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How to tell if your cell phone has been secretly hijacked

Generally, these attacks target your devices, but is it possible for hackers to also work their way into your phone’s SIM card?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes, as evidenced by this sad story shared with us by the reader, Carol B.:

“My brother had a hacker that got a SIMS card from his Mobile phone service. He then hacked into all of his email accounts and changed the passwords. He proceeded to kill my brother and his wife’s SIMS cards on their phones, so that they wouldn’t get notifications from their credit card companies, banks etc. The hacker was able to hack into one of his banking accounts and had $1000 transferred using Zelle to an account. What can we do to protect something like this happening again?”

To put it in plain terms, your SIM card carries all the information which allows you to connect with your larger network through calls, texts and emails.

Most hackers hope to access your SIM card to pull off any of these three fraudulent practices:

In this instance, after accessing your SIM card, the hacker will clone all the information found on it copying the stolen data onto a new SIM card that they control. Once they succeed at this con, it allows the criminal to access all the original owner’s texts, calls and location data, which the hacker can view on their device.

While we have now established that your SIM card can be hacked, and is very dangerous should it potentially happen, it is far less common than hackers accessing your devices. This is primarily because it is much less easy for criminal hackers to access your SIM card and go unnoticed. For that matter, hackers can do many things they could do by hijacking your SIM card, such as using your identity to make calls and texts.

As mentioned above, there is some cold comfort that can be taken in the fact that it is extremely easy to determine whether your SIM card has been hacked.

Phone numbers can only be associated with one SIM card, so if you are the victim of SIM cloning or swapping, you won’t receive any new calls or texts. Have a friend call or text you, and if the call or text comes through, then there is no possibility that your SIM card has been successfully cloned or swapped.

When checking your phone bill and you see several calls or texts made to numbers you don’t recognize, that leaves open a very real possibility that your SIM card has been hacked. Immediately contact your service provider to get more information regarding these calls.

If you get a random text message telling you to restart your device, seeming to be from your service provider, it is more than likely a scam artist. They will not be able to complete cloning or swapping your SIM card unless you restart your device. Service providers will never contact you instructing you to restart your device, so if you do get such a message, best to call them immediately.

The chances of your SIM card being hijacked are relatively low. There are, nonetheless, steps you can take to make avoid this happening to you.

The biggest security precaution you can place on your SIM card is enabling a SIM card lock, requiring a PIN code for anyone trying to access your SIM card.

Important note: Always be sure that you know your current PIN before activating the lock.

My biggest desire is to educate and inform you about the increased real threat to each of our connected devices and encourage you to use strong antivirus security protection on everything in your life connected to the rest of the world.

See my expert review of the best antivirus protection for your Windows, Mac, Android & iOS devices by searching ‘Best Antivirus’ at by clicking the magnifying glass icon at the top of my website.

Category: Technology

Source: Fox Technology

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