Viewing 29 posts - 1 through 29 (of 29 total)
  • Hacking into an Android phone (of deceased family member)
  • Premier Icon bob_summers
    Full Member

    Wondering if anyone would know how to brute force into a locked Android phone (Huawei if that matters)? It belonged to my partner’s late sister in law, and her brother needs to get into it to retrieve banking details, bills etc as she effectively ran the household and he’s a technical numpty…

    I know how to get photos off it with photorec, but no idea how to do what they’re asking or even if it’s possible. If it helps, we have managed to log into her laptop and a gmail session was still open, which is helpful but afaik all it lets us do is remote-wipe the phone.

    Somebody must have had to do this at some point surely?

    Premier Icon scaredypants
    Full Member

    what happens if you tell the phone you’ve forgotten your password ?
    Might it allow a reset via the gmail ?

    Premier Icon grizedaleforest
    Full Member

    Older Android phones had a feature whereby you could reset a pin via the associated Google account. Newer phones and I think you’re stuck. If you’ve been able to get into the associated Gmail account you can get into all Google app data…might that gave everything you’re looking for?

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Full Member

    If you can somehow hack into the banking software, please let us know what bank it is.

    So we can avoid it!

    Get in touch with the bank.

    Premier Icon bob_summers
    Full Member

    I did wonder what happens if you forget the screen unlock pin/pattern?

    I’ve rung Movistar and Huawei and neither reckon it’s possible but what happens say if your child uses up your 3 attempts to unlock the screen?

    I can’t try now as the battery has gone flat and it’s the only bloody cable type I don’t have 🙁

    Premier Icon Jamze
    Full Member

    TBH you’ll struggle. Recent smartphones are pretty watertight. Rather than trying to get into the phone, maybe better to ring the bank, utilities etc. and explain the situation. From experience, they’re usually excellent.

    Premier Icon Jamze
    Full Member

    I did wonder what happens if you forget the screen unlock pin/pattern?

    I’ve rung Movistar and Huawei and neither reckon it’s possible but what happens say if your child uses up your 3 attempts to unlock the screen?

    If you’ve forgotten the PIN then the usual way is factory reset the phone, log in with your Google account and restore your last phone backup – but you need the Google username and password to do that. Plus second factor if that’s enabled.

    If you’ve put too many incorrect PINs in, it usually locks for an increasing period, then gives you another go.

    Premier Icon Greybeard
    Full Member

    If you tap ‘forgot pattern’ or ‘forgot PIN’ I think it gives you the chance to enter Google id and password to unlock, I don’t think it sends a password reset to gmail. Unfortunately I don’t think access to her gmail allows you to see or change her Google password. Have you checked whether the browser has it saved?

    Premier Icon Flaperon
    Free Member

    Be very wary of going down the “forgotten password” road. There’s an excellent chance it will invalidate your current Gmail session.

    Even searching around on the security and privacy settings may trigger a request to enter a password.

    If she has a backup email address (you actually need one to set up a Google account, I think) that you can access this would help if you get locked out.

    Possibly worth having a hunt around in the Documents folder on the laptop to see if the password is saved in a list there.

    Edit: just a thought but this isn’t uncommon. Talk to the bank, they’ll either release funds or add an appropriate person to the online banking.

    Premier Icon bruneep
    Full Member

    It belonged to my partner’s late sister in law, and her brother needs to get into it to retrieve banking details, bills etc

    I’m dubious about this reason there are protocols to go through with banks etc with a deceased person and to be fair all the places I dealt with very very good apart from…… DVLA

    Premier Icon Drac
    Full Member

    Her brother goes to the bank with all the correct paperwork and they will assist legally.

    Premier Icon squirrelking
    Free Member

    Yup, they need to go to the bank. Its a pain in the arse and slow but it gets the job done.

    I’m seriously putting thought into this for my own affairs though, unravelling someone’s life and shutting it down is difficult enough without the extra security thrown on top.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Full Member

    There’s two things here.

