This is some follow up on a previous post about using Smartphones to track people’s activity and movements. While it did not take us very long to know the phone had been hacked, it did take longer to get more adequate proof to demonstrate the details for people who were not living with the whole stalking experience directly.
To be clear here are some definitions from the Internet.
Hacked Phone or Phone Hacking: the action or practice of gaining unauthorized access to data stored in another person’s phone, especially in order to access their voicemail.
Cloned Phone: phone cloning, lets you intercept incoming messages and send outgoing ones as if your phone were the original. If both phones are near the same broadcast tower, you can also listen in on calls. To clone a phone, you have to make a copy of its SIM card, which stores the phone’s identifying information.
The Difference Between a Hacked and Cloned Phone
Hacking a phone can be done with an app. there are hundreds of softwares out there. Once one of these apps are activated on your phone they can track just about all your activity. These applications can even remove the necessity to clone a phone.
A cloned phone requires copying the SIM card and the IMEI number to do so. Phone cloning is harder to do due to advances in technology but it can still happen.
Symptoms of a Hacked or Cloned Phone and What to Do About It
Back to what the symptoms of a hacked and tracked phone can be. For anyone looking around on the Internet of Things just search for ‘symptoms of a hacked phone’ or ‘track my girlfriend’ to see ways to hack and track. Also, ask Google, Cortana or Siri ‘How do I know if my phone has been hacked?’
There are a jillion articles out there and at least a few of them give similar symptoms but these are based on a great deal of first hand experience. And yes, we knew this for sure when the device was replaced… they went away.
- Poor call signal, no matter where you are. Imagine that, when someone is listening to your calls it takes up more signal juice.
- For people who receive your texts; they may get two of the same. This is a sign of the lesser tracking softwares that share messages with a stalker. It creates double for the person who receives.
- Your Contacts disappear or change. Enough said. Any back up will show the time stamped difference.
- You hear breathing over a call. I actually had this happen. Now my Geek card only goes so high but certain cell signals are more ‘hackable’ than others. Go forth and research for more details.
- Your ringtone changes. This is just some douche canoe screwing with your device.
- Your friends, colleagues and other people in your contact list may get weird texts at all hours that you may not see at all on your phone. Document this with screen shots from the contact who received these device. Your contacts may be more understanding than you think. This is due to the remote design of some tracking software which gives the stalker remote control of activity on your phone. Turning your device off and/or removing the SIM card will also break the tracking connection until you can get a more permanent solution.
- More than one blue dot or your phone is showing your blue dot in a different location from where you are at the time of noticing this.
- Calls made by your number originate from other locations. Basically if you are in one place and your phone number is making calls somewhere else… You have an issue. You may even hear from your carrier on this one. Keep an eye on your phone bill and stay in touch with your carrier if you experience this.
If any others that I had to deal with come up I will update the article for sure. Those are the main issues that were easily recognizable as symptoms of a hacked or cloned phone.
Check out the companion article about Google Tools to monitor account access and verify if you have unauthorized access to your Google account.
Here are a few common sense things you can do to protect yourself.
- Secure your phone with a PIN code or biometric passcode.
- Stay off public networks and hotspots.
- Turn off Bluetooth and wifi if you are not using them.
- Use a Smartphone security app.
- Clear your activity history as often as possible.
- Be careful not to use any scammy or fringe 3rd party apps.
- Watch app permissions on your device for the apps you do use.
- Enable 2 way authentication for email and high traffic apps you do use.
- If you have had issues watch your bill for weird call and text activity. Some tracking and spy apps may not show activity on your bill.
*This article has been updated in November 2018 to reflect the latest information on technology advances and changes in tools available to address this issue.*