We have all been instructed to be alert for potential malware contaminating our devices. Infections often find their technique to our computers, phones and tablets after clicking a dangerous link, downloading an attachment from an unknown email, and even downloading a malicious app from the Google Play Store.
Generally, these attacks goal your devices, but is it possible for hackers to also work their way into your phone’s SIM card?
HACKERS’ LATEST TRICK LOOKS LIKE FREE MOVIE STREAMING
Photo of a smartphone with the SIM card taken out.
Unfortunately, the reply 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 Cell phone service. He then hacked into all of his email accounts and adjusted the passwords. He proceeded to kill my brother and his wife’s SIMS cards on their phones, in order that they would not get notifications from their bank card firms, banks etc. The hacker was capable of hack into considered one of his banking accounts and had $1000 transferred using Zelle to an account. What can we do to guard something like this happening again?”
Why would a hacker wish to hack into your SIM card?
To place it in plain terms, your SIM card carries all the data which lets you connect together with your larger network through calls, texts and emails.
It stores your mobile subscriber number, which helps authenticate and discover you on mobile devices. In consequence, if someone is successful in hacking into your SIM card, it gives them the facility to:
- Access Two-Factor identification codes, potentially allowing them into your banking accounts and other high-profile accounts
- Receive text messages out of your contacts
- Use your identity to text and call others for fraudulent schemes.
Most hackers hope to access your SIM card to drag off any of those three fraudulent practices:
1. SIM swapping
Once accessing your SIM card, hackers will use your information to attempt to trick your service provider into switching your phone number to a recent SIM card and phone number, leading to the owner’s number and knowledge being erased. To do that, the unique phone will have to be restarted to finish the transfer. This often requires the hackers to contact the unique phone owner, posing because the service provider, to restart their phones.
2. SIM Cloning
On this instance, after accessing your SIM card, the hacker will clone all the data found on it copying the stolen data onto a recent SIM card that they control. Once they succeed at this con, it allows the criminal to access all the unique owner’s texts, calls and site data, which the hacker can view on their device.
3. Simjacker spyware attack
Simjacker is spyware software, often sent to people via an SMS message, which if opened, will allow the hackers to read your messages, pay attention to your calls and track your location. That is achieved mainly through software called S@T Browser, a basic web browser of sorts, primarily utilized by service providers to interact with web applications. While S@T Browser is installed on many devices that leave people vulnerable to Simjacker, it is usually rarely used, and these attacks are most typical within the Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe
STOP FROM BEING HACKED BY GETTING THIS CRITICAL WINDOWS UPDATE NOW
What are the possibilities of my SIM card being hacked?
While we have now now established that your SIM card will be hacked, and may be very dangerous should it potentially occur, it is much less common than hackers accessing your devices. That is primarily since it is far less easy for criminal hackers to access your SIM card and go unnoticed. For that matter, hackers can do many things they may do by hijacking your SIM card, similar to using your identity to make calls and texts.
It is also price noting, back in late 2022, Apple not uses physical SIM cards in any of their newly launched products. As an alternative, they’re deploying electronic SIM cards often known as an eSIM. Thankfully, eSIM cards are somewhat less vulnerable to hackers in relation to the specter of SIM swapping. Crooks and scammers can not claim their SIM card is lost. Nonetheless, like all technology, it remains to be sadly possible to hack an eSIM card. With that in mind, it is vital to be looking out for any tell-tale signs that your SIM card could have been hacked – period.
ARE HACKERS IN YOUR PHONE? HERE’S HOW TO FIND OUT
Photo of a girl presumably attempting to access her phone after her SIM card was hacked.
How will I do know If My SIM card has been hacked?
As mentioned above, there may be some cold comfort that will be taken within the proven fact that it is amazingly easy to find out whether your SIM card has been hacked.
You are not receiving calls or texts
Phone numbers can only be related to one SIM card, so in case you are the victim of SIM cloning or swapping, you will not receive any recent calls or texts. Have a friend call or text you, and if the decision or text comes through, then there isn’t a possibility that your SIM card has been successfully cloned or swapped.
