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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

FAke hacker

From Sayyed Shakir on September 18, 2018 :: 9:24 am

folks be careful of .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) same person. They will ask for money and then pretend to work on your case. After sometime will ask for additional money to go ahead. If you say no will disappear. He is completely fake


how to know my mobile is hacked or not

From prity on September 21, 2018 :: 3:16 pm

pls tell me how to know is anyone else trapping my phone


possibility of someone on phone other than me

From Jesse on September 22, 2018 :: 9:48 am

So a ccouple of days ago i got a text saying my photos are on WhatsApp
i had ignored but in typing a response to the person “who is this” i pressed preview and now my phone is acting up and it feels like someone is using it cause its opening apps up that i’ve never used, i have even reset my phone and still am having these weird actions pretty often


My girls jackets I to

From Mike on August 16, 2022 :: 8:46 pm

My girls jackets I to my gmail is it possible for me to hack back and see what’s o her phone


I wanna knw did my phone was hacked

From Sofi on November 05, 2018 :: 10:45 am

When I try to open my fb acct ma password showed that it was wrong later some how I deactivated my account… Late I got a call from +8265number tell me did my phn was hacked by some one or not please


Plz help

From Adrian on November 27, 2018 :: 8:35 am

Hello i am in need of help i have been hacked over and over everytime i create a new account through google i get hacked again, i have also changed phones 4 or 5 times and within a week they have me again i even went with another phone company and they hacked me within a weeks time thwy are also on my phone i can hear what sounds like a landline pickup and then hangup my calls have been redirected also plz if anyone can help me, they have also taken around 480.00 out of my account.


Phones hacked and spyed on 24/7

From Billy on December 08, 2018 :: 1:13 pm

How can I figure out and put an end to finding out who is hacking into and spying on my phone and invading my privacy so that I can take legal actions against them to make sure get what got coming and prevent it from being a Continuous reoccurring situation


phone hacked maybe

From manahil on December 14, 2018 :: 10:32 am

i dnt know my phone shuts in the middle of whatever I am using and it then restarts after a bit. it slows down while it doesnt has a specific problem.
i think its hacked. my phone is samsung galaxy note 4
please help


Sounds more like a phone issue

From Josh Kirschner on December 14, 2018 :: 11:30 am

That sounds more like a phone issue than hacking. Have you tried factory resetting the phone to see if that helps things?


Facebook recovery

From KB on March 04, 2019 :: 12:25 pm

I am also a victim of hacking and identity thief as well. I went to the Police, I contacted everyone I could like credit card bureau.
  I have switched banks, phone numbers, email accounts, routers. You name it and I have done it. Factory reset my iPhone, iPad and Mac so many times and yet still being hacked.
  I hear a doorbell noise in the background during phone calls. And/or my phone vibrates in my hand when I am talking on the phone.
  Talking with Apple I would get disconnected so many times and Apple Fraud always said they would call back but then hacker would block their call.
  Such a nightmare!! 
I have to pretty much let go of this as I have literally just given up.  It was taking up months of my time and energy to fight Chase Bank on realizing this truly was happening. My air printer was stopped when I was printing off evidence of the monies that were being taken out so I could use it as evidence.
  To this day I cannot use my new printer as hacker still controls everything WiFi in my home.
  But what I am asking about is much more important to me than it should be but perhaps you will understand? My 31 year old Son’s life was taken from him in a violent and totally unexpected death. Then 10 months later my husband passed away (whose account was also being hacked after he passed).  What happens to any app I install that requires a password and I will put really hard to guess passwords down. I go into the app and all is good and then after I close out of the App EACH and EVERY time when I try to go back in. Wrong password. So I get the secret code from two factor and by the time I type that code in -‘hacker has already picked it up and now my code is invalid.
  To make a long story short. I SO need and want my FaceBook account back!!!  It has comments and posts from friends about my husband a Son that I have never seen. I had saved posts and pictures from them as wellb before they even passed away. Our life history is on FB. There were literally hundreds of comments that I couldn’t not go and read at the time. They, as you can imagine, will be priceless to me now.  When I felt like I was contacting FB they asked me to send a pic of my passport or drivers license??? I DONT THINK SO!!
  I did not know if anyone knows how to contact the LEGIT FACEBOOK reps as I just come up with total phishing when I try it and I won’t (hopefully) be fooled again.
  I so have a different email that I did have when I opened my FB account years ago but that is the email that got hacked into so I can’t use it or the hacker gets the link to reset it on that old email.
  I would be forever grateful for any help in getting my memories back from my FB. I feel it is something that I cannot let go of until I have read and replies to the many PM’s and posts that friends and loved ones posted to help me with my healing process.
Thanking you in advance.


