Is SMS Hacking Possible?

Is SMS Hacking Possible?
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How hackers can use message mirroring apps to view all of your SMS messages — and thus circumvent two-factor authentication.

It is now widely accepted that usernames and passwords alone are insufficient to secure online services. According to a recent study, over 80% of all hacking-related breaches occur as a result of compromised or weak credentials, with three billion username/password combinations stolen in 2016.

As a result, two-factor authentication (2FA) has become a requirement. 2FA, in general, is intended to add another layer of security to the relatively vulnerable username/password system.

It also works. According to statistics, users who enabled 2FA successfully blocked approximately 99.9 percent of automated attacks.

However, as is the case with any effective cybersecurity solution, attackers can quickly devise ways to circumvent it. They can circumvent 2FA by using one-time codes sent via SMS to the user's smartphone.

Nonetheless, many critical online services in Australia, including myGov and the Big Four banks ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, NAB, and Westpac, continue to use SMS-based one-time codes.

Thus, what is the issue with SMS?

Microsoft and other large vendors have urged users to abandon two-factor authentication solutions that rely on SMS and voice calls. This is because SMS is infamous for its notoriously lax security, which leaves it vulnerable to a variety of different attacks.

For instance, SIM swapping has been demonstrated as a method of bypassing 2FA. SIM swapping is a technique in which an attacker convinces a victim's mobile service provider that they are the victim and then requests that the victim's phone number be switched to their own device.

SMS-based one-time codes are also demonstrated to be vulnerable to compromise via widely available tools such as Modlishka via a technique known as a reverse proxy. This enables the communication between the victim and the impersonated service.

Thus, in the case of Modlishka, it will intercept communication between a legitimate service and a victim and will monitor and record the victim's interactions with the legitimate service, including any login credentials they may use).

In addition to these previously discovered vulnerabilities, our team discovered additional flaws in SMS-based two-factor authentication. One attack takes advantage of a feature in the Google Play Store that allows you to automatically install apps from the web on your Android device.

Due to syncing services, if a hacker obtains your Google login credentials on their own device, they can then install a message mirroring app directly on your smartphone. Shutterstock

If an attacker obtains your credentials and successfully logs into your Google Play account on a laptop (though you will be prompted), they can then automatically install any app they wish onto your smartphone.

Android is under attack

Our experiments demonstrated that a malicious actor can easily gain remote access to a user's SMS-based two-factor authentication by utilizing a popular app (name and type withheld for security reasons) designed to synchronize user notifications across multiple devices.

Specifically, attackers can use a compromised email/password combination associated with a Google account (such as [email protected]) to maliciously install a widely available message mirroring app via Google Play on a victim's smartphone.

This is a plausible scenario, as it is common for users to share their credentials across multiple services. Utilizing a password manager is an effective way to strengthen the security of your first line of authentication — your username/password login.

After installing the app, the attacker can use simple social engineering techniques to convince the user to grant the necessary permissions for the app to function properly.

For instance, they may impersonate a legitimate service provider in order to convince the user to enable the permissions. They can then remotely intercept all communications sent to the victim's phone, including one-time codes used for two-factor authentication.

Although multiple conditions must be met for the aforementioned attack to succeed, it demonstrates the vulnerability of SMS-based two-factor authentication methods.

Additionally, this attack does not require advanced technical capabilities. It only takes an understanding of how these specialized apps work and how to use them intelligently (in conjunction with social engineering) to target a victim.

When the attacker is a trusted individual (e.g., a family member) with access to the victim's smartphone, the threat becomes even more real.

What does the alternative entail?

To ensure your online safety, you should verify that your initial line of defense is secure. To begin, check to see if your password has been compromised. This is possible with a number of security programs. Additionally, ensure that you're using a strong password.

Additionally, we recommend that you avoid using SMS as a 2FA method whenever possible. Alternatively, you can use app-based one-time codes, such as those provided by Google Authenticator. Instead of being sent to you, the code is generated within the Google Authenticator app on your device.

This approach, however, can be compromised by hackers employing sophisticated malware. A more appropriate alternative would be to use dedicated hardware devices such as the YubiKey.

The YubiKey, introduced in 2008, is an authentication device designed to support one-time password and two-factor authentication protocols without relying on SMS-based two-factor authentication. Shutterstock

These are small USB (or near-field communication-enabled) devices that simplify the process of enabling two-factor authentication across multiple services.

As part of 2FA, such physical devices must be plugged into or brought close to a login device, mitigating the risks associated with visible one-time codes, such as those sent via SMS.

It must be emphasized that any 2FA alternative requires the user to exercise some level of active participation and responsibility.

