How hard is it to hack a mobile phone? - And how long would it take to edit a security camera's footage?

glass_houses

ready for the troonpocalypse
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Someone I've known for a while has told me that she's been stalked over the past ten years by her ex. Her story doesn't change from day to day, and what she's describing is pretty consistent with a long term stalker, but there's a couple of things she's told me that are bothering me a bit.

The first isn't entirely unlikely, but it does raise some doubts:

Several years back the stalking escalated. She was living with her daughter and a couple of nephews. The nephews were schizophrenics who self medicated with a number of illegal substances, and she drew a carer's pension as she tried to take care of them. At one point she decided to get a security system put in, one of those with facial recognition software. She had trouble configuring it, so the alarm went off anytime someone tripped the sensors. One day as she was looking back over the footage when she saw a weird shadow. It looked like someone was being reflected in a window. She and her daughter went over it, and they eventually worked out that there was someone in the house by following the reflections, but the main footage showed no one, implying that it'd been substituted with older, similar footage. At this point she realised that the alarm wasn't being tripped anymore, even though she'd still not got the facial recognition software up. After she gave up on her nephews, she moved into her own place, installed the security cameras, and actually saw an intruder wandering around as she slept and even woke up that morning, taking his own leisurely time to vacate the premises, and decided to move house up north sharpish.

The second I have definite doubts about.

Her ex has been stalking her online ever since he turned into a stalker. On a regular basis she finds that he's logged into her bank account, which in itself isn't entirely unlikely, but he always has the new passwords etc, even though she's flat out nuked a number of phones and computers trying to escape any key counting software that he keeps installing. So that leads into the part where it really doesn't add up for me:

Apparently, every single phone she's ever had has been hacked into even though she's changed numbers and carriers many times. Her latest drama has been that she recently broke up with her recent boyfriend. Since she'd bought a car from him she needed to finalise the payment, but it went dead silent on his end, no texts, no calls, nothing. After a week went by, she rang him to ask what was going on, and he told her that he'd been calling her and texting her constantly but she'd never replied. All of her other calls and messages she was getting fine, and it was only the ones from her recent ex that was disappearing into the void.

Tl;dr

1. Scary stalker ex keeps getting access to her bank accounts

2. Scary stalker ex has hacked into her home security system and did some sophisticated footage altering

3. Scary stalker ex has hacked into multiple mobile phone numbers and carriers, and can intercept calls and texts without either her or the carrier knowing about it.

According to the movies this is all possible, but how good would you have to be to hack into a phone carrier and lurk unnoticed for a week or even longer?
 

Bum Driller

Cultural Appropriator & Cowboy Chemist
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I'm not an expert, but none of this sounds very credible when you think about it. First off, I'm quite sure that if someone would edit a video footage, it would not result in the glitches described here(unless the editor went through the whole recording frame by frame and intentionally decided to leave the odd reflections in place, which makes no sense at all and is quite impossible to do in so short time).

About the hacking part; I don't comment on how hard it would be to do that skill-wise, but the intensity described here sounds something that is outside the resources of any singular person. Perhaps if you absolutely have nothing else to do but keep tabs on your ex and have access to some really good tech, but if you had such skills and tech, why the fuck would you waste it on harassing your ex?
 

glass_houses

ready for the troonpocalypse
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I'm not an expert, but none of this sounds very credible when you think about it. First off, I'm quite sure that if someone would edit a video footage, it would not result in the glitches described here(unless the editor went through the whole recording frame by frame and intentionally decided to leave the odd reflections in place, which makes no sense at all and is quite impossible to do in so short time).

About the hacking part; I don't comment on how hard it would be to do that skill-wise, but the intensity described here sounds something that is outside the resources of any singular person. Perhaps if you absolutely have nothing else to do but keep tabs on your ex and have access to some really good tech, but if you had such skills and tech, why the fuck would you waste it on harassing your ex?
That's what I've been thinking. If he did have these abilities, he could fuck up her life in a hell of a lot more interesting and creative ways than just deleting phone calls and text messages. He could fuck up just about anyone's life in interesting and creative ways- like the ones she cares about, for instance. Stalkers do some intense shit, but this is an international consortium level. What's thrown me is that she never changes her story. Pathological liars I've met can't keep consistent stories, but hers are word perfect every time. Really weird shit.
 
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Dr. Boe Jangles Esq.

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What's thrown me is that she never changes her story. Pathological liars I've met can't keep consistent stories, but hers are word perfect every time. Really weird shit.
I think you've oversimplified the thing.
When you boil it down, being an effective liar is just a skill, same as juggling or playing an instrument. Practice makes you better at it over time. I worked with a guy in sales who could spread the bullshit so thick we weren't sure if he knew whether or not he was lying half the time.
It sounds like you've just come across a reasonably skilled bullshitter who is trying to play some shit.

I'd advise you to tread cautiously. That's not a skill you develop by being a good person.
 

JoshPlz

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The difficulty to hack someones stuff depends a lot on how knowledgeable the targets are about good security practices, such as using separate, secure passwords, keeping their systems up to date and free of malware, not falling for phishing and social engineering etc.

Did she really change ALL of the passwords, codes and locks after her ex moved out? Could there still be monitoring software active on one of the computers or phones? Stuff like that is a lot more likely than her ex being a super mega hacker on steroids.

Some of the stuff, like the edited security footage with weird shadows could just be her being paranoid and imagining things. Which wouldn't be that surprising if some of the other stuff was true.
 
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