Hacked messages

From Simphiwe on December 16, 2018 :: 1:27 pm

How do i stop the hack on my phone, its J5 Grand Prime?


My vivo x21

From Lewis on December 22, 2018 :: 3:15 am

My vivo x21 I was cheated to trade in with my mate10 then later I realised it was a demo or China set n now my phone was ridiculous…  Games cannot play after do.  Group chat in SMS after my so called friend use my phone when working. I lend my hot spot to a person name ah tan n he act as if dunno hp… But he asked to used my hot spot to dl play store then carousel then all becomes upside down… Pics coming to my album I dunno whose…  Pics of even my medicine in a physician…  Then I go interview I open GPS it juz shows rubbish direction…  N I am working n the apps also hang n I have no choice but to see the item address written 1 by 1 n was scolded for being slow for nothing…  Now my m1 dun even believed my data was overused…  It’s juz crazy…



From Adrian Gutierrez on December 26, 2018 :: 5:01 pm

I believe my girlfriend hacked my phone is using my emails to do fraudelent activities i need some help on how to handle this matter i called my local polica station and all they say is to factory reset the phone i need help guys i dont know what to do ?😞


Need help on how to

From Perry B White on December 29, 2018 :: 6:20 am

Need help on how to spy and track a cheating spouse?


iPhone 7plus

From Michelle on January 05, 2019 :: 11:55 am

For the past year I’ve been having a lot of random numbers on my monthly statement that I know I have not called or texted. A lot are calls and texts that are sent to me and it all looks like I’ve been having conversations with ppl with these unknown numbers. One number is the location where prisons and jails go through for inmates to make calls. I know I haven’t talked to anyone in prison or jail. This is causing a lot of problems with my boyfriend. I’ve tried calling the phone carrier I go through but they keep telling me that there’s no way for this to happen so it looks like I’m guilty and I’m not. Someone plz help me get this figured out.



From Joan Muscat on January 07, 2019 :: 8:58 pm

Can someone enter their birthday on your calendar?
I tried to remove it and found it was like a public holiday - locked in.

Then it just disappeared.


You're probably syncing from another app

From Josh Kirschner on January 11, 2019 :: 1:23 pm

In your calendar settings, there is sometimes the option to sync holidays and birthdays from other services, like Google+. If you’re using Google Calendar, go to Settings and then click on Birthdays in the left panel to see what is syncing. You can also click the little eye next to Birthdays to hide birthdays from your calendar entirely.


Phone hacked

From Sharon on January 26, 2019 :: 9:52 am

My contacts in the phone disappeared
And some of my emails disappeared



From GrannyBlu on January 27, 2019 :: 1:52 pm

My ex has my phone hacked. Tells me where I’ve search,  sites I’m on and who I’ve called or messaged.  An I dunno how.  I have my SD card encrpyped and I NOW have a pin on it,  but hasn’t always been as such. How can I tell without a doubt,  and stop it


How did you resolve this?

From Sue on May 06, 2021 :: 6:46 am

Same here..yet also includes a few others. How were you able to resolve this?


very smart mdn and xda dev is clever

From a on January 31, 2019 :: 10:33 pm

phone hacked. changed google voice num. only way is to change mac also laptop hacked. he did it via wifi thats close, conn to a unsecure phone and connected to laptop. it said via ethernet cable which was not even plugged in. deleted my stuff or put on his cloud. there issoftware pack that includes the tools used but i dont care he is admin on phone and binded all my abilities to use keyboard or touchscre.en. all i c ao do is wait for the day


Suspected hack using mobile data

From Cs101 on February 16, 2019 :: 5:26 pm

Hi wondering if someone can help.
I’m a former fraud analyst for a retail company so I’m quite knowledgeable about fraud but something has stumped me.

A friend of mine was complaining they were using there mobile data (10gb in 18 days)
I looked at there phone and the email account had used 8gb looked into there email account and spam was being sent from there mailbox. Not a massive amount but I’m working on the assumption some was deleted. It’s mostly background data. Is there a way they have sent it through the phone remotely? Other than that I’m thinking they’re possibly putting the email to be sent on a delay or putting it into the outbox and it’s being sent through the phone which has a constant connection.
But I don’t have a clue why the hacker wouldn’t send it through there own device.
Ran a scan using avast and nothing is showing and no accounts linked to the email seem to have been compromised.


Here's one possibility

From Josh Kirschner on February 16, 2019 :: 9:35 pm

It’s a little tricky to determine what’s happening without being able to analyze the phone in more detail. But since you say you have seen some spam being sent from this account, one possibility is that there is a large quantity of spam being sent from the account (not necessarily via the phone) and when those sent messages are synced up to the phone that’s where the data usage happens. The messages are then deleted by the spammer to either avoid detection or to ensure the mailbox doesn’t run out of space and get frozen.