Simultaneously, service providers, developers, and researchers must continue to work on developing more accessible and secure authentication methods.

Essentially, these methods must progress beyond two-factor authentication and toward a multi-factor authentication environment, in which multiple authentication methods are deployed concurrently and combined as needed.

How Hackers Infiltrate Phones Via SMS Hacking

Hackers' SMS employs a variety of techniques on a daily basis. Certain routes are straightforward, while others are more difficult. However, because many of these methods are unknown to everyone except hackers, they are frequently used. One such technique is to hack into a phone via SMS. Researchers have discovered a critical and previously unknown vulnerability in SIM cards that could allow hackers to gain access to a smartphone simply by sending an SMS.

The vulnerability, dubbed "SIMJacker," is located in a specific area of the software called "[email protected] Browser." This browser comes pre-installed on the majority of SIM cards used by mobile operators in at least 31 countries. Anyone, regardless of the type of phone used by the victim, can hack the smartphone via an SMS.

The acronym [email protected] Browser refers to the SIMalliance Toolbox Browser, which is a pre-installed application on nearly every SM card as part of the SIM Tool Kit. In general, it provides users with basic services, value-added services, and subscriptions. The browser is a collection of instructions that include setup, providing local data, running a command, sending a short message, launching the browser, and sending data. The software can be used to send an SMS message, which can also be used to execute malicious commands on the phone.

According to a recent research report by AdaptiveMobile Security, the vulnerability in the SIM card is exploited using a $10 GSM modem.

"We believe this vulnerability has been exploited for at least the last two years in multiple countries by a highly sophisticated threat actor, primarily for surveillance purposes," AdaptiveMobile Security researchers wrote in a report.

How it works is as follows:

Step 1: Attackers send a malicious SMS to the phone they wish to hack, which contains binary code (spyware-like code).

Step 2: Once the SMS is received, the device is hacked as soon as the recipient clicks on the malicious link contained within.

Step 3: Hackers gain complete control of the phone and have the ability to perform any action via remote access.

Hackers gain access to the monitored phone's location and other basic features such as screen lock, battery, language, and theme.

The target individual whose mobile device has been hacked is unaware that all of their information has been retrieved. SIM Jacker attacks exploited both complex interfaces and obscure technologies to demonstrate the inadequacy of established defenses. It's worth noting that while some commands, such as obtaining a device's location, do not require user interaction and do not leave visible evidence of the attack, others, such as making a call, do.

The hacker could use the vulnerability to:

Retrieve the location and IMEI of a hacked device

Distribute false information by sending phony messages on behalf of the intended recipient.

By dialing premium-rate numbers, perpetrate premium-rate scams.

Surveill the surroundings of victims by instructing the device to call the attacker's phone number.

By compelling the phone's browser to open a malicious web page, you can spread malware.

By disabling the SIM card, you can launch denial of service attacks.

Additional information such as language, radio type, and battery level can be retrieved.

The one bright spot is that the attack does not use standard SMS messages but rather more complex binary code delivered via SMS, which means network operators should be able to configure their equipment to prevent such data from traversing their networks and reaching clients devices.

Receiving a suspicious SMS, on the other hand, can make the target person suspicious of the malware. Therefore, if you wish to hack someone's phone in stealth mode, you will require another method.

Alternatively,

Mobile spy app s have become increasingly popular in recent years. With widespread internet access and advancements in technology, it is now possible to hack someone's phone without ever touching it. Additionally, you are not required to place a spoofed call or send a suspicious SMS to the target device. Mobile monitoring apps operate in the background, undetected by the target individual.

T-Spy is one such mobile hacking app that grants you access to almost everything on the target device. After subscribing, you can remotely install the app on the target device. The app runs in the background and consumes very little battery. The mobile spy app collects data on the monitored person's online and offline activities and uploads it to the user's account. It is compatible with all Android and iOS devices.

Conclusions

With the growth of the internet, hacking tools have improved in sophistication. By sending an SMS or remotely installing a tracking app, you can hack a phone. Whichever method you use, you can gain access to someone's phone without their knowledge.

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Is It Possible for Someone to Hack My Phone and Read My Texts?

Using a weak password or logging into your account via a public network poses a significant risk. In many of these instances, you run the risk of your phone being hacked. Personal data can easily be stolen and misused after a phone is hacked.

Your phone can be hacked in a variety of ways. It is critical to becoming familiar with the various methods that someone can use to breach your phone. This simplifies the process of implementing necessary precautions and preventive measures.

