“Can someone hack my SIM card to listen in on my calls, read my text messages, and track my location?” is a question that our experts are frequently asked. It’s reasonable that people are concerned about this; we use our phones to store and exchange a lot of sensitive and private information, and the last thing we want is someone listening in on everything we say and reading everything we send and receive.
There are several reasons why someone could wish to clone or hack a SIM card:
- Get two-factor authentication codes sent to your phone via text message. This would allow the hacker to obtain access to sensitive online accounts, such as online banking, that would otherwise be safeguarded.
- To receive texts and phone calls from another person, and so forth. This could be for a variety of purposes, such as spying on their conversations and interactions with others.
- To mimic someone else. Not only may someone who has cloned another person’s SIM card receive their incoming messages and calls, but they can also use their number to send outbound texts and calls. This implies they might pose as them in order to obtain access to sensitive accounts or even trick the victim’s contacts.
- To go after a high-value person. This method is frequently used by hackers to target people in certain company positions or with a certain degree of income. For example, Twitter’s billionaire CEO, Jack Dorsey, was recently a victim of ‘SIM Swapping,’ a SIM card hacking technique.
Is it feasible for your SIM card to be hacked or cloned?
The answer is yes in a nutshell. Someone may absolutely clone or even hack your SIM card.
However, it isn’t that typical; in fact, hackers are considerably more likely to put spyware onto a victim’s device. Another common fallacy is that hackers may ‘tap into’ your SIM card and listen in on calls, read texts, and so on without your knowledge. The truth is that detecting whether or not your SIM card has been hacked or cloned is rather simple.
Overall, SIM card hacking/cloning is less successful than regular spyware, is far more difficult to carry out, and is much more easily recognized by the victim. Furthermore, spyware allows a hacker to obtain information other than calls and SMS messages from a user’s phone by installing it.
How to check if your SIM card has been hacked
If your SIM card has been cloned or hacked, there are a few (usually very simple) ways to tell:
- You haven’t received any calls or texts in a long time. You won’t receive any further messages or phone calls if someone has cloned your SIM card or persuaded your network provider to move your number to a new SIM card that they have in their possession. At any given moment, a phone number can only be paired with one SIM card. You can simply test this by having a buddy phone or text you, and if the call or text does not go through, you know you have an issue. Your SIM has not been hacked or cloned if you can still receive calls and texts.
- On your account, there are numbers that aren’t recognized. If you check your account for outgoing calls and notice numbers you don’t know, it’s time to contact your network operator and ask for further information.
- You get a notice telling you that you need to restart your device. A apparently random text purporting to be from your network provider asking you to restart your device is one of the first indicators of SIM hijacking. Usually, this is a message sent by the hacker. Restarting the phone allows them to steal your SIM card information when the phone is turned off.
- On location-tracking services, your device appears in a different location. This can be a useful approach to check for SIM problems if you’re using Find My iPhone for iOS or Google’s Find My Device for Android. If your phone appears in a different location, your SIM card has been hijacked and is being used by a hacker. Note: In many cases, hackers will simply turn off this feature.
- You are unable to access your accounts. A security mechanism known as two-factor authentication is used by many accounts. Even if a hacker knows your username and password, this feature stops them from gaining access to your account. This works by sending you a unique code through text message to authenticate your login. The issue is that if a hacker has been able to clone or hijack your SIM card, they can now acquire that verification code and utilize it to gain access to accounts they didn’t have before. As previously indicated, this has happened in a real-life circumstance.
After you’ve made sure your SIM card hasn’t been cloned or hacked, you might want to see if spyware has been placed on your phone. As previously indicated, this is a lot more typical means for hackers to listen in on your phone calls or texts, as well as access your emails, browser history, and account passwords.