That said, 10gb is a huge amount of data for email. I would think that send limits or fraud detection would kick in before it got to that point, but maybe not. Again, would really need to be able to analyze the data further.

In any case, if it is email spam that is the problem, solving it is really simple. Change the email password immediately, turn on two-factor authentication and follow the other steps in our article for what to do when your email gets hacked.


Hello please

From Molly Byrd on February 16, 2019 :: 6:59 pm

found out recently that my mother’s phone has been hacked by this chick enter a code into it and now when someone calls her this number pops up that wasn’t there before. Now I’m starting to have a weird number popping up when people call me. It would be the phone number and then rn=+1318422 does anyone know what that means is my phone really hacked and if it is what do I need to do.


My sister...

From Diane Combs on February 21, 2019 :: 12:18 pm

My sister got a hold of my phone and retrieved my deleted messages. So she said. Ruining my life. Help me find out if she did. or is still. I know nothing about phone’s other than text and talk.



From Malcom on February 26, 2019 :: 8:09 am

Help me my been hacked


How do you tell if you are being cyber attacked?

From James Williams on February 26, 2019 :: 3:02 pm

A colleague of mine has been making a video documentary based on real and fresh data relating to Government corruption. However, his computer started crashing. He bought another, new computer and after a while that started crashing too. He consulted with tech people who confirmed that neither computers should be behaving like that. How can he find out if he is the target of a government agency/big tech cyber attack?


Most likely, his computer is just crashing

From Josh Kirschner on February 26, 2019 :: 3:13 pm

It’s not that unusual for computers to have issues that cause them to crash. This, alone, is indicative of nothing, and could just be bad luck or related to software that your friend is installing on his or her computers. If you’re in the US, I would say there is zero chance this is related to any type of government retribution.

Now, if your friend is an a country that has a history of repressing government critics - Saudi Arabia, China, Russia, etc. - than maybe there’s a chance that this could be related to government hacking/spyware. But it’s impossible to say more without knowing the details of what is occurring, what anti-malware protection your friend has in place, and what hardware and software they’re using.


How do you tell if you are being cyber attacked?

From James Williams on February 26, 2019 :: 4:41 pm

Thank you for such a rapid response. We are not in the US and my colleague has high profile notoriety that is why I believe that is not unlikely. Government has been shown to spy on its citizens. I cannot disclose any names because of that. But, how can the devices being used be checked for external tampering to prove or otherwise? I am on this site enquiring because things are getting a tad scary and this seems more discreet.


Prevention is more important than detection

From Josh Kirschner on February 26, 2019 :: 6:21 pm

If you’re talking about state actors, there are so many ways a computer could be compromised that you always need to focus on prevention first, not detection (which can be very difficult with that level of surveillance). That means having a computer fully encrypted with a complex password (and, ideally, two-factor authentication for access). Ensuring that online access is only made via a trusted VPN and TOR (, better yet, completely air-gapping the computer and keeping it stored in a secure location.

I’m not an expert in this specific area, however, there are resources out there from investigative journalism organizations such as and

How bad is the spying?

From Unable to Disclose on November 01, 2019 :: 6:41 pm

I have been stalked, hacked and am being put through other things that are inhumane. All of my bank accounts, cell phone accounts and other accounts are continuously being hacked into. I HAVE NO PRIVACY. Is there a list somewhere that i can find out as to why? It started as soon as my divorce was finalized and following a breakup in 2014.

Some one is hacking my phone and signing in and out of my stuff

From Nick Fowler on March 09, 2019 :: 10:22 pm

Please help figure out whats going on. I have a lg charge and someone has been logging into my phone is on an account of 5 other it them or what. Please help me


Can you provide more info?

From Josh Kirschner on March 15, 2019 :: 4:21 pm

Not clear what you are observing that is making you believe other people are logging into your accounts. Can you provide more info on what is going on?


Encrypted but hacked.

From Laurence on March 15, 2019 :: 9:10 am

Hi Josh,
I have strong passwords, encrypted phone and end -to-end encryption chats ie, WhatsApp and signal but my spouse still has my chats and can even access my phones without touching my phone. I haved changed phones but she still has remote access to my phone. How is they possible?

Kindly assist.


More detail?

From Josh Kirschner on March 15, 2019 :: 4:23 pm

What have you seen that makes you think your spouse can access your phone? What kind of phone do you have?


How cracked apps can be installes

From Artorius the Great on March 17, 2019 :: 9:31 am


So you are connected to a network?
You choose update app? Well you might be fucked now!

