This is how a smartphone is hacked

This is how a smartphone is hacked

With the rapid growth of mobile devices, applications to hack them have skyrocketed. Smartphones , tablets , smart watches or phablets . The last five years have been a real revolution in terms of the type and quantity of devices that we use on a regular basis in our day to day. But also in malicious attacks.


The data and files that we used to manage only on the computer are now on other devices with different operating systems and connected to different networks. This phenomenon is not lost on cybercriminals looking for new vulnerabilities and security flaws.


Although computers are still the main system used by users to connect to the network, tablets and smartphones have been gaining ground for years. However, the concern for the security of these users is much lower than that of those who use the PC.


According to the Director of Communication and Laboratory of Eset, Josep Albors, “the first thing to do to hack a phone is to select a malicious application on the Internet and download it”. There are quite a few tools on the internet to spy on third parties. From the most commercial ones like Mobile Spy or Flexi Spy , to much more effective ones like Androrat .

“Once the application has been chosen, we must upload it to any cloud storage system such as Dropbox. Afterwards, it is essential to shorten the link that they offer you to share it. With this, we ensure that the victim does not suspect where it is pointing.”


If you want to send it to a particular user, most experts recommend doing it by mail, SMS or WhatsApp. If it is massive, Twitter or Facebook are more useful.


The most complicated, tricking the user


It should be noted that the short URL only serves to camouflage the real one and that, in this way, the user downloads it. Getting the app to run unnoticed on the phone afterwards depends on how trusting the victim is.


“At the moment the user clicks , the most normal thing is that a window appears asking if you want to download an application that is not on Google Play and informing you of the permissions you are requesting. The problem is that most people do not read them and does what they are told,” added Albors.


Android phones include an option in Settings , Security and Device administrators that allows you to install or not install applications that are not from the Google store. As explained by the Kaspersky analyst, Daniel Creus, “many users install any type of application because they do not think that someone can enter their phone. This is also linked to social engineering, which is the way in which people are manipulated having as a hook the human curiosity, the greed and the ignorance of certain subjects”.


“If you send an email simply telling the other person to open an application, they are normally suspicious. If, on the other hand, you write a personalized text calling them by name, explaining that they have to see a document that is related to something that interests them, and they open it despite that you’ll get a notice that you need to activate a tab in your Settings menu , in many cases they’ll end up doing it.


Opinion shared by Fernando de la Cuadra, Director of Education at Eset : “We always click. To fool someone, you just need to write something that is of interest to them, such as photos stolen from celebrities . Everyone clicks.”


To prevent the victim from realizing that the application is malicious, it can be camouflaged with the name of another harmless one. There are versions of Androrat, for example, that already come with other endings or even icons so as not to raise suspicions on the mobile screen.


In order not to be the victim of an attack at these levels, most experts agree that it would be enough to thoroughly check each application that we download, getting into each one of them to make sure that it is what it claims to be. If we find a suspicious one, it is best to eliminate it. Taking the necessary precautions is worth it. Our information and personal data depend on it.

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