How Do Hackers Hack Phones and How Can I Prevent It?

By on Apr 01, 2020

The threat of having your phone hacked has become a common and rational fear. The cold hard truth is that it is now possible to hack any phone. With the advancement of technology, where discovery of knowledge and information advances the understanding of technology, hackers are able to hack even some of the most sophisticated phone software. But how?

Hacking Software

Did you know that hacking software for Android and other mobile devices exists? And did you know there are countless hacking software options online for free? Hacking software is a method used by hackers to get information from a phone. Check out our 2020 Mobile Threat Report to dig deeper.

The serious hackers can buy hacking software anywhere, such as a phone Spy App, which must be installed on the target phone. Not all hackers need to handle a phone physically in order to install hacking software, but in some cases they must.

Keylogging is an approach that involves downloading a spyware app to target the phone and take the phone’s data before encryption. This type of software can be utilized by accessing the phone physically.

Trojan is a type of malware that can be disguised in your phone to extract important data, such as credit card account details or personal information. To install Trojan Malware, hackers use techniques like phishing to influence you into the trap.

Phishing

Phishing is a method used by hackers where they impersonate a company or trusted individual in order to gain confidential data. Hackers use this method by sending official-looking codes, images, and messages, most commonly found in email and text messages. When this malicious content is clicked on, the URLs can hack your phone because the link has been infected with a hacking virus or software that can take your personal information.

Hacking Using a Phone Number

In order to be able to hack using only a phone number, you must know and understand the technicalities of phone hacking. SS7 signaling is the system used to connect cell phone networks to one another, but in order to use this system as a method of hacking phones, one must have access to it. Recording calls, forwarding calls, reading messages, and finding locations of a particular device can be done with access to the SS7 system. Although, due to the level of difficulty, it is unlikely that the average person would be able to hack a phone in this manner.

SIM Card Hacking

In August of 2019, the CEO of Twitter had his SIM card hacked by SIM card swapping using the phishing method. SIM card swapping is performed when the hacker contacts your phone provider, pretends to be you, and then asks for a replacement SIM card. Once the provider sends the new SIM to the hacker, the old SIM card will be deactivated, and your phone number will be stolen. This means the hacker has taken over your phone calls, messages, etc. This method of hacking is relatively easy if the hacker can convince the provider that they are you. Keeping personal details to yourself is an important part of ensuring that hackers cannot pretend to be you.

AdaptiveMobile Security discovered a new way hackers were getting into phones using the SIM card—a method they call Simjacker. This way of hacking is more complex than phishing as it targets a SIM card by sending a signal to the target device. If the message is opened and clicked on, hackers are able to spy on the hacked device and even find out the location of the device.

Bluetooth Hacking

Professional hackers can use special software products to search for vulnerable mobile devices with an operating Bluetooth connection. These types of hacks are done when a hacker is in range of your phone, usually in a populated area. When hackers are connected to your Bluetooth, they have access to all of the information available and the internet connection to access the web, but the data must be downloaded while the phone is within range.

Prevent you become a victim of phone hacking

There are many different ways a hacker can get into your phone and steal personal and critical information. Here are a few tips to ensure that you are not a victim of phone hacking:

1. Keep Your Phone in Your Possession

The easiest way for a hacker to steal your phone’s information is to gain access to it — therefore, it is always important to keep your phone in your possession. If you have been away from your phone around a group of strangers and are concerned about possible hacking, check your settings and look for strange apps.

2. Encrypt Your Device

Encrypting your cell phone can save you from being hacked and can protect your calls, messages, and critical information. To check if a device is encrypted: iPhone users can go into Touch ID & Passcode, scroll to the bottom, and enable Data protection. Android users have automatic encryption depending on the type of phone.

3. SIM Card Locking

Putting a passcode on your SIM card can protect it from being hacked. Setting this code can be done on an iPhone by going to Settings > Cellular > SIM PIN. Enter your existing PIN to enable the lock. Android users can go to Settings > Lock screen and Security > Other security settings > Set up SIM card lock. Here you can enable the option to lock your SIM card.

4. Turn Off WIFI and Bluetooth

It is fairly easy for hackers to connect to your phone using WIFI or Bluetooth, so turn them off when not needed because there is no warning when a hacker attacks you. If you fear being hacked in a public space, turning off your phone can block a hacker’s ability to hack you — this is an effective preventative method.

5. Use Security Protection

Protecting your device from spyware can be done for free and simply through A Mobile Security app on an iPhone and Android can help protect cell phones from hackers. McAfee Total Protection—helps protect against cyber threats and includes McAfee WebAdvisor — to help identify malicious websites you should watch out for.

Stay protected

Making a point to understand how hacking works can help you practice security in your every day life. Know how to be prepared for being hacked, so that when it happens you can be on top of how to handle it.

 

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McAfee

McAfee is the device-to-cloud cybersecurity company. Inspired by the power of working together, McAfee creates business and consumer solutions that make our world a safer place. Take a look at our latest blogs.

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