to email that is possibly being used by another. Also detached my email from it! Any suggestions what I may do to secure email I have in use and any security app for Android because I own my phone and also carrier provided app did NOT stop hacking on last 3 emails! Thanks!


Here's how to deal with email hacking

From Josh Kirschner on May 10, 2018 :: 11:35 am

It’s not clear to me why you think your email was hacked. But if you’re concerned, we have an article that specifically deals with email hacking and how to protect yourself.


Please help me my phones

From OkaDlaba on May 11, 2018 :: 10:35 am

Please help me my phones has been hacked my numbe r is 0734258972 and the other one is 066 209 4190


Random stuff keep happening

From AlienMan33 on May 13, 2018 :: 3:58 pm

i need some help, when i went on my tablet yesterday i was seeing some random stuff happening on my tablet, Google Voice Text (whatever it’s called) randomly starts up, volume randomly moves left to right. And at one point i heard a female bot voice saying “Your internet connection isn’t safe for the time being” idk if that is normal or if that could be a hacker or virus, i downloaded Malwarebytes and scanned, there were 2 risky stuff. One was a application i downloaded (which did not give me a virus at all) and a random file i did not know. Please tell me how to fix this! It maybe gone but it might come back or it might still be there, also at my time zone it occured in the midnight at 2 or 3 AM. But in the morning it did not happen. I though it might have been my tablet cover so i took it off in the morning and nothing strange happened. I am gonna go on my tablet again at some time and see if it happens again, if so then i will remove the cover and see if it stops working. If not then it might be a glitch in the hard drive or it could be a hacker or virus


Doesn't sound like hacking.

From Josh Kirschner on May 14, 2018 :: 1:27 pm

It’s hard to interpret what you’re describing without seeing it, but doesn’t sound like hacking. If I had to guess, it’s possible you may have gotten a malicious popup window while browsing that was mimicking issues and trying to get you to buy some scam “antimalware”. However, that really is just a guess. It’s definitely not an issue related to your tablet cover.

I would suggest downloading Lookout Security and giving that a shot on your tablet to see what it finds. (Malwarebytes is great for PCs, less so for mobile). If it finds nothing, I wouldn’t worry unless it happens again.


Sprint hijacks my phone

From Micki on May 16, 2018 :: 1:03 am

I have an lg treasure.Straightalk with verizon as the carrier.Most of the time i try to make a call and an automated message says Sprint will now connect you to continue your call with a crdei card or pin number.I turn phone off then back on this on occasion allows me to use phone again,but not often.friends tell me they call and it just rings.text messages wont send.I have called straight talk daily about this.There is always a triangle in the top of phone where time n date is supposed to mean my phone is roaming.i disabled roam.the only place i can call is Sprint.i explained my problem,they cant help because i am not a customer,yet they have control of my phone about 80 percent of the time.Straightalks suggestion is to call them when the problem is occuring duh i can only cal sprint when problem is occuring.please help me.


This is a Verizon problem, not Sprint

From Josh Kirschner on May 16, 2018 :: 8:26 am

Your phone should be defaulting to Verizon’s network unless it is unavailable - that is the only time your phone should go to Sprint. You should be able to force it to only use Verizon in the phone settings. Try this: Under Network & Internet, Mobile Network, there is the roaming switch, which it sounds like you have already turned off, but that only affects data. To change your voice roaming options, hit Advanced and turn off “Automatically select network”. Then, under Network, select Verizon.

Let me know if that works.


Sprint hijacks my phone

From Micki on May 16, 2018 :: 10:48 am

Tried your advice.under mobile networks i have 3 data,data roaming or access point names.under access point names there is one line it says:TRACFONEVZWENTP.there was a blue cirle lit by it.i could not do anything with this so i chose the three dot menu in upper right corner chose reset to default.the blue circle is grey now.briefly sprint will grab my phone but the triangle dissapears after a minute or the problem is solved a little bit.I did go into every setting i could and turned off anything that allowed roaming or location.Since it is still a problem it maybe time for new phone and ditch it possible for my neighbors netgear wifi extender to be my problem.twice when a text wouldnt send it gave error code97 or 93.(i cannot remember)but when i looked it up that error code said i was using my phone close to a wifi extender.i am not on my neighbors extender they gave me thier code but i chose not to use stuff is so confusing to me


