How easy is it for someone to hack your mobile phone, turn on the camera, and spy on you?

Mobile Phone Security Vulnerability

😑 The idea of hacking someone’s mobile phone and turning on the camera and accessing all information like text messages, WhatsApp messages, Photos, Videos, Phonebook, etc.. might sound ‘Impossible’ for a novice user, but in reality – it’s highly possible to become a hacker’s prey.

There are mainly two ways of having someone’s cell phone:

a. Gain Physical Access

If someone manages to get physical access to your phone and knows your passcode; it’s really simple to hack it. There are various software which you can buy over the Internet for a few 100 bucks, which can do the job for you. Some of these popular software (s) are as follows:

  1. mSpy
    mspy - Phone Monitoring App for Parental Control
    mSpy is a mobile phone tracking software and monitoring app for iPhone/Android. It works seamlessly in the background without making the target device identify its existence. It tracks text messages, calls, location, WhatsApp, etc. without wasting much battery. Besides tracking, you can remotely manage apps and programs.

 

Awesome Features

  • Option to track iPhones without jailbreaking.
  • Tracks on call logs, location, emails, SMS, WhatsApp, and so on.
  • Gives users information about using the dashboard.
  • Protects smartphones against theft.
  • Data syncs over Wi-Fi when their phone and your desktop are on the same network.

 

Pros

  • The app works on both iPhone and Android devices.
  • mSpy has a 7-day risk-free trial period before installation.

 

Cons

  • The subscription plans are pricey and unavailability of one-time / lifetime plans.
  • You need to root an Android device for tracking messaging apps.
  • mSpy supports a restricted number of features for Android devices.

 

  1. Spyera
    SPYERA™ - The best mobile and computer monitoring software
    Spyera is a perfect choice for you to keep track of someone’s phone. The app enables you to intercept live calls, record live calls and monitor your objectives with a camera. Plus, you also can record calls from different social networks, such as Skype, Viber, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Hangouts.

As of December 2021, Spyera provides two separate plans:
You’ll pay $69 /mo for the Tablet Plan (iPad or Android Tablet), while $80 /mo for Smart Phone Plan (iPhone and Android). Annual Plans are cheaper at $279 /yr for Tablet Plan and $389 /yr for Smart Phone Plan.

 

Awesome Features

  • Call logs, WhatsApp chats, and social media-related files can be reached

 

Pros

  • The password Grabber tool allows you to hack the password of the target phone.
  • You’ll get notifications and alerts on the control panel.

 

Cons

  • No live customer support.
  • Overly-priced. Unavailability of one-time / lifetime plans.

 

  1. FlexiSPY
    FlexiSPY™ - Unique Monitoring Software For Mobiles & Computers
    FlexiSPY is my preferred mobile phone monitoring app that works seamlessly on Android as well as iOS devices. The app helps users to monitor and track their children’s phone activities, such as SMS, calls, and WhatsApp chats. Especially, you can spy on two mobile phones simultaneously with GPS location and a free mobile reviewer app.

 

Awesome Features

  • You can access the phone camera and keylogging.
  • Supports checking instant messaging with ease.
  • Adapted to Android and no jail-breaking is necessary for iPhones.

 

Pros

  • Offers access to contacts and messages on the target device.
  • You can get screenshots of calls and messages remotely.

 

Cons

  • It is impossible to block unknown numbers remotely.

 

  1. Qustodio
    Qustodio - Parental control and digital wellbeing software
    Qustodio is claimed to be a user-friendly and efficient parental control app. It is a worthy software to track your children’s phone activities. The App is well compatible with any type of mobile device and PC as well.

 

Awesome Features

  • Qustodio App assists in tracking multiple mobile phones and reaching different accounts.
  • You may access detailed information from the target phone i.e., call history and text messages, etc.

 

Pros

  • Ease to use with simple dashboard and account settings.
  • Supports controlling more than one user

 

Cons

  • Expensive App with Unavailability of one-time / lifetime plan.
  • Social media monitoring is limited to Facebook only.
  • The VPN breaks the web filter in desktop browsers.

