Smartphones use some of the most advanced encryption out there. But that doesn’t make them impervious to getting hacked.
Think your cell phone is hacked? In this article I’ll show you some simple codes you can use to see if your phone has been tapped or hacked.
Phone security is extremely powerful, but it’s not perfect.
And since everyone carries a smartphone or mobile device, using it to access all sorts of sensitive private data and personal information, it pays to know if someone has hacked into your phone.
Every year hackers target millions of users (both Android and iPhone) in order to steal important financial data and more. It’s even possible to activate a phone’s camera and use pictures as blackmail.
So what can you do? To start you can use a code to check if the phone is hacked. More on that in a minute…
Well there are some telltale signs that a phone is hacked.
Here’s what you’ll learn in this article:
Before we get into the codes to check if your phone is hacked let’s look at some of the common symptoms of compromised device.
If your mobile phone is being monitored it’s most likely behaving differently. This is because hacking software like spy apps use phone resources causing slower operation and poor battery performance.
Here are a few things to look out for:
While this list doesn’t include every possible sign that your phone is being hacked, it should give you an idea of what to look for, what’s normal and what isn’t.
Now let’s take a look at what you should DO if you notice any of these behaviors on your smartphone.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of potential signs and signals that you’re being hacked, but it should give you a good idea so you can make common-sense decisions about what’s normal and what isn’t.
What should you do if you notice any of the above?
Smartphone codes are built into many major phone operating systems that allow you to access information relating to the security of your device.
While most people have never heard of USSD codes (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data), using them is actually quite simple. The key is knowing which ones to use.
Here are some steps you should take to see if your phone is hacked or tapped.
To get started you simply open up the dialer app and enter the USSD codes exactly as I have listed below.
You should start by finding out what your phone’s IMEI code (International Mobile Equipment Identifier) number is. The IMEI number is a unique identifier for your specific device. It is like a hard coded identifier that each device has built in.
If your phone has been compromised you’ll want to have this number handy as it will be required if you want to take any sort of legal action such as filing a police report.
It’s also handy for finding your device if it’s been stolen.
Once you enter this code you’ll want to keep the IMEI number somewhere safe so that others can’t find it.
There are special codes that allow someone to track your phone’s location. To see if someone has enabled this on your phone you’ll need the utility netmonitor code. Type in one of the following codes:
the iPhone code is: *3001#12345#*
the Android code is either: *#*#4636#*#* or: *#*#197328640#*#*
Once you’ve entered the code above peform the following steps:
Step 1. Select the menu item UMTS Cell Environment, then UMTS RR info. Take not of all the numbers under Cell ID. These numbers are the basic cell stations located nearby. By default your mobile device will connect to the one with the strongest signal.
Step 2. Return to the main menu. Then click on the MM info tab, then select Serving PLMN. Write down the numbers under Local Area Code (LAC).
Step 3. Using these two numbers and an ordinary website (the fourth tab to the left), you can determine the location on the map of the basic station that your phone is connected to.
This code requests the call forwarding status of your phone.
If your calls or texts aren’t getting through to you, it could be that your device is set up to forward to another number. This is a quick way to find out who might have hacked your phone.
Unfortunately call redirections are much more common than most people think and have been used for nearly a decade to hijack people’s phone calls and text messages.
Ideally when you enter the *#62* code you should see nothing.
If your phone is forwarding to another number it will display after you enter the *#62* code.
You should see the 10 digit phone number where your calls and messages are being forwarded.
You can also check for a redirection in your call logs. These can be accessed through your wireless provider’s website.
The diversion code *#21# is used to detect if your cell number is being diverted.
Since call redirections actually hit your cell phone BEFORE being redirected to the secondary number, they WILL show up on your phone bill.
Call diversions, on the other hand, will not.
A call diversion works by canceling the call before it reaches your number, the call is then placed to the diversionary number.
For this reason they won’t show up on your bills. And unless you know to check your phone with the *#21# code you would be unaware that calls are being diverted.
While redirections can be because of a fake cell phone tower or other type of interference, a call diversion would require someone to have access to your phone.
This could be anyone who might’ve handled your phone. So if you ever have a stranger ask to borrow your phone, this is a handy code to know to make sure they didn’t set up a diversion while using it.
Below is a screenshot from my Google Pixel showing the results of dialing the *#21# code.
This code requires a bit more of an explanation.
A net monitor is a network packet data analyzer.
It tracks everything your phone sends or receives including the phone’s location data, incoming and outgoing calls.
This handy code will let you find the geographic location of a person who might be accessing your phone. This sort of information can very useful if you need to press charges against someone as it can serve as evidence.
Once you type *#*197328640#*#* into your phone you’ll be taken to a menu. From this menu you’ll want to select UMTS Cell Environment, then select UMTS RR information.
Your cell phone will then display a cell ID. Write this number down.
Then press the back key on your phone twice and choose MM Information. Then select Serving PLMN.
Write down the local area code that appears.
Next you’ll need to go to a Netmonitor website. My favorite is https://opencellid.org.
On this site you’ll enter your cell ID and local area code that you wrote down.
The website will return the location data of any devices connected to yours.
If your phone has been hacked there are a few things you’ll want to do to ensure your device is re-secured.
If your phone has been redirected you’ll want to use code ##002# to remove all redirects to other phone numbers.
The next thing you’ll want to do is encrypt all of the data on your phone. Google’s Pixel automatically encrypts all your data when locked. For other Android devices see this resource.
On many devices you’ll find encryption under Settings, then Security.
Be aware that depending upon the amount of data, as well as how fast your phone’s processor is, this could take several hours.
To ensure the process isn’t interrupted make sure to plug your phone in while doing this.
This essentially wipes your phone of all data. Any malicious apps or spyware will be wiped along with everything else on the device.
Once the factory reset is complete you can restore your apps and data.
Take care when opening emails, text messages, and sms messages from people you don’t know. Phishing is a common tactic to hack into less secure phones.
You can also install anti-malware software from a handful of providers like Norton or Kaspersky to ensure your phone is better protected.
These apps are available in the App Store or Google Play.
Jason is a work from home dad who has a passion for DIY projects, yard work, and SEC Football. His background is IT, but he's always fancied himself as a part-time ship welder, landscaper, and short order cook. During the week he can be found on his laptop 10 hours-a-day, but on the weekends he escapes to the local DIY Cave to play with REAL toys. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, and can contact him via email.