This is something that Straight Talk needs to resolve

From Josh Kirschner on May 16, 2018 :: 3:46 pm

This isn’t an issue with Sprint “hijacking” your phone. It’s your phone connecting to the Sprint network.  My guess is that you are outside the Verizon coverage area and you phone is finding the Sprint network and trying to connect (which is not allowed under your Straight Talk plan). Does this always happen in one place (e.g., home) or all over? If the former, it may be that Verizon isn’t the right network for you. If it’s all over, this is something Straight Talk support needs to resolve, as it may be an issue with your device settings.

I don’t see how your neighbor’s Wi-Fi extender would impact your texting.

I accidently tapped the section

From Micki on May 16, 2018 :: 2:07 pm

I accidently tapped the section to not recieve so hoping by sending this it puts me back in .i did try your advice and sent you the results but not sure if i replied in the proper place.hope so.thanks for helping such a person who finds this technology confusing but neccesary


Thanks for your help Josh.It

From Micki on May 16, 2018 :: 3:55 pm

Thanks for your help Josh.It occurs at home.I have lived there 6 years,this has been going on for 2 months .I have had same phone number but different phones.this phone i have had for a year.straightalk is supposed to be sending me a phone or shipping label to send this back not real sure in what order because thier accent was hard for me to understand


Was I hacked I dont know what to do?

From David Chance Snyder on May 16, 2018 :: 1:49 pm

I have a galaxy s9+ what’s the best way to check my phone to see if I my phone has been hacked?? Thanks


Use tips in article above

From Josh Kirschner on May 16, 2018 :: 2:10 pm

The galaxy S9+ is no different than any other Android device as far as checking for hacking. You can follow the tips in the article above (especially #1) and follow those steps. Unless you have a specific reason why you think your phone may have been hacked, it’s highly unlikely that you have been, but having a mobile security app on your phone is always a smart idea.


Comments and your response

From Anne Stone on December 18, 2021 :: 8:31 pm

Hi,for an article such as you wrote,I am not sure why nearly every concern people have as writing in, you have minimized. More than one professional private eye has stated it IS happening.


I'm analyzing, not minimizing

From Josh Kirschner on December 23, 2021 :: 11:21 am

Phones absolutely can be hacked. And there are some particularly insidious spyware apps easily available online that I know from direct experience people have been impacted by. I’ve covered these in depth in other articles.

But the fear of being hacked is not the same as the reality of being hacked. Where there is reason to believe your phone may have been hacked because of your personal situation or specific indicators in your device’s operation, then it is prudent to follow the steps I outline in the article (and that’s exactly what I suggested in my comment above).

However, in many cases, what people are describing in the comments is either not a sign of hacking or is extraordinarily unlikely/improbable. And that is the professional opinion I am providing.


From BOB on January 16, 2021 :: 12:38 am

TRY; “Have I been pawned?”


Why people hack phones and

From Mike Fernandez on May 17, 2018 :: 3:21 am

Why people hack phones and emails


I think my phone was hacked but not confirmed

From Kavi on May 23, 2018 :: 4:54 am

Suddenly vidoes stoped and playing and sudden hang pop up like suddenly ui system has stopped


Please help !!

From Scott on May 24, 2018 :: 3:39 am

I think my email.account has been hacked through my phone and I need to know how to stop it.


Hacked call

From Stacey on May 27, 2018 :: 6:31 pm

Is it possible for a hacker to hack a phone call and leave that call open without the people realizing it? I had called a friend on morning and talk to her for a while but later when looking at the call log realize that the call was open for almost 7 hours. I am asking because my phone was hacked and several text and photos were pulled from my phone .  They were used to do some damage not really to me but to the guy that was in the text and pictures and his girlfriend. I know never should put anything in pictures that you don’t want out it was stupid but I’m just wondering if it’s possible. Can a phone call be hijacked like that?


