How Your Phone Gets Hacked Remotely

Our phones know all our secrets. They have become such a fundamental part of our lives that we feel vulnerable if we walk out the door without them. Family and friends are a text message or video chat away. We shoot off an email to our colleagues and conduct virtual meetings on our screens. We argue with strangers on Twitter, smile at cats on Facebook, and ask Siri to tally the bill. From paying for groceries to snapping a photo to answering any question with a quick Google search, our phones have streamlined our lives. But what if this friendly device that we depend on to such an extent is secretly stealing our data?

How Easy is it to Hack a Phone?

Even jealous spouses or concerned parents who aren’t tech-savvy can easily access another person’s device after installing one of the many spy apps widely available onto their target’s phone. If someone wants to monitor your activities, it’s surprisingly simple for them to load a cell phone tracker onto your device. There are also apps that can access a smartphone remotely with just a phone number. Once connected, snoopers have access to the following infomration:

  • Real-time GPS location, allowing Google Maps to obtain accurate details about the address
  • Text messages, including all the messages you sent and the ones you received
  • Call logs, complete with details about incoming and outgoing calls, as well as missed calls, call duration, time, and contact information
  • WhatsApp activity
  • Browsing history and internet usage
  • Photos, screenshots, videos, and social media activity, including private messages

Some spy apps also give the ability to:

  • Record both sides of a phone conversation
  • Switch on the microphone at specific times
  • Block specific apps
  • Record all keystrokes

How do I know if someone has remote access to my phone?

Similar to how we took precautions during the pandemic to reduce our chances of infection, there are ways to reduce the risk that our smartphones will be hacked. Here are some steps to take:

  • Keep you device in an OffGrid Faraday Bag when not using your mobile devices
  • Open your Google account and check the devices in Security that Google has permission to access. If you discover a device you do not recognize, sign it out.
  • Patch your software.
  • Change your passwords.
  • Delete suspicious apps.
  • Invest in a reliable antivirus.
  • Turn on two-factor authentication.
  • Do not click on suspicious links, no matter how tempting the offer, even if it appears to come from a familiar company.
  • Avoid unsecured public WiFi.
  • Keep your phone in a case. For Samsung, we recommend choosing Galaxy S24 protective case.

Can my phone be hacked while it’s turned off?

There are two ways to guarantee your phone is not being accessed remotely:

  1. It is inside a Faraday bag, which isolates your smartphone from all outside signals. By getting into the everyday habit of slipping your smartphone into an OffGrid Faraday bag, no one will be able to contact your device remotely. Whenever it is sealed inside the bag, military-strength shielding blocks all GPS, cell signals, satellite, WiFi, 5G, and Bluetooth frequencies from accessing your phone. That means no one can use even the most sophisticated ODF tactics to hack into your system.
  2. It is actually turned off, and not faking a black screen after infection by Octo or similar malware. When you are vigilant about keeping your software updated and secure, combined with the regular use of a Faraday bag, the chances of a fraudster hacking your smartphone remotely are greatly reduced.