Your Phone Number: That’s All It Takes To Hack Your Smartphone

Your phone number that's all it takes to hack your smartphone

More than a year ago, a security researcher named Karsten Nohl demonstrated how the victim’s phone number was enough to locate the owner of that mobile or spy on his calls and messages on that number.

All that time has passed, and the problem is still there. The reason? This method to infiltrate any mobile is based on using the so-called Signaling System No. 7 (SS7), which acts as a moderator in the transmissions between our mobile and our operator. We are at his mercy if the hacker gains access to the SS7 network.

Users can’t do anything.

Nohl spoke about the problem again on CBS’s 60 Minutes program, and there he explained how he had been working with various international mobile networks for months to analyze the impact that this type of vulnerability continued to have.

In his demonstration on the show, he tracked an American congressman and did it from his workplace in Berlin using only his phone number. She managed to locate the congressman’s position, read the messages he had written, and recorded the calls between him and his team.

There is little that users can do to be safe from this type of espionage: the attack occurs from the operator, and the mobile phone user does not matter. As Nohl explained, the mobile operator knows where you are based on antenna triangulation, and there was nothing -except turning off the mobile- that users could do.

Neither install security applications nor choose a different phone or PIN. It is suspected that the method revealed by Nohl has been used for some time by intelligence agencies, including the US NSA, in its mass espionage programs.