It’s not really possible to hack your phone through a phone call. It is possible through a text, but you’ll need to interact with the text.
Hi, I’m Aaron, a technology and information security professional. Phone hacking isn’t as popular as other kinds of cyberattacks, but is still an issue.
Let’s dive into how your phone can be hacked, why it can’t be hacked via a call, and what you can do to protect yourself.
Table of Contents
How Your Phone Can Be Hacked
There are a few ways your phone can be hacked and they’re very similar to how a desktop computer is hacked. That’s because your phone is essentially a computer that you carry around in your pocket.
Your phone can be hacked when a malicious program compromises the phone’s operations or steals data. That can either happen by launching a malicious app or clicking on a malicious link.
Malicious links and applications can be delivered via text. Both require you to click a link in your text that launches a webpage or downloads the app if you’ve allowed app sideloading.
Why Your Phone is Unlikely to Be Hacked By a Call
When you take a phone call, your phone parses voice data. It interacts with that data by receiving and transmitting that data. Otherwise, there’s no direct interaction with your phone. That lack of interaction means malicious content can’t execute, if there was even a way to include malicious content in that data stream.
That doesn’t mean you can’t be hacked by a phone call. More effective than phone-centric attacks are Social Engineering attacks, like Vishing, or phone phishing. Social engineering is so effective a technique that it results in billions of dollars in damages to individuals a year.
It’s a much more effective technique than phone-centric attacks. Phone-centric attacks rely on many conditions, all of which must be present for the attack to work. Those include the phone being out of date and susceptible to attack, the link or app being delivered and opened, and profitable data stored on the phone.
Vishing typically preys on trust. That trust can be leveraged to steal money or information, both of which people are likely to have.
How Can You Protect Yourself?
Don’t click on links. You shouldn’t click on links from sources you don’t know and trust. The same goes for visiting websites.
Don’t install apps you don’t trust. If you sideload apps, make sure that you are only installing apps from sources you know and trust.
Don’t fall for social engineering. That sounds easier than it is. If someone asks you to pay for something by purchasing gift cards, it’s likely a scam. You should also independently verify urgent requests for payment.
Don’t share personal information unless you must. Never share banking or other financial information unless you must.
Here are some answers to commonly asked questions related to phone-based hacks.
Can Someone Hack My Bank Account with My Phone Number?
They can try! Typically a hacker will need other information in addition to your phone number. The less information you provide, the better.
Can Hackers See You Through Your Phone Camera?
If you install an app and give it permission, then yes! Ensure you don’t give permission to apps you don’t know and trust.
Can Your Identity Be Stolen By Someone Calling You On Your Phone?
Yes! This happens via social engineering attacks. Someone can try to steal your information over one or more phone calls.
It’s possible for your phone to be hacked when someone texts you. It’s not the text itself, but the content in the text that you interact with, like a hyperlink. You shouldn’t interact with content you don’t know and trust.
While it’s not possible for your phone to be hacked via a phone call, it is possible for you to be hacked. Social engineering preys on trust to gain access to data or money.
Have you encountered a social engineering attack? Let me know what it was in the comments below!