How do hackers attack phones and how can I avoid it?

The threat of hackers taking control of our phones has become a well-founded and shared fear. The harsh reality is that now any phone can be attacked. Whenever new insights allow us to develop mobile technologies, hackers manage to take advantage of them, no matter how sophisticated. But how?

Software created by hackers

Did you know that there is software for Android and other mobile devices developed by hackers? And did you know that there are tons of free sites on the Internet where you can come across this software? Hackers design this type of software to get hold of mobile phone data. Professional hackers can easily get hold of spy applications that just install on the mobile they want to attack. Only in some cases do hackers need to physically access the device to install these apps.

Keylogging is a method that requires downloading spyware to steal data from your phone before it is encrypted. This type of software can be used by accessing the phone physically.

Trojans are a type of malware that can disguise itself on your phone to extract important data, such as credit card or other personal information. To install Trojans, hackers use techniques such as "phishing" in order to lure you into a trap.


Phishing is a method that allows hackers to impersonate trusted companies or individuals to obtain sensitive data. In these cases, they often send emails and text messages with official-looking codes, images, and text. When the user clicks on such malicious content, the URL can infiltrate the phone via a link infected with viruses or software that can steal their personal information.

Attacks using phone numbers

To understand how this type of attack works, you need to know and understand the technicalities of phone hacking. The SS7 protocol is the system used to connect mobile phone networks to each other, but to use this system to infiltrate mobile phones, you must have access to it. If hackers access the SS7 protocol, they are able to record and forward calls, read messages, and find locations of a particular device. However, due to the level of difficulty of said protocol, it is unlikely that a normal person could break into a phone with this method.

SIM card attacks

In August 2019, the CEO of Twitter had his SIM card stolen while trying to change his identity. This strategy begins when the hacker contacts the victim's phone provider, pretends to be the victim, and asks for a spare SIM card. Once the provider sends the new SIM card to the hacker, the old SIM card is deactivated and the hacker gets hold of the victim's phone number. In this way, you can access call logs, messages, etc. This method is relatively easy if the hacker can convince the provider that the requester of the change is the victim. Keeping personal data safe is essential to ensure that hackers cannot impersonate you.

AdaptiveMobile Security discovered a new method of infiltration in mobile phones using the SIM card: the so-called simjacker. This method is more complex than phishing, since it attacks SIM cards by sending a signal to the victim's device. If she opens the message and clicks on it, hackers are able to spy on her device and even determine her location.

Bluetooth attacks

Professional hackers can use special programs to search for vulnerable mobile devices with a working Bluetooth connection. These types of attacks occur when hackers are close to the victim's phone, usually in a highly populated area. When hackers connect to your Bluetooth, they have access to all available information and your Internet connection, but the data must be downloaded while the mobile phone is nearby.

Don't become a victim of your mobile

As you can see, hackers have many ways to infiltrate your phone and steal your personal information. Here are some tips so you don't end up being one of their victims:

1. Don't walk away from your mobile

The easiest way for a hacker to steal the information on your phone is to physically gain access to it, so it's important to have it close at all times. If you've walked away from your phone in a group of strangers and you're worried it's been tampered with, check your settings and look for unknown apps.

2.Encrypt your device

Encrypting your mobile can prevent attacks and protect your calls, your messages and your most sensitive data. To check if a device is encrypted: iPhone users can go to “Touch ID & Passcode”, scroll to the bottom and turn on data protection. Android users have automatic encryption depending on the type of phone.

3. Lock your SIM card

Adding a passcode to your SIM card can protect it from attacks. On an iPhone, this code can be set in Settings > Cellular > SIM PIN. Enter your existing PIN to enable the lock. Android users can go to Settings > Lock screen & security > Other security settings > Set up SIM card lock. Here you can enable the option to lock the SIM card.

4. Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections

It is very easy for hackers to connect to your mobile via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, so it is advisable to disable these connections when you do not need them because no hacker warns you before attacking. If you fear attacks in public spaces, unplugging your phone is a good way to keep hackers out.

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