Outgoing calls or texts to unknown numbers
When checking your phone bill and also you see several calls or texts made to numbers you do not recognize, that leaves open a really real possibility that your SIM card has been hacked. Immediately contact your service provider to get more information regarding these calls.
Messages telling you to restart your device
When you get a random text message telling you to restart your device, seeming to be out of your service provider, it’s greater than likely a scam artist. They may not find a way to finish cloning or swapping your SIM card unless you restart your device. Service providers won’t ever contact you instructing you to restart your device, so in case you do get such a message, best to call them immediately.
Your device shows up in an odd location
One of the guaranteed ways of determining in case your SIM card has been compromised is in case your phone shows up in a location different from yours while using a tracking app similar to “Find My”. Nonetheless, many hackers will try to disable this service as a way of avoiding detection.
Inability to access accounts
Many apps and web sites, particularly those for banks or others containing vulnerable information, are inclined to use two-factor verification. It is a way of circumventing hackers who could have accessed your login information, by sending you a text or email with a verification code. In case your SIM card is hacked, then they are going to find a way to receive that code, giving them the power to log in and alter your username and password.
PRO-RUSSIAN HACKERS CLAIM CYBER ATTACK ON FBI WEBSITE: REPORT
Photo of a SIM card in its case, outside the phone.
How can I protect my SIM card from being hacked?
The probabilities of your SIM card being hijacked are relatively low. There are, nonetheless, steps you may take to make avoid this happening to you.
- Set all of your social media accounts to “Private” or “Friends Only”– Hackers will often make the primary steps in accessing your information by trying to find your public, online presence
- Delete any apps or online accounts you not use – further limits your possibility of being hacked
- Don’t open attachments or click links from unknown emails – likelihood is they’re phishing scams, hoping to access your personal information
- Consider alternative methods of two-factor identification – quite than be reliant on a text or email, consider a service just like the Google Authentication app, which is tied to your device and can prevent hackers from getting a text or email
- Never use the identical password for multiple accounts
- Never select security questions where the reply is publicly available, similar to “mother’s maiden name”.
HOW TO TELL IF SOMEONE IS SNOOPING ON YOUR ANDROID
SIM card lock
The most important security precaution you may place in your SIM card is enabling a SIM card lock, requiring a PIN code for anyone attempting to access your SIM card.
To enable a SIM card lock on an Android
- Go to Settings
- Tap Lock Screen and Security
- Tap Other Security Settings
- Tap Set Up Sim Card Lock
- Activate the Lock SIM Card.
To enable a SIM card Lock on an iPhone
- Go to Settings
- Tap Cellular
- Tap SIM Pin
- Enter your existing Pin, and the SIM lock can be activated.
Necessary note: At all times make certain that your current PIN before activating the lock.
CHINESE HACKERS EXPLOITED US COVID RELIEF FUNDS FOR MILLIONS, SECRET SERVICE CLAIMS
Lock up your tech
My biggest desire is to coach and inform you in regards to the increased real threat to every of our connected devices and encourage you to make use of strong antivirus security protection on all the things in your life connected to the remaining of the world.
See my expert review of one of the best antivirus protection in your Windows, Mac, Android & iOS devices by searching ‘Best Antivirus’ at CyberGuy.com by clicking the magnifying glass icon at the highest of my website.
Related: Free antivirus: do you have to use it?
Home screen of Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson’s website.
For more of my Security suggestions, head over to CyberGuy.com and you’ll want to subscribe to my free CyberGuy Report Newsletter by clicking the “Free newsletter” link at the highest of my website.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Copyright 2023 CyberGuy.com. All rights reserved. CyberGuy.com articles and content may contain affiliate links that earn a commission when purchases are made.
Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson is an award-winning tech journalist who has a deep love of technology, gear and gadgets that make life higher together with his contributions for Fox News & FOX Business starting mornings on “FOX & Friends.” Got a tech query? Get Kurt’s CyberGuy Newsletter, share your voice, a story idea or comment at CyberGuy.com.