How to Hack Someone’s Cell Phone With Just Their Number
Mobile hacking isn’t new and quite a number of software have been developed for this very purpose. Commercially available spy software is being used to keep track of kids, employees, spouses, and partners. Whether the ethics of mobile spying leaves much to debate on, digital tracking is now the new surveillance and stalking mode of choice.
It is no wonder that many people have grown paranoid about hacked accounts and devices. As technological convenience has made many hacking jobs a walk in the park, a paranoid person may rightly ask: “Can my phone be hacked by just its cellphone number?”
The answer is a double-sided Yes and No.
The Good News
A normal, not-so-genius-level “hacker” (like a suspicious spouse, for instance) cannot commandeer your phone if armed only with a cellphone number. If this were true, every Tom, Dick, and Harry on your contacts can have access to your email, call logs, text messages, photos, and app activities. This works vice-versa, of course, with you having access to everyone’s digital life as well.
So No, with simply a number and no software installation, a target gadget, or other technology, it’s not possible — yet. One shouldn’t be complacent on the matter, in case this improbability somehow becomes a reality in the near future.
The Bad News
Don’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet. The answer can readily veer to a disturbing Yes, however, if the hacker is privileged with any of the following:
Physical possession of the target phone
In order to have access to your personal data, the hacker may need to install monitoring software directly on your phone. Sometimes the installation may require your phone number.
Some phone locating services or apps do not need software installation but just a phone number. Permission to accept a locating request from the phone’s owner may still need to be done before one can track the person’s whereabouts using a location finder app. So unless you absentmindedly grant permission for the software to track your phone, the hacker can’t have access to your phone’s location services and know where you are.
Knowledge of hacking into SS7
Signaling System No. 7, or SS7, is a communications protocol that handles mobile phone networks on a global scale. All text messages, calls, and other data from devices around the world pass through its system. An advanced hacker with knowledge of its vulnerabilities can definitely tap into your phone and everything in it with just your phone number and nothing else. But then, you’ve got to be a very special target to warrant such high level of criminal surveillance. This entails hacking into the SS7 system and your phone’s network or service provider, not an easy do for just run-of-the-mill hackers.
Phishing success through SMS
Text messages purporting to be from your bank, email address host (ex. Gmail, Yahoo!), social network host (ex. Facebook, Twitter), or real-live friend that ask for a reply on verification codes or clicks on a specific link are usually fraudulent strategies to get your cell phone number. If your cellphone number is linked to your email accounts, online bank identities, or any social media account, the hacker can get control of these accounts and rape them of information, photos, or money. The hacker can simply reset your passwords and therefore hijack your accounts.
Has “social engineering” down to an art form
Hackers nowadays may not really need software to get into your accounts. Persuasive acting abilities and possession of your basic personal details can actually help them charm information out of an unwary telco customer service representative. Knowledge of your birthday, mother’s maiden name, or even last four digits of your SSS number combined with a believable story could convince the other person on the line that the hacker is you in an I-forgot-my-password crisis.
The unsuspecting customer rep lets the hacker into your account where he ports your phone number over to his own device. When he logs in to your Yahoo account, for instance, he immediately opts to reset your password. The verification code is sent to your number which unfortunately shows up on his device, not yours. He changes the password and effectively locks you out of your own account. A “no sweat” commandeer.
It is scary to think someone can upend your life, starting with your cellphone number. But, cell phone numbers are just the tip of the iceberg. Free full-bar Wi-Fis on open networks hosting fake login pages, weak passwords, and even compromised charging stations are just few of the many ways your personal and financial data can be exploited.
Perhaps, a little paranoia over safeguarding your data may be a good thing. The best strategy to safeguard your accounts and finances is to be well informed on how to defend yourself against malicious activities. A little effort on your part may go a long way in saving you potentially significant losses and inconveniences.