Mobile Device Hacks due to covid-19

Mobile device hacking is becoming more increasingly common. Should you be worried? And how do you know if your mobile device or phone has been hacked or bugged? 
In this article will take a closer look at:
1) Who is at risk of being hacked?
2) How do hackers get access to your mobile phone
3) How to tell if your mobile device has been hacked or bugged
4) What is mobile device forensics?

Who is at risk of getting their mobile device hacked?
In October last year, the former Duke of Sussex who now prefers to be known just as Harry, took legal action against the Sun, News of the World, and the Daily Mirror, in relation to alleged phone-hacking. According to the BBC.comdocuments were filed on behalf of Harry and Meghan alleging interception of voicemail messages and publishing a private letter from Meghan’s father. Many celebrities including Jessica Alba, Demi Lovato,  Miley Cyrus have also  been the victims of mobile device hacking from having personal information stolen to nude photos leaked to the press.

But they’re famous?
No one would be interested in hacking my phone. WRONG! 

By the middle of December 2019, hackers accessed records belonging to more than 7.9 million people. Globally renowned companies such as 7-Eleven, WhatsApp and Fortnite admitted to security flaws which may have put the data of millions of people into the wrong hands, but according to the Identity Theft Resource Center, the extent of the data breach was not reported. (source)

Never assume no one would be interested in what’s on your mobile phone or iPad. In Australia so far there has been a myriad of data breaches. Only earlier this month, 500,000 Zoom accounts were compromised and sold on the dark web and that’s only scratching the surface. (Source)

Most mobile phones are capable of more information about us than ever before from Google tracking your location to Whatsapp chats with your friends divulging the most personal details or intellectual property shared with business partners. Mobile devices can easily be used as surveillance devices to monitor your every move, transmitting audio files, monitoring emails, even chat sessions.

The coronavirus crisis has also left mobile device users vulnerable to cyber-criminals. ABC News reported that within hours of the Federal Government making announcements about COVID-19, hackers were replicating text messages with fake links in an attempt to steal data from unsuspecting Australians. (Source)

How do hackers get access to your mobile phone?
Hackers are clever! There are several ways they can get access to your mobile device:

SMShing
Have you ever received a SMS message that looks like it’s  from your bank saying that a credit card payment you don’t remember had insufficient funds, or that Australia Post is waiting for you to claim a package? They often include links that when clicked give cyber criminals access to your mobile device. This is called Phishing or SMShing where you inadvertently divulge personal information.

Malware
Malware (the name for suspicious software that can be downloaded to your smartphone or computer can masquerade as a brand new game or productivity app. When you sync your phone and PC, there’s a chance that the malware gets uploaded to your phone.

Spy Apps
Stalkerware is the name that denotes commonly downloaded apps used by jealous partners, exes that can’t let go and those who suspect their partners may be cheating on them. By downloading spyware, the individual can gain access to their victim’s location, text messages, and even social media accounts. There are ways for people to clone phones, so they receive every text message, listen in on calls, delete messages, even block numbers from people trying to reach you. Cloning phones is illegal and can be done without even touching your phone.

Using open Wi-Fi

Using public wi-fi hotspots may be convenient, but it also increases your risk of being hacked.

How do you know if your mobile device has been hacked?
Mobile device forensics will be able to tell you if your smartphone, tablet or iPad has been compromised, but there are some surefire signs that will let you know that you’re not just being paranoid. 
1) Malware drains the battery (that being said, so can too many battery-draining apps)
2) Your phone’s slower than a snail. If you monitor your phone’s performance and even after you’ve used your settings to remove all the apps you no longer use and it’s still slow, a mobile forensic analysis will detect if malware has been installed.
3) Chewing through your data when you’ve barely used your phone
4) Strange messages you didn’t send
5) Calls to numbers you don’t recognise
6) You’ve clicked on links from text messages from companies you haven’t subscribed to
7) Unexpected reboots where your phone shuts down randomly
8) Strange noises during phone calls
9) Unwanted Apps and phone ads

What to do if you suspect your mobile device has been hacked?
Often your initial gut instinct is usually right. If you suspect you need a forensic phone analysis, avoid calling Spouse Spy from the hacked phone. Our mobile device forensics will be able to determine if you have been subject to malware, spyware or SMShing schemes. Our specialist mobile forensic software will provide a full analysis of Malware that has a known signature (Malware signatures are unique values indicating the presence of known malicious code). Even seemingly innocuous apps such as Find My Friends, Google, iCloud and Facebook can be used in malicious ways.

After a forensic mobile analysis, our specialised technicians will review all internal operating system files that may allow microphone or location access. Spouse Spy will provide you with a detailed report with all suspicious applications or files and a vulnerability report to show how you can better secure your device for the future.

For more information on our mobile device forensic investigation service contact us for help.

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