Our smartphones have become quite the 21st-century version of swiss army knives; they allow us to make phone calls, video calls, order food, hire a cab, shop online, make doctor appointments and even pay bills. While the convenience brought by smartphones is one of a kind, the perils of fulfilling all your daily tasks on one single device must not be underestimated.
Just think about the amount of information a hacker can obtain only by hacking your phone; a vast amount of data, including your most private ones. To prevent such a scenario, it is vital to have sufficient knowledge about hackers’ methods for getting their hands on your phone, how you will tell if someone has access to your phone and how to remove the third party from your phone.
Different ways to hack Android
- The culprit SMS
One of the many methods employed by hackers to get through your phone is sending an SMS containing a culprit link. When doing so, they benefit from a bug in SIM cards that has long remained unnoticed. The vulnerability dubbed as SIMJacker comes from a software called S@T Browser utilized by most mobile operators in more than 31 countries worldwide. As the problem lies within the SIMcard, changing your phone will be of no help, and nothing can be done to prevent this from happening.
How does the process work? Take a look below:
- The first step: the bad guys send you an SMS consisting of a culprit link.
- The second step: once the receiver clicks on the link provided in the message, their phone will be hacked.
- Third step: hackers now have complete control over the phone and can get whatever they wish done without having physical access to the phone.
- Fourth step: your phone’s location, screen lock, battery usage, language, theme, clock, and other basic settings will no longer be your property.
What could they make your phone do?
- Hackers often show interest in the hacked device’s location and IMEI information and tend to claim that information for themselves.
- You have probably noticed what happens when a celebrity’s Instagram account gets hacked; they begin sending false information and messages on behalf of the device’s owner.
- They might listen to your conversations to spy on you. How do they do this? Well, it’s easy, as they have complete control over your phone, they can prompt your phone into calling their number.
- They could instruct your phone’s browser to open malicious links and further attack your phone.
- Mobile operators usually stop these kinds of attacks by employing denial of service attacks, but if the malware is further spread on your device, Attackers could block those measures.
The hacking software
You will not believe it, but there is software designed for and hacking Android phones. And if that is not enough, this software is usually free, so anybody with access to the internet can download them and attempt to hack smartphones. While some software requires a direct installation on the target phones, others function perfectly without direct access to the target device.
Keylogging vs. Trojan
Keylogging is a hacking approach entailing the downloading and installation of the culprit app. In such an approach, the installation occurs before the encryption starts and is bound to physical access to the phone.
Contrary to keylogging, Trojans do not rely on physical access to the target device and are disguised into devices through phishing or false links. Hackers use Trojans to extract information such as Credit Card data from your phone.
In phishing, hackers turn up as reliable companies or organizations in an attempt to persuade you to provide them with confidential information. Utilizing a vast range of media, including messages, images, and codes attached to emails or messages, hackers gain access to your Android phone as soon as you click on them.
The phone number method
Ever thought your phone number could be vulnerable to hacking? Then you must, if you have not already, because hackers utilize this method to gain information from your phone. As with keylogging, where the bad guys require access to the phone, this method relies on access to a system called SS7. SS7 facilitates the connection of various cell phone networks to each other and, as it seems, to specific hackers on some rare occasions.
Once access to SS7 is provided, hackers can instruct target phones into recording and forwarding calls, reading messages, and locating devices. This particular approach is not commonly used as its reliability on access to SS7 makes it a rather tricky method.
How to prevent hacking: 4 golden rules
- Do not put your phone at someone else’s disposal
Gaining access to your phone is one of the first steps into the hacking process, so your leaving into strangers’ hands can facilitate the whole process. It is best to check if there are any new apps on your phone once you have left it somewhere public.
- Lock your phone
Locking your phone will protect it from malicious software and stranger access. Always define a password, PIN, or pattern to prevent unusual activity on your phone.
- Lock your SIM card
To protect your SIM card from hacking, it is best to set a password on it. Go to the Settings app, scroll down to find Lock Screen and Security. Tap on Other security settings and choose to set up a SIM card lock on the new screen.
4. Turn Wi-Fi and Bluetooth off in public spaces
Hacking a phone through a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection can be relatively easy, mostly coming with no warning signs. Turning off your Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection can be an effective measure in the fight against these bad actors, especially in public spaces.