It could be a cracked app!

How do you know that you are connected to the sever of apple or google?! You don’t.

Update is finished installing? Enjoy your spyware!

How is this possible? You can install custom roms for you’re phone by connecting to a proxy; so in the same way a custom rom could be installed!



From Kyerra snyder on March 19, 2019 :: 10:29 pm




From lucy on March 21, 2019 :: 10:58 am




From Manda on March 21, 2019 :: 1:52 pm

I know my bf put something on my phone to see everything might have cloned it how do I find out


Phone is Cloned

From Phone Cloned on March 27, 2019 :: 11:45 am

My girlfriends ex has her phone cloned.  He has access to her mic, her messages and photos.  He regularly sends me photos shes taken on her phone.  He also has the ability to change her settings, as he regularly turns off her location settings and texts that he is coming to take her (he uses web based texting and the police wont do anything as theres nothing tying it to him)
How do I break a clone like this to an iPhone 8 plus?



From Mia on March 31, 2019 :: 1:45 pm

Can someone please explain why on my account on LINE, some random texted me saying “I’ll flick your ears Mia”


Phone hacked

From Vicki Matthews on March 31, 2019 :: 6:35 pm

My boyfriend hacked my phone and I can’t get him to stop can I please get someone to help me


im being gang stalked and bullied by anieghbor who has access to my phone

From chris on April 06, 2019 :: 5:03 pm

IM being gang stalked and harassed by a number of individuals who liven in a house nearby they got a living situation from a dead relative and are usin git to hack people in my neighbor hood but are targetting me based on the fact that I make financial and life mistakes and am also disabled which is why IM now being harrassed daily for it I dont know what to do As they have hacked my phone and feel as though IM being surveyed constantly by these people please help


Whats up with this

From Stacia Ry on April 24, 2019 :: 3:34 am

So i met a cool woman who is going to be at the same convention I am next year and we excahnged numbers. I saw her call my cell from hers so I would have her number and then she texted me from the same phone so I would have her correct spelling. The txt number was not the same as the number that called in and was logged. I took a print screen of it cuz I thought it was a weird glitch and an hour later the txt matched the number she called in on. So i checked the print screen and sure enough it was different. Do you think it was just a glitch?


Yeah, sounds glitchy

From Josh Kirschner on April 24, 2019 :: 1:58 pm

Not clear why that would happen, whether it has to do with her iMessage set up or something else, but doesn’t sound like anything to worry too much about.


HELP phone hacked

From Linda Nuehring on April 25, 2019 :: 5:04 am

My phones hacked by several people and monitering me 24/ 7. They prevent me from getting phone calls and emails and also prevented me from being able to call to contact my employer.


My phone says it has

From cynthia sandoval on April 26, 2019 :: 10:05 pm

My phone says it has 11 viruses what can I do? Please help


What app is telling you that?

From Josh Kirschner on April 30, 2019 :: 12:20 pm

That sounds highly unlikely. Do you have a security app on your device telling you it found malware? If so, which one. It’s possible (probable) this is some sort of scareware or malicious popup trying to trick you into paying for a useless product you don’t need.


Samsung J7+

From Anonymous on April 28, 2019 :: 9:27 pm

My phone hangs everytime I used it. I’m afraid it was hacked. Its a non-removable battery. Please help me how to fix it.


Snooped on indoors and on

From L on April 29, 2019 :: 5:33 am

Somehow, I have noticed high data usage of apps that I do not open or use very often. ie; Google Drive data is currently at 1.32 GB of usage. I also see an Android app listed as “removed users and apps” That could be a fluke, and I’m just paranoid - but recently I am hearing people talking clearly about my every action in my apartment. I’ll hear laughing, on top of whatever show I’m watching. My ex/roommate thinks I’m crazy. But, I’m not dumb. My landlord, or maybe my ex has installed a camera or two in the apartment which is ILLEGAL. My Android phone is off, but I do need to use it. (Obviously) I don’t know how to find the audio or video camera, and I hope that my phone has hidden spy apps that I cannot view. I’ll have to factory reset it, I know. The camera issue in my apartment is the most concerning.



From Amy on March 14, 2022 :: 4:34 pm

Hi there did you find out what was causing this my partners going though the exact same thing alot of bad things keep happening and he’s seem very out if character and has gone though hell trying to make everyone believe him n even has bee hospitalised and arrested due to this I don’t know if it’s true or not as I haven’t experienced any noises or laughter and my fone I dont know much about phones it has pushed us apart I need to know did you figure the problem out or what’s is causing I know this was 2019 but please let me know would really appreciate it thank u


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