The following are the primary topics we'll cover:

How to determine if your phone has been hacked;

Check to see if your phone can be hacked through texting you;

Numerous ways in which your phone can be hacked;

How to protect your device from being hacked.

How to Determine If Your Phone Has Been Hacked

There are numerous indicators that someone has hacked, trapped, or monitored your phone.

Among the most prevalent are the following:

1 Notable reduction in battery life.

2 Excessive data usage.

3 An unusually high number of ad pop-ups or notifications.

4 Unusual performance slowdowns, crashes, and loading failures.

5 Outgoing calls or texts that you have no recollection of sending, purchases that you did not make.

6 Device overheats or behaves strangely (you can't turn it off, or the screen turns on by itself, etc.)

7 Suspicious applications have been hidden from view in the Application Manager.

8 During calls, strange background noises or interruptions occur.

9 Unidentified photographs or a sudden flashlight activation.

10 Modifications to the settings.

It is critical to avoid identity fraud in these instances, as criminals may open credit accounts in your name using your accounts.

Is it possible for someone to hack my phone by texting me?

Yes, by texting you, someone can hack your phone. These techniques are referred to as smishing or phishing. These attacks enable hackers to gain access to your phone via text messages. Attackers send bait text messages posing as credible sources. The SMS may contain a link inviting you to download an application, enter a competition, or otherwise participate in an online activity. Once a user clicks the link, browser hackers can use the user's mobile connection to gain access to the user's device's data.

Occasionally, the text message will originate from regular contact and will begin with odd numbers, characters, or shapes. By opening the notification, a malicious app will be downloaded to your phone, granting hackers access to your device.

How Can My Phone Be Hacked and My Text Messages Read?

  • Apps for Hacking

Today, the market is flooded with hacking and spying applications. Certain jurisdictions' laws permit parents and supervisors to use them. When a tracking device is installed in a targeted phone, the owner is unaware that he or she is being tracked.

SPY24 is one such application. The individual can gain access to information on your smartphone via hacking apps, including photos, GPS locations, emails, and other related data. They can even tap your microphone to record and listen in on your phone calls.

  • Vulnerability of SS7

Known officially as Signalling System No.7, this wireless hacking network enables a hacker to read your text messages, determine your IP address, and listen in on phone calls.

When you make a phone call or send a text message, certain background processes such as number translation, billing by the network service provider, and SMS message transfer occur. These are the methods hackers use to gain access to personal information. The same technology can be used to remotely hack your bank account, social media platforms, and even your phone's camera.

Vulnerability of SS7


  • Account access to iCloud and Google

Hackers can gain access to your Google or iCloud accounts and view any data stored there. The majority of our mobile devices automatically backup our contacts, bank statements, photos, phone books, location, call logs and screenshots to the cloud. As a result, we are extremely vulnerable to data theft.

Additionally, a hacked Google account grants access to Gmail, which is the primary email service for the majority of people. Gmail text messages contain all of the necessary information about our passwords, social media logins, and even employee data. This enables an attacker to steal your identity more easily.

  • Stations de recharge

USB cables are used to transfer data between devices. When you connect your phone to a malicious port on another computer, the owner can gain access to your phone information.

When you plug in a USB cable without authorization, older Android phones automatically connect to another device, facilitating standard data transfer.

While the chances of a hacker accessing your information, including text messages, are slim for the latest models, with the right hacking spyware, a hacker can access your information, including text messages, without your permission. With this option readily available, a hacker can read and even copy your text messages.

  • Agencies of Law Enforcement

Civilians have been spied on by government agencies such as the CIA, FBI, IRS, DEA, Army, Navy, and National Guard. They conduct cellular surveillance using StingRays (non-existent wireless carrier towers). Initially, StingRay was developed for military and intelligence agencies. When in use, it acts as a cell tower, allowing it to connect to nearby phones and other data devices. Thus, authorities will have access to phone calls, text messages, and dialed numbers, among other things.

StingRay has a 1km radius and is capable of tapping into thousands of phones simultaneously. The owners of the phones will be unaware that their devices are being tapped.

  • Sim Exchange

Hackers can gain access to your phone's information by 'sim swapping'. Someone else can contact your cellular service providers and pose as the account owner who is currently locked out. They can mount your sim on their devices using information stolen from your online accounts, such as social media.

Sim Exchange


All authentication text messages will be routed to them, effectively disconnecting you from your phone.

You, as the user, will be unaware that your sim has been swapped. This grants them access to your contact information, as well as the ability to read all of your text messages and other personal information. Hackers use this technique to send text messages to your friends and relatives, requesting wire transfers.

Is it possible for someone to hack into my phone via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or Airdrop?

