Anyone here really know about phone hacking?

No, not about getting into voice mail. But really being able to take over a phone? Some security consultant etc who might like to get a bit of exposure?

A Dutch TV crew is investigating a case where a phone seems to have been taken over. They’d like someone to aid them in working out exactly what has been happening.

Anyone here really know this stuff?

The supposition is that someone has managed to plant some malware on the phone so that it can be controlled remotely.



10 thoughts on “Anyone here really know about phone hacking?”

  1. A smart phone is just a computer, both IOS (apple) & Android are based on unix/linux, so yes, they can be hacked like any other computer.

  2. I worked in mobile phone forensics for 3 years. Seems believable, if high profile enough. If they had access to the phone in the owner’s absence it is conceivable that they could have done it. Depends on what phone it is. Elaborate, but possible. It’s the kind of thing we would have loved to examine during our time on the job…

  3. If it’s a smartphone (preferably Android) then you can hack it and install remote-control malware. Only caveat is that you normally need to gain access to the phone for a couple of hours to install the code.

    More skilled hackers can remotely compromise a phone. You send the victim an email or text in which you entice him to click on a dodgy link. The linked website will contain various hacks which, on all but the most up-to-date phones, will crack open the operating system and install the malware. There are plenty of stories of this happening, where the malware proceeds to run up huge phone bills to 090x numbers or £5 text message services.

    Once installed, the malware can be used to remotely view the victim’s screen, read their emails, and of course listen in to their calls.

    The problem for the investigators is that if the hacker suspects they’ve been sussed, then they can remotely wipe all the evidence too. First rule is for the victim to carry on using the phone as if nothing had happened.

  4. Friend of mine is in the security detail of an exceptionally well known London celebrity. He knows somebody who, given a few minutes with your phone, will be able to see and hear all activity on it thereafter plus control it remotely if desired. Part of his job is ensuring it does not happen to my friend’s boss.

  5. As others have said, sticking malware on a smartphone is about as hard as sticking it on a PC. The question is what the malware as doing as some tasks (e.g. recording phonecalls) are harder than other tasks (e.g. tracking where the phone has gone and reporting this every few hours).

    But in general, if you have a system where people can download and run arbitrary programs on the device then yes they can be and will be hacked

  6. The key thing here is who is supposedly doing it and to what ends?

    What make and model was the compromised phone? How far do they believe the phone was compromised?

    If it’s a “private” third party then the options generally rely on physical access to the unit although there are “zero day” (i.e manufacturing flaws) out there which craft access through Bluetooth & WiFi – but only on certain models.

    If it’s state sanctioned spookery – that’s really a Pandora’s box as anybody who’s looked at Stuxnet will tell you 🙂

    fwiw – it’s instructive to see how many mobile phone network executives and engineers have been hauled up by plod et al in the whole “phone hacking” palaver – given some simple arithmetic it’s an exceedingly lucrative business…..

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