Smartphone devices are a technical marvel. They help us make phone calls, take pictures, send messages, shop, browse the Internet, and much more. So, it’s no wonder that hackers are constantly looking for ways to breach our device security. After a successful phone hack, threat actors can steal our intellectual property, impersonate us, commit financial crimes, or blackmail us. But what attack vectors do hackers employ to hack our phones?

Phone Hacker

SIM Card Swapping

Sim card swapping is a hacking technique where a hacker calls a target’s phone service provider, pretending to be them. They’ll ask for a new SIM for a new mobile device, deactivate the old one, and commit identity theft. The most infamous case of SIM card swapping was when hackers hijacked Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s account.

Hacking Software

Hackers can use an array of hacking tools to breach a mobile’s security. Some hacking tools must be physically installed while others can be deployed remotely. Here is a shortlist of the types of mobile hacking software:

  • Brute Force Kit: A hacker can crack the PIN on a mobile phone in seconds with a brute force tool.  
  • SIM Cloning: Hackers can use SIM Cloning software to make a physical copy of the original and use that to break into a target’s accounts.
  • Simjackers: A simjacker sends a message to a target’s phone that attacks their SIM card.
  • Rootkit: A rootkit sneakily modifies a mobile phone’s code to give a hacker deep access to its operating system.
  • Spyware: Mobile phone spyware allows hackers to snoop on targets.
  • Stalkerware: Typically marketed as security software, stalkerware must usually be installed in person. It allows hackers to spy on victims and even track their movements.
  • Keyloggers: Keyloggers help hackers remotely log keys from a victim’s phone.

Phishing

When it comes to phone hacking, phishing is a typical attack vector. Here, a hacker may send their target an authentic-looking email from an organisation like a mobile service company that either carries some of the malware listed above or links to a malicious website. The website may use the drive-by-download or malvertising technique to drop malware on the visitor’s device.

Smishing

Smishing is like phishing, but the attacker uses text messages instead of emails. Usually, it’s a fraudulent text message that appears to be from an authority with a link to a dangerous URL.

Bluetooth Attacks

Many people leave their Bluetooth connection on in their mobile devices to conveniently connect to their cars, hands-free earphones, or devices at home. Unfortunately, Bluetooth connections are susceptible to various attacks. Hackers close to a mobile phone with an unregulated Bluetooth connection can break into it easily.

WiFi Spoofing

Some cybercriminals create malicious WiFi networks that look authentic in public spaces to trap unsuspecting mobile phone devices. Once a mobile phone device connects to a malicious network, a hacker can break into their device and steal their sensitive data. Hackers can also employ man-in-the-middle attacks on unsecured WiFi networks, intercepting and manipulating communications to their advantage.

A hacker can do significant damage by breaking into your mobile device. Take the necessary precautions to secure your phone and avoid opening text messages, emails, and links that appear untrustworthy.