Yes. When using an unprotected Wi-Fi network, you put yourself at risk of being hacked. Anyone with malicious intent can obtain login information and passwords from a target device as long as both devices are connected to the same network. A tech expert can easily intercept and analyze internet traffic by utilizing specialized hacking app software.

It is dangerous to open your Bluetooth settings in public, especially for Android users. Without user interaction, anyone within the Bluetooth range of your device can gain access to your phone.

Airdrops enable a nearby attacker to gain access to your phone and even install an application. You do not have to grant hackers access when using this over-the-air file-sharing technology. This means they can also read your iOS mobile device's text messages.

How to Defend Your Phone Against Hackers

  • Maintain Consistent Phone Updates

In comparison to previous versions, updated OS and iOS versions include new and improved security software.

  • Create Robust Passwords

Avoid using obvious numbers as your PIN, such as birthdays. The majority of these details are available through your social media platforms. Utilize multi-factor authentication and strong PINs on all of your devices, including your lock screen, to prevent your phone from being hijacked.

Make your security password questions as obscure as possible. You may lie if necessary, as factual information is widely known, particularly among family and friends. Additionally, create a lengthy and complicated password.

  • Never Share Your Personally Identifiable Information

Avoid sharing personal information with others, such as phone passwords or online accounts. Additionally, do not give your phone number to strangers.

  • Give Your Device No Physical Access

Give your phone to no one you have reservations about. Additionally, ensure that you log out of your iCloud or Google account when using a device that is not your own.

  • Activate Login Notifications

Enable login notifications when a new device is added. This way, the security of your data will be enhanced.

  • Activate Two-Factor Authentication

Utilize authenticator applications to increase the security of your device. Without authorization from your phone, no one will be able to access your account.

  • Utilize End-to-End Secure Messaging Services

Send texts via encrypted service networks. Encrypt your emails end-to-end. When you find yourself in a situation that may attract the attention of the government, such as a protest, use encrypted messaging services. This prevents your communication from being intercepted.

  • When Connected to a Public Network, Avoid Using Password Credentials

Make no attempt to connect to any open networks. If necessary, ensure that your phone data is adequately encrypted.

  • While Not Using Wi-Fi, LTE, Personal Hotspot, AirDrop, or Bluetooth, turn them off.

Disable the 'automatic connection' option on your phone. You do not have to be in a public place to be hacked; you can do this in the privacy of your own home. Always choose the second option when using Bluetooth-enabled headphones that support wired connections.

  • Avoid rooting your Android device or jailbreaking your iPhone.

When a phone is rooted or jailbroken, it becomes vulnerable to malicious attacks. All apps will be visible if your phone has not been jailbroken or rooted. As a result, users can detect malicious and unknown applications.

  • Utilization of a virtual private network ( VPN ), antivirus, or anti-malware software

VPN, antivirus, and anti-malware programs all assist in detecting and eliminating malicious activity on your phone. Additionally, make a concerted effort to download security applications. Ascertain that the security apps you're using are compatible with the device you're using.

  • Avoid Unauthorized Sources

Avoid clicking on unfamiliar links or opening strange messages, even if they appear to be from friends. Avoid downloading unofficial applications. If you happen to download something that exceeds Android's warnings, delete it immediately.

  • Avoid Using Unknown Charging Stations for Your Phone

When connecting your phone to a computer for charging, always select the "Charge only" option. Carry a wall charger with you at all times. It is a more secure option.

  • Conclusion

We have a right to privacy. There are reserved rights that expressly define breach of confidentiality as a crime. There are numerous methods for someone to gain access to your phone.

All of these options are open to anyone who chooses to hack your device and read your text messages via surveillance applications. Although all spy apps operate in stealth mode and tracking should be undetectable, you may occasionally notice odd behavior on your device.

If you notice something is incorrect, the likelihood is that you have been hacked. If you suspect your phone is being used maliciously, take it to a service center for a diagnostic test.

Is it possible for someone to hack my phone by texting me?

Everybody has the same question: "Can someone hack my phone by texting me?"

Everybody's life has become inextricably linked to their smartphone. It contains almost all of your vital information, including your bank account information, social media accounts, personal data such as photos or videos, contact information, and search history. As a result, it's clear that losing such critical data to hacking can be disastrous.

The question remains: can attackers hack into your phone simply by sending a text message? Technically, text messages are one of the most common ways for cybercriminals to gain access to a victim's system. However, this requires the victim's cooperation as well.

Let us delve deeper into the question of whether it is possible to hack a mobile phone simply by sending a text. Additionally, we will discuss the most common methods attackers use to compromise a system.

Is it possible for someone to hack my phone by texting me?