When I look at my

From ImTechChallenged on June 04, 2018 :: 3:18 pm

When I look at my location while using Google on my android device I am often times not in the location provided. For example it will say you are logged in “near Los Angeles or Lynwood or some other So.Cal city. I’m in Arizona. Is that anything to be concerned about? Just wondering if my phone is compromised. TechChallenged. Thank you


Likely not a concern.

From Josh Kirschner on June 04, 2018 :: 3:56 pm

If you are not using GPS on your device to allow Google to track your location, it will do so using cellular and/or Wi-Fi networks. In many cases, Wi-Fi networks will be identified as the central hub, rather than a precise location. So you may be in Arizona, but the hub of the network you’re using where the IP address is registered may be in southern California. See this article for ways to improve the accuracy of your location on Android devices:


Is anyone can hack our

From Ashish sharma on June 16, 2018 :: 5:31 pm

Is anyone can hack our mobile by knowing only our contact number..??
If yes…then how we can protect our phone..


That's not quite correct

From Josh Kirschner on June 20, 2018 :: 5:10 pm

No one can “hack” your phone just by knowing your contact number (Well, okay, it’s theoretically possible, but would likely involve a national spy/police agency specifically targeting your device in conjunction with a device manufacturer. Let’s assume you’re not that major crime figure or high profile politician). You could be “monitored” with the SS7 vulnerability or StingRay. But that’s likely to only be used by spy agencies/law enforcement on specific targets.

None of those threats are things that should keep normal people up at night. But if they do, we provide ways to protect yourself in the article above.


facebook messenger customer service

From shiwakant mishra on June 21, 2018 :: 5:23 am

The time when i had got forgotten my facebook password
and also security questions I tried everything but not got
solution at last i had contacted to facebook
professionals and finally recovered my facebook account,


Facebook Account

From KB on March 04, 2019 :: 11:54 am

Do you remember “how” you contacted Facebook professionals?
I am also a victim of hacking on my iPhone. Seemed as if hackers got in through apps? My bank account, my apps like Verizon, FB, Instagram etc
  I have changed banks, routers, factory resets, called Apple so many times.
  I finally just gave up as Police do nothing. Doesn’t matter if I have two factor code on as hacker gets to it first and by the time I type it in the “code” doesn’t work etc
  But I SO want to get my FB back. In the last year and a half I have lost my 31 year old Son and 10 months later my husband. I had a lot of friends on FB and they all have posted things and I want to thank them and read their messages. So important to me for my healing. Can you please tell me where and how to contact FB?  I have tried and then they want a copy of my passport or drivers license? I don’t think so!!  Thanking you in advance for ANY help you can give me.
  FB has so much History and many messages that I need desperately.



From Ala on June 26, 2018 :: 7:40 pm

I was trying to watch a movie when I was taken to this weird link that showed an explicit image and said my phone has been hacked. It kept trying to call me and it would not let me click the home button to leave the site. Finally I just restarted my phone. What should I do? Was I really hacked?


No, you weren't hacked

From Josh Kirschner on July 03, 2018 :: 2:12 pm

From the description, it sounds like you experienced a malicious ad redirect, not a hack. This is a method where unscrupulous companies exploit the JavaScript used to serve ads on websites which can redirect the user to another site or create those annoying pop-ups that can’t be closed. If the scammer site isn’t letting you leave, the easiest thing to to is to just close the browser tab - no need to restart your phone.

While you’re more likely to experience this on questionable sites which use shady ad networks, it can happen on any site, including ours, if some evil-doer manages to get past to ad screening for Google Adsense or another major ad network used by major publications.


Help me please.

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

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


Hacked help

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

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


Hacked bad

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

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


Same happened

From Sue on May 04, 2021 :: 11:12 pm

I have had same happen with a group of people. They remark or repeat stuff spoken in private phone conversations or through text. Step kids and few others.
How to secure a phone so I may have privacy back


tip https

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

More on phone


Implantables are here and dangerous as You know what!

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

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


I was hacked by jealous boyfriend

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

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


Help Required Please

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

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

please help me out


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