    Firstly, the thing with security is, well, clue’s in the name. Do you want things to be secure except when it’s inconvenient?

    Secondly,

    her brother needs to get into it to retrieve banking details, bills etc

    This is horseshit of the highest order. Her brother needs to contact the various banks and utilities to sort out the situation; he needs to get into her phone to spy on her text messages, WhatsApp and Facebook. There is nothing on her phone that he needs in order to sort out her / his affairs.

    A fact that, giving him the benefit of the doubt, a ‘technical numpty’ may not be aware of.

    Somebody must have had to do this at some point surely?

    Why?

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Full Member

    … Three things.

    Thirdly,

    If she’d wanted him to have her password, or whatever other details are on her phone, he’d already know it.

    It’s a monumentally unlikely scenario, but if someone were attempting to circumvent my security posthumously I’d be mortified. I’ve nothing to hide personally, but I wouldn’t want anyone sniffing through every conversation I’ve ever had in the last 30 years even if only for the protection of people who have placed their confidence in me over the years. There’s candidly personal stuff shared by other people in my message history.

    Triggering a remote wipe of the device is the best thing you can do right now if you care at all about her.

    Premier Icon poly
    Free Member

    Cougar,

    I think that’s probably unnecessarily vitreolic towards someone who is probably at least in a state of emotional distress. Your points may well be valid to some extent but having mopped up some of the chaos left after someone relatively young suddenly died I can assure you I had no interest in digging through personal conversations – but having access to their phone provided a number of useful pieces of information:

    – I knew which banks, credit cards, and utility companies to contact. In this day of paper free statements etc you need somewhere to start.
    – I had account numbers/references to quote on the comms which makes for a far quicker response by the recipient.
    – I could contact people to let them know the person had died, avoiding their spouse dealing with dozens of messages from random folk.
    – I could close various accounts/services to avoid any future hack/spam/identity fraud crap that might come from finding a real account any hijacking it.

    If you have the gmail account you are a long way towards what is needed. BUT google security is pretty good – if it sees something suspicious it will want to verify the user often by sending a message to the registered phone — note this may be a text (so only needs the SIM not the phone itself); beware closing the phone account too quickly!

    If you don’t want anyone wading through your personal stuff when you are dead – then keep all your affairs in a systematic / neat order so people have account numbers, service provider names – and perhaps some estimate of what’s likely to be in the accounts/policies etc in some useful easily found format. My father in law has this and insists on reminding me about it every time he is going on holiday – I find it a little weird! Perhaps he is paranoid about protecting the privacy of everyone who has ever sent him a message? Nah, if that was the case he’d just delete sensitive data from “years ago” which clearly is no longer needed… …let’s face it a security breach when you are still alive to explain why you kept that is probably more likely than a loved one abusing the trust someone put in you.

    Premier Icon Marko
    Full Member

    Give the OP a break. Don’t shoot he messenger!

    Poly. Excellent reply.

    Premier Icon mogrim
    Full Member

    You could try asking Google:

    https://support.google.com/accounts/troubleshooter/6357590?hl=en

    Premier Icon fossy
    Full Member

    When FIL died we had to do everything via the bank even though MIL was alive. She didn’t want anything to do with managing the household. We wanted to get into FILs old iphone but gave up as it was locked (for photos only).

    All internet stuff (banking, bills etc) was handled by phoning banks etc with POA, which we did after FIL died as he passed away quite quickly.

    Premier Icon fossy
    Full Member

    I would also suggest accessing bank etc on someones phone is illegal as you are fraudulently accessing the account by using someone elses ID.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Full Member

    I think that’s probably unnecessarily vitreolic towards someone who is probably at least in a state of emotional distress.