Assume you received a few text messages containing links from an unknown sender. Now, whether or not your device is hacked or infected with malware is entirely dependent on your subsequent actions.

While simply opening the message is harmless, clicking on the suspicious links may direct you to some untrustworthy web pages or websites. Additionally, some text messages may contain links that can initiate the download of an unwanted application. This is done solely to boost downloads and other promotional gains.

Certain messages are intended to trick users into clicking on malicious links, such as those on the Nbryb web page, in order to take control of the system. By clicking on such a link, a malicious spying app is downloaded in the background, and users are unaware that their device is being spied on.

Cybercriminals also use text messages to send offers that are too good to be true. Such offers are entirely fictitious and are sent solely for the purpose of initiating malicious tasks.

Overall, despite rapid advancements in technology, hacking a phone simply by sending a text message remains a pipe dream until the receiver is also compromised.

Is it possible for someone to hack my phone simply by calling me?

Another concern that people have is "Can someone hack my phone simply by calling?"

Again, no such technology exists that can automatically introduce hacking codes or apps in response to a hacker's call. Consider the havoc that such technology would have wreaked up to this point if it existed.

Similar to text messages, scammers use social engineering techniques to trick users into providing confidential information such as banking credentials during phone calls. Scammers expertly instill a sense of urgency or fear in their victims in order to earn their trust and sensitive information.

Clearly, hacking through a call is impossible without the victim's involvement.

What are the most frequently used hacking techniques?

Apart from text messages and phone calls, hackers commonly employ the following methods.

  • Phishing

Phishing is the most frequently used method of hacking by cybercriminals. Attackers use social engineering techniques to instill fear or urgency in their victims, depriving them of time to consider the situation. For instance, an attacker could pose as a bank executive and request users' credentials in order to prevent their account from being blocked. Users would quickly provide the details out of a sense of urgency to protect their bank account.

  • Public Transportation Networks

Public networks, such as those provided by restaurants and shopping malls, are extremely unencrypted. Cybercriminals exploit this vulnerability to gain access to the devices connected to that network. Because private networks are more secure than public networks, it is never advisable to connect to a public network without using a VPN.

  • Keylogging devices

Keylogger is a malicious application that records all of your device's keystrokes. This way, it would collect all sensitive data, such as credit card numbers, banking information, and login credentials.

  • Adware and spyware

Spyware is a type of software that is specifically designed to monitor the activities of the person who is using the device. Additionally, hackers can use spyware to activate the device's front camera and microphone. Spyware can store and share your personal information and data with the hackers who created it.

  • Armed Forces

Brute Force is the method infiltrators use to gain access to any account. In this case, the attacker attempts to gain access using a variety of different username and password combinations. There is a variety of dedicated software available for conducting brute attacks. It's as if an army is attempting to breach the fort's entrance.

  • Finally

In the current scenario, both the attacker and the victim must take action in order to gain access to someone's device or account. Yes, a text or phone call can hack your phone, but only if you allow it. The best course of action is to avoid installing apps from unknown or unverified sources and to avoid falling for "Too Good to be True" offers.

Can SMS messages be hacked?

One way hackers gain access to your phone is by convincing you to click on infected links contained in text messages and emails. That is not always necessary, however. The most sophisticated hackers can employ zero-click attacks, which require no action on your part to initiate the attack.

Is it possible to hack an OTP?

Hackers can easily redirect all messages, OTPs, and SMS to their smartphones via SMS redirect. Additionally, hackers can easily obtain access to all of your banking information. They're all doing it for as little as $16 (approximately Rs 1,200) via an SMS redirect service.

Is it possible for someone to read my SMS?

Yes, it is possible for someone to spy on your text messages, and it is something you should be aware of – this is a potential way for a hacker to obtain a wealth of personal information about you, including PIN codes sent by websites used to verify your identity (such as online banking).

How did I determine if my phone had been hacked?

Inadequate performance: If your phone exhibits sluggish performance, such as app crashes, screen freezing, and unexpected restarts, this is a sign of a hacked device. No telephone calls or messages: If you are unable to receive calls or messages, the hacker must have obtained a clone of your SIM card from the service provider.

Is it possible to clone someone's text messages?

One technique, called phone cloning, enables you to intercept incoming messages and send them as if your phone were the original. You can also listen in on calls if both phones are close to the same broadcast tower. To clone a phone, you must create a duplicate of its SIM card, which contains the phone's unique identifiers.

Can mobile applications be hacked?

The malware then targets one of the popular apps that contain the vulnerability, piggybacking on the permissions granted to that legitimate app to access data on your phone.