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How to hack an Android phone

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My inbox and my social accounts are full of messages asking me the same question: the one related to how to hack an Android phone with spynote. There are those who, worried about their privacy, contact me to find out how to defend themselves against attacks by cyber pirates and those who, on the other hand, driven by pure curiosity, would like to find out what are the techniques that the so-called “bad guys” (ie the “bad hackers” “) Use to attack the smartphones of their victims.

Faced with such a large amount of requests, I certainly could not sit idle. Precisely for this reason, today I am here to deal with the subject and to clarify all the doubts that you may have about it. Almost.

We will first see the “weapons” with which the bad guys most commonly spy and / or command Android smartphones from a distance, then we will try to draw up a set of rules to avoid encountering this type of threats. I assure you that with a bit of common sense you can get excellent results and sleep relatively peacefully. In short, absolute security does not exist, neither on Android nor on any other software platform, but if you use your smartphone carefully you can avoid a lot of risks. Having said that… I wish you happy reading!

How to hack an Android phone

If you are wondering how to hack an Android phone, I would like to inform you immediately that there are various techniques that malicious people are used to adopting to perform the aforementioned operation. Some of them exploit users’ inexperience and naivety, while others are more subtle and elaborate. Knowing them, however, will help you avoid running into unpleasant situations. To find out more, feel free to read on.

Social engineering techniques

One of the most effective methods that attackers have on their side to hack an Android phone (and any other smartphone more generally) is to use so-called social engineering techniques .

But what exactly is it about? Social engineering can encompass various types of activities and behaviors. In general, however, those who resort to this particular hacking technique aim to get hold of the victim’s smartphone, through various tricks – for example with an excuse such as: “I have an empty mobile phone and I need to make an urgent phone call, you can lend me the your?” -, so as to be able to capture confidential information on the device, install malicious software and perform other operations harmful to the user’s privacy.

Phishing

Phishing is another very effective technique that is used by attackers to hack victims’ devices. Usually, it is exploited by inviting the user to open content passed off as something else and through which the entry of sensitive data is requested.

More precisely, the “script” adopted is the following: the user receives an e-mail or a message with a link, which, if opened, refers to a web page through which the user is asked to reset the password of a social network network, a home banking service or other services for which the entry of sensitive data may be required.

If the user falls into the trap, he will go to provide strictly confidential information to complete strangers, who will inevitably make an improper use of it. 

App-spy, anti-theft and for parental control

Perhaps not everyone knows this, but there are spy apps , whose main purpose is to keep an eye on Android devices. Fortunately, they are quite difficult to use and configure, so they are not particularly popular solutions.

But be careful: these are not “bad” apps per se, in fact they are designed to find vulnerabilities and / or to test the security of their devices, but as easily imaginable they are often used for less noble purposes.

Among the applications of this kind I point out AndroRat , which allows you to remotely monitor and control Android by “capturing” the messages that are sent or received on the smartphone, locating the terminal on a map, activating the camera, capturing the sound from the microphone and much more. Also very powerful are cSploit , which allows you to detect Android vulnerabilities and exploit them to remotely access smartphones, and DroidSheep, which instead serves to “capture” communications from Facebook, Twitter and other social networks.

Other tools, this time within everyone’s reach, perfectly legitimate but that can be used by malicious people to remotely monitor a smartphone, are the anti- theft apps . With tools of this type, in fact, it is possible to locate a telephone remotely, command it via SMS, take photos and videos from a distance and much more, without the device user noticing anything.

Speaking of applications created for legitimate purposes that can however be easily “bent” at the will of the bad guys, it seems only right to point out the applications for parental control that include everything necessary to track user activities (monitor Internet browsing, calls , the applications used, etc.) and are often able to hide by removing their icons from the home screen and the Android drawer.

There are many applications for parental control, even in the free sector, and their operation is really within everyone’s reach: just install them, configure them and then they do everything by themselves, allowing remote monitoring and / or control of the smartphone.

MAC address cloning

The MAC address (acronym for “Media Access Control”) is a 12-digit address that allows you to uniquely identify each network card present on devices connected to the Internet. Knowing it can be to configure the home network, to set the operation of a specific program and to perform other operations. But malicious people can also try to use it to spy on other people’s devices, as in the case of Android phones.

Some services and some apps, in fact, use the MAC address to guarantee to a specific device the use of specific services and the execution of certain operations, such as connecting to a protected Wi-Fi network or the use of messaging services. . Consequently, a hacker may want to trace the victim’s MAC address and use it in place of that of his own device, using specific applications (for “cloning” the MAC address), in order to spy on the activities carried out by the other person on the his cell phone.

To verify all this, however, it is essential that the attacker on duty has the possibility to physically access the victim’s mobile phone (as the MAC address of Android smartphones is usually accessible from the device settings), or must use programs and apps which allow to obtain this data.

How not to get hacked an Android phone

As we have just seen together, hacking an Android phone is far from impossible. However, by taking adequate preventative measures, you can reduce the risk of intrusions to a minimum.