    That genuinely didn’t occur to me (aspie brain, sorry) and if that’s the case I unreservedly apologise. I figured it was sufficiently far removed a relationship to solicit as reaction of “oh.”

    having access to their phone provided a number of useful pieces of information:

    My point stands though, there’s nothing in that list that can’t be obtained by legitimate methods rather than the deceased’s husband’s sister’s partner hacking her phone. It’s all manner of wrong.

    Bank accounts? Look in her wallet. Utilities and no paper statements? The bank will know where any direct debits were going. Contacting friends, does the husband not know all this anyway?

    If she wanted anyone to have access to her accounts they’d already have it. Digging through someone’s phone after they’ve passed away is disrespectful and, well, icky. Who knows what you might trip over accidentally, how many readers here have photos on their phone that “aren’t for public consumption” for instance?

    Premier Icon dmorts
    Full Member

    A credit report from Experian will show all of the accounts that are open in their name. Not sure if that’s a fully legitimate way of doing it though

    Premier Icon poly
    Free Member

    My point stands though, there’s nothing in that list that can’t be obtained by legitimate methods rather than the deceased’s husband’s sister’s partner hacking her phone. It’s all manner of wrong.

    Given that having the phone in your physical possession to hack it, is almost certainly going to be necessary, and the rest of the context of the phone I think your are making that a rather complex relationship and inferring something sinister when really its not. I assume from what was said this is being done at the request of the deceased’s husband.

    Bank accounts? Look in her wallet. Utilities and no paper statements? The bank will know where any direct debits were going. Contacting friends, does the husband not know all this anyway?

    Lets take me as an example. Look in my wallet and you’ll find cards for 2 accounts. Neither has the account number on it. I have another credit card I never carry around with me; I also have a bank account which has no card for it – but does have an app which would be a good clue. Once you’ve got the bank statements then you can start to unpick the utilities, but don’t expect to walk into a bank with a death certificate and walk out with a statement – it takes time; some banks are helpful, others less so (Santander I’m looking at you). In the meantime – the bank account will be frozen (they will do that as soon as you tell them of the death even if they won’t hand over the files!), so payments start bouncing. Threatening letters to the deceased start turning up (its one way to find out who you owe money to, but its not what the bereaved really need). Unless you wade really deep into my emails or historic bank records you wouldn’t realise I have some Premium Bonds either (but the NS&I app on my phone might be a clue).

    If she wanted anyone to have access to her accounts they’d already have it.

    That may depend a little on the context. If I knew I was going to die next week (and wasn’t critically ill right now) I might give my wife access to various accounts now. Equally I might wipe anything I really didn’t want her to discover (there isn’t anything). If I die suddenly in an accident, I won’t have had time to plan for that and will like most of us have left some chaos.

    Digging through someone’s phone after they’ve passed away is disrespectful and, well, icky.

    Are you married? Can you get your head round the idea that you could be that close to someone that really there are no secrets that once you are dead the other person can not know about? Really my bank statements are more sensitive to me than anything on my phone – and the bank are going to release them!

    Who knows what you might trip over accidentally, how many readers here have photos on their phone that “aren’t for public consumption” for instance?

    Whilst its possible that you might discover she’s been having an affair and the phone her husband knows about has dodgy pics of her lover on it… but if she’s that sensitive about privacy she would have kept a burner phone!!! Otherwise if the husband is asking for it – he has just asked for it to be unlocked, or he doesn’t expect their to be anything dodgy to find.

    Contacting friends, does the husband not know all this anyway?

    I could make a list of who my wife’s friends are. I guess I’d remember about 2/3rds of the people she would want me to contact. BUT I probably only know how to contact about 1/4 of them without either her phone or her email.

    Premier Icon poly
    Free Member

    A credit report from Experian will show all of the accounts that are open in their name. Not sure if that’s a fully legitimate way of doing it though

    presumably to access that you need to have the consent of the deceased? unless Experian provide a service… it would actually have been very helpful…

    Premier Icon DavidB
    Full Member

    A credit report from Experian will show all of the accounts that are open in their name. Not sure if that’s a fully legitimate way of doing it though

    It won’t show savings accounts, ISAs, investments etc..

