Move along high-tech spyware and sophisticated gizmos - hacking someone’s phone is a lot easier than you think in 2020. Hacking mobile phones by sending over a link or with a computer has been commonplace for a while, but technological advances have since taken the science fiction out of hacking someone’s phone remotely.

No surprise that hacking someone’s phone is such a prevalent issue today. Between March to September last year, many phone users were hacked because of Whatsapp exploits, website-embedded malware and  virus-laden online videos. Remote phone hacks have already become an everyday reality.

What kinds of remote phone hacks can we expect in 2020? Here are 5 ways how you (and anybody else) can hack someone’s phone remotely this year:

5 ways how anyone can Hack someone’s phone remotely in 2020

Hack 1. Using malicious software like SIMJacker to hack into someone’s phone

Software viruses are often used to hack into someone's device remotely - and that includes mobile phones too.

Malicious software, or malware, exists in so many forms today. Most of us are certainly not strangers to mobile phishing scams or ransomware, but malware can also hide behind the façade of random videos on social media and unverified web links.

Different forms of malware are all designed to infringe on your personal privacy and safety.  Most steal personal data or monitor activity on your mobile phone, and more dangerous types can even render your mobile phone completely unusable. SIMjacker, for example, exploited a vulnerability in some SIM cards to take control over the victim's mobile phone. Another similar malware is WIBattack,  which takes advantage of the same weaknesses in some SIM cards.

To minimize the risk that malware poses to your mobile phone, be sure to install an anti-virus software and refrain from accessing unverified links and pages.

Hack 2. Using spyware like Spyfone to hack into mobile phones

Remote phone hacks using spyware allow someone else to monitor all activity on your mobile phone.

While there has been quite a lot of debate over the implications that spyware pose towards personal data privacy, phone spying software is becoming accepted by concerned parents and scrutinizing employers alike.

Not all spyware are created equal. Spyfone, a highly popular phone monitoring software, is able to monitor not only calls and contacts, but also geolocation, photo/video and social media.  In general, mobile phone hacking apps typically possess these traits:

(1). They work in the background, which makes them incredibly hard to detect to the average user.

(2). They have call, location and messaging tracker services (to varying degrees of accuracy)

(3). Most require users to jailbreak (for iOS) or root (for Android) their phones. Both basically mean bypassing certain limits and restrictions built in by the developer, and doing either presents security risks to the user’s own phone. For a more in-depth explanation, take a look at Android central’s read on rooting and Digital Trend’s primer on jailbreaking 101.

Hack 3. Using "man-in-the-middle" attacks on public Wi-Fi to hack into mobile phones nearby

While you're hacking your way into peak productivity, someone may be hacking your device remotely.

In today’s data-guzzling world, being in range of a public Wi-Fi network is analogous to chancing upon a miracle spring in the desert. But are public Wi-Fi networks a godsend, or a ploy for something more sinister?

Savvy hackers can set up rogue Wi-Fi networks that mimic the legitimate ones to lure unsuspecting users in. Once a user has connected to the false network, hackers then conduct what is known as a “man in the middle” attack to deceive users into revealing potentially sensitive information. On these fake networks, hackers gain full visibility over what you are looking at and doing on your device.

To illustrate this, imagine using a public Wi-Fi network to access your bank account. You key in your credentials, and everything seems to be responding fine – until you realise your bank account is completely empty.

Hack 4. Sending control messages via SMS to hack into a mobile phone

Mortgage loan interest-free? More like hacking into your phone remotely with glee.

It turns out that even receiving SMSes can open a door for hackers to step into and take control of your phone. How hackers hack someone’s phone remotely using SMSes often comes in two ways: Midnight Raids and Control Message Attacks.

Midnight raids get their namesake from the fact that these are often done in the dead of night when phone users have turned in and their mobile phones are left charging. By sending a simple text message, hackers can control web browsers on mobile phones and use them as a means to siphon personal data away, or even transmit viruses.

Control Message Attacks also give hackers high levels of control over the target mobile phone, but they do so with what is called a control message that grants the hacker access to a mobile phone’s settings.  

The good news is, mobile phone software developers are aware of this risk and regularly update and issue patches to minimize risk. The bad news is, phone users don’t really have the means to prevent these sorts of hacks altogether, and it’s mostly up to the developers to make sure hackers don’t exploit the flaw to its fullest extent.

Hack 5. Hacking into a mobile phone using an IMSI Catcher

A literal representation of how someone's phone is hacked remotely with an IMSI Catcher. 

IMSI catchers are sophisticated surveillance hardware often used by law enforcement agencies, but that is not stopping everyday hackers from creating their own homemade versions.

How an IMSI works is by pretending to be a base station or cell tower and deceiving all mobile phones within a certain radius to log into it. Any communication that then comes through can be easily collected, read or even listened on in real time.

And if that isn’t scary enough, all this happens without the victim even knowing. Just like hacking into a mobile phone using public Wi-Fi, hacking into someone’s mobile phone with an IMSI catcher is also a form of a man-in-the-middle attack.

Want to avoid being remotely hacked on your phone? Here's the solution.  

Mobile communication is becoming more ubiquitous everyday, and as more people connect on mobile devices like cell phones and tablets, ways to hack in someone’s phone remotely in 2020 are only bound to increase. As mobile phone users, we need to take start taking urgent steps to protect our personal data privacy. Read our guide on how to find out if your phone has been hacked by someone, and take these 5 steps to keep yourself safe.

This is no one-size-fits-all solution to preventing someone from hacking your phone remotely (unless you’re perfectly fine with using an analog phone), but one good step to take is obtaining a second phone number with Phoner. By masking your actual phone number, hacking methods that rely on knowing your phone number will instantly become ineffective. With Phoner, you get privacy with reliable calling at no-contract, low-cost options.

So what are you waiting for? Download Phoner now and start your 2020 by keeping yourself safe from remote cell phone hacks!