What are the preventive measures I am talking about? Don’t worry, nothing you can’t do on your own. These are very simple practices, of pure common sense and that do not require the intervention of a technician or advanced knowledge in the field of IT security: to find out more, read on.

Disable the installation of apps from unknown sources

The first preventive measure I recommend you take is to disable the installation of apps from unknown sources . Installing applications from sources external to the Play Store (or from the alternative app store that may be present on the device) may not be prudent and, consequently, can represent a danger to the security of the smartphone, increasing the chances of running into malicious apps.

To avoid this, it is therefore advisable to disable (if enabled) the function that allows you to install apps from unknown sources. To do this, go to the Settings menu> Security> Other settings> Install apps from external sources on your device (the items may change slightly depending on the device in use), locate the apps that have the option Allow app installation enabled and ” turn off ”the relative lever.

On older versions of Android, the same result can be achieved by going to the Settings> Android Security menu and deselecting the option relating to unknown sources .

Remove the root

The root , which is a procedure by which it is possible to obtain administrative permissions on Android and, therefore, it is possible to modify the behavior of the operating system more thoroughly: it is very useful if you know well where to put your hands and you need of apps that don’t work without it (as I explained to you in detail in my guide on the subject ); however, it also represents a potential risk.

Having a smartphone unlocked via root exposes the device to the installation of apps that can act undisturbed on the deeper aspects of the system. So, if you don’t need root as you’re not a particularly experienced user and / or don’t use applications that require it, you’d better remove it. To find out how to do this, search Google for the procedure that best suits your smartphone.

Use an antimalware

Whether or not you suspect someone is spying on you, I strongly recommend that you install an anti- malware for Android. How come? I’ll explain it to you right away. Using such a tool you can easily find out if there are malicious apps on your smartphone and / or if some app hides a mechanism inside it to steal data and information.

There are a lot of anti-malware for Android. I personally recommend Malwarebytes, which is one of the most effective antimalware for Android (as well as for PC ). It is free, but offers in-app purchases (at a base cost of 1.29 euros) to unlock additional features.

After downloading and installing it on the device, start Malwarebytes, tap the Start now button , grant the app the necessary permissions to access the device memory, pressing the Give permission button, tap the Skip item located at the top right ( to not activate the trial of the paid version), start updating the signatures by pressing the Update database button and tap the Scan button to analyze the device.

When you are shown the result of the scan, if any threats are found, just follow the directions on the screen to be able to get rid of them instantly.

Other useful information

In addition to the information I have already given you, there are other measures that you can implement to prevent your Android smartphone from being hacked, or in any case to try to circumvent the work of any malicious people. Here they are.

  • Check the list of apps with admin privileges – from time to time, check your smartphone for any suspicious apps that have been granted admin permissions. As already pointed out above, the spy apps for Android are hidden, in most cases they do not show up either on the home screen or in the system drawer, but this does not mean that they are impossible to trace. If you go to the Android settings panel and check the list of applications that have permission to control the system, you can often find them (and therefore delete them). To find out the list of applications that have permission to control your smartphone, therefore, go to the settingsof Android, select the security item that you find on the next screen and then the one relating to device administrators or system settings . If among the applications in the list there are some suspicious ones (i.e. some that have nothing to do with the operating system and you are sure you have not installed them yourself), deactivate them and remove them from your smartphone.
  • Entering the access codes to the spy apps – Another way to find the spy apps is to try to type the codes that some of them provide for access to their admin panel. For example, you can try typing the code * 12345 into the dialer (the screen for dialing phone numbers) or the addresses localhost: 4444 or localhost: 8888 in the browser. More info here .
  • Update Android – to hack an Android phone, attackers can use any security flaws in the operating system, which can only be corrected by updating the operating system to the latest version available, a practice that I have described in detail in my guide on argument.
  • Protecting access to the phone – as trivial as it may seem, one of the most effective security measures to prevent someone from hacking your smartphone is to protect access to the device in a way. This means using a secure PIN, a complex unlock pattern, unlocking by fingerprint, by facial recognition or, again, by scanning the iris. To set up an unlock system on Android, just access the device settings , select the item related to the screen lock and choose the option to add the preferred unlock option .
  • Do not use public Wi-Fi networks – unless strictly necessary, it is always good to avoid the use of public Wi-Fi networks, which can be more easily attacked by attackers to capture user data and communications, and entrusted to your operator’s 3G / 4G network.
  • Restoring Android – although this may seem a bit extreme, if you have a strong doubt that some hacker may have taken possession of your smartphone and if none of the practices already described have helped you, restoring the smartphone to the factory state is the best solution to adopt. In this way, in fact, you can delete all the apps present in the system (including malicious ones) and you can use a “clean” device. If you don’t know how to do this, check out my specific guide on how to reset Android.

Warning: this guide was written for illustrative purposes only. Hacking an Android smartphone is a crime punishable by law, therefore I do not take any responsibility for how you will use the information contained in the article.

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