 

  1. SpyBubble
    The Spybubble - Cell Phone Monitoring Software
    Looking for simple yet powerful software to spy on an Android Phone? Try SpyBubble. Just Download and Install it on the target phone, and log in with your credentials. You don’t need to root the phone to utilize this app. After completing the above steps, you may sign in to your user account and start monitoring.SkyBubble is one of the most affordable spying apps, with a starting fee of $24.95 /mo to monitor one device. It works with mobile devices running Android 5.0 and above.

 

Awesome Features

  • Its Real-time GPS Tracking functionality allows you to know where they are and where they are going via their phone location history and current location.
  • Supports recording all incoming and outgoing calls on your spied device.
  • Allows reading text messages, even those that have been cleared.
  • Enables you to monitor which websites they’ve browsed and what’ve they looked for.
  • You can spy on multiple social media apps including WhatsApp, Facebook, and Snapchat.
  • You can easily view photos, contacts, calendars, and apps on the target phone.

 

Pros

  • Reasonable Pricing.
  • Easy to use.
  • Numerous helpful features are supported.

 

Cons

  • Only supports Android devices.

 

b. Remote Exploitation

The second way of remote exploitation is usually used by law enforcement like National Security Agency, FBI, etc. which works by exploiting the vulnerabilities in the phone software. The estimated cost of exploiting the vulnerabilities of iOS-powered Apple mobile phones can be $1.5M or more. On the other hand, Android exploits are much cheaper, ranging somewhere around $200K since it’s much easier to exploit an Android phone.

As per the nature of their job, law enforcement agencies have the legal immunity and unlimited budget to invest and compromise anyone’s mobile phone.

They could do it very stealthily, and you would never know what’s happening; there is no way to detect that you have malware on your device.

 

Which mobile phone OS platform is most vulnerable to cyber-attacks?

In my honest opinion, every OS platform for PCs and mobile phones has its share of vulnerabilities, and developers are working tirelessly to identify and address bugs on an ongoing basis. According to Statista, Android dominates the smartphone market, but that dominance comes at a cost. And CVE details point out that Android had the most vulnerabilities among any operating system in 2020.

 

How to protect my mobile phone from being compromised?

Below are 9 easy to follow steps to save your mobile phones:

  1. Use Latest Version Software – iPhone users can go to Settings > General > Software Update and then tap Automatic Updates to turn on Download iOS Updates. While Android users can open Google Play Store App, Tap the Profile icon on the top Right to access Settings > Network Preferences > Auto-update Apps. You may select the option to auto-update over any network i.e., Wi-Fi or mobile data, OR update while using Wi-Fi only when you’re phone is connected to a Wi-Fi network.
  2. Use Strong PassCode – iPhone users can set up a six-digit passcode by going to Settings > Face ID & Passcode and tapping Turn Passcode On. At the same time, Android users can set up 8-digit lock screen passcode by going to Settings > Passwords & Security > Screen lock.
  3. Biometric Scans – Avoid Fingerprint unlocks since anyone can use your fingerprints while you may be sleeping 🤪 or maybe you’re too much indulged in something. I like the face unlocking or retina scan feature available in certain phones but again it has it’s own sets of pros and cons and from a security perspective, I would rather avoid using it.
  4. Avoid Leaving Phones Unattended –  Parents often tend to share their gadgets with their kids who download and install games or other utility apps without knowing the security hazards of using unknown apps. This can be dangerous, and therefore it’s highly recommended to keep a separate device for your kids where you do not save or access your confidential data, including photos, financial, storage, shopping apps.
  5. Install Popular Apps – Google Play Store Store, as well as iOS App Store, displays user reviews along with the total number of installs for each app in their platform. Do read those reviews and check if the app has at least 100k+ downloads.
  6. Avoid using Public Wi-Fi Networks for free internet – Coffee shops, shopping malls, airports do offer free Wi-Fi facilities within their premises which might sound fantastic, but it’s hazardous to try out such free-to-use networks. Instead, try connecting via a secure VPN if you don’t have other options other than connecting to the Public Wi-Fi network.
  7. Back up your phone regularly – This helps you to reinstate your phone data easily.
  8. Factory Reset – Last but not least, reset your phone to factory settings when in doubt of being spied/monitored by someone. This automatically removes unwanted/undetected apps from your phone while restoring your phone to its default settings & storage.
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