Is it possible to hack a phone with just a phone number? After hours of research and going through hundreds of pages of written material, all we found were divergent views. In between the technical debates and how you define “hack”, an exact answer remained elusive. Let us now deconstruct it in simpler terms.
The idea of “hack a phone with just a phone number” sounds scary and fascinating at the same time and it actually depends on how you look at it. The simpler answer, however, is NO. You can not hack a phone with just a phone number. Most of the websites claiming this to be true are actually sleepwalking you to buy spyware or an application that might help you do the same. It’s a sales pitch! as simple as that.
However, we advise you not to lower your guard completely on this as there truly exist some exceptions. Military-grade spyware such as Pegasus can actually hack a phone with just a phone number, make hacking a phone akin to “walk in the park”. Pegasus is owned by Israeli cyber arms firm, NSO Group. Truly, this has been one of the most advanced and sophisticated software that has ever been developed. A true masterclass in surveillance and information extraction. That was the
bad worst part. The good news is that Pegasus is a tightly controlled secret and the use is authorized only by the NSO to its licensed clients. Unless you happen to screw it up really bad with someone who is very very important and powerful, you do not qualify for being a Pegasus target.
The second exception to the question: Can you hack a phone with just a phone number is the government and government agencies. Of course, they have access to mobile network operators’ data, and the mobile network operators, in most cases, comply with any request that comes from a government agency. Unless you are doing or contemplating any outlawed activity, you do not need to bother with this.
The third exception and one that poses a higher degree of risk is the vulnerability found within the Signalling System Number 7 or SS7. This is commonly called C7 in the UK and CCSS7 in the US. SS7 acts as a liaison between mobile phone networks. When calls or text messages are made across networks SS7 handles details such as number translation, SMS transfer, billing, and other back-end duties that connect one network or caller to another. A hacker with the ability to hack into the SS7 can track your location, intercept text messages and voice calls. The ability was first demonstrated by German security researcher Karsten Nohl in 2014. What makes it even worst is the fact that the vulnerability is on the network side and a mobile phone user can do nothing about it.
Barring the three exceptions, there is no way one can hack a phone with just a phone number. Anyone claiming to do so is just following a sales pitch and is trying to sell you their spy applications that would eventually do more harm than good. We have actually covered one similar app called Telenitrox.
This brings us to another question:
What can a hacker do with just a phone number?
Your phone number is a crucial part of your identity. Your social media accounts are linked to your phone number, so are your online banking services, your credits cards and your email accounts such as Gmail. Your WhatsApp or other messaging applications are also tied to your phone number. Making your phone number public would obviously expose you to greater risks and would make you more vulnerable. A hacker, for example, can send you a seemingly legitimate SMS on your phone with a link. If you click on the link- it’s all doom and gloom. And in such a scenario, yes, someone can actually hack your phone with just a phone number!