    Premier Icon Greybeard
    Full Member

    phoning banks etc with POA, which we did after FIL died

    Phoning banks and sending them a copy of a death certificate should work, but a POA lapses when the donor dies.

    Premier Icon hooli
    Free Member

    It doesn’t answer your question but he will need to tell the bank about the death, you can use a tell all service via http://www.deathnotificationservice.co.uk

    The bad news is as soon as they find out, they will freeze all accounts until probate is sorted.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Full Member

    I think your are making that a rather complex relationship and inferring something sinister when really its not.

    I don’t think for a moment that there are ulterior motives. Rather I think it’s an unnecessary invasion of privacy.

    Lets take me as an example.

    Would having access to an unlocked phone change any of that? (Especially given that the OP already has access to her PC / email.)

    If I die suddenly in an accident, I won’t have had time to plan for that and will like most of us have left some chaos.

    Are you immortal, does the fact that you’re going to die at some point come a surprise to you? You’ve had decades to plan already.

    I’m being flippant of course but there’s a serious point here. It’s much harder to do this stuff posthumously, I’ve been wondering for a while now how to bring up the subject of Power of Attorney with my mum; drawing up my own will recently the advisor suggested my partner and I put this in place for each other now. Maybe we should all be collating our affairs now also, one of us passes away and the other has the What You Need To Know file. Seems a lot more sensible than going full Mr Robot after the fact.

    Are you married? Can you get your head round the idea that you could be that close to someone that really there are no secrets that once you are dead the other person can not know about?

    Married but estranged. And no, I can’t.

    My Internet history is older than the Web. It’s not about “secrets,” I don’t have any secrets from my current partner but I wouldn’t particularly want her to read back through conversations I was having with previous girlfriends 20 years ago. I doubt she’d want to either, no good will come of this.

    And it’s not just my “secrets,” many friends have told me many things in confidence over the years. Do you think they’d all be happy about the prospect of someone else they perhaps don’t even know reading all their dirty laundry?

    I had this exact conversation with a mate many years ago, he was admin on a system I was using at the time and my girlfriend was demanding my password because she (baselessly) suspected me of cheating; he was like “like ****, she’s not reading the messages I’ve sent you even, I’ll delete your account first.”

    This is the “I have nothing to hide” snooper’s charter argument and it’s bogus. Everyone has something to hide.

    I could make a list of who my wife’s friends are. I guess I’d remember about 2/3rds of the people she would want me to contact. BUT I probably only know how to contact about 1/4 of them without either her phone or her email.

    This is fair, and it crossed my mind also. But immediate friends would know quite quickly, Facebook and assorted other social media would cover the vast majority of other cases, with word of mouth filling in the rest. If something were to happen to my girlfriend, I don’t have her sister’s contact details. Do I a) hack her phone or b) ask her son to let his Auntie know?

    (And as above, the OP has her email.)

    Premier Icon CountZero
    Full Member

    but if she’s that sensitive about privacy she would have kept a burner phone!!!

    No, why should she, if her phone is well secured with a decent PIN? There are plenty of things on my phone I wouldn’t want to have my g/f getting access to, and everybody has secrets that they don’t let on about, and probably wouldn’t want getting out after their death, I know I do, and I wouldn’t want at least one thing getting out, for the other person involved’s peace of mind. What with the Face ID and multi-character PIN on my iPhone, about the only people with access to the means to get inside it are the FBI, and nobody is going to give enough of a damn about me to even bother trying to access it.
    My g/f has a dumb flip phone, with no security, but I don’t go poking around on it, it’s her private property, nothing to do with me.

    Premier Icon dmorts
    Full Member

    unless Experian provide a service… it would actually have been very helpful…

    I wonder if such a service is available. It would give you all outgoing bills and debts, which is what I meant by accounts.

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