Sep 16, 2022
2 weeks ago a random unrecognised phone number appeared as the "owner (admin)" on my Huawei phone in the settings under "users and accounts" I only found as I was just looking through the settings.

I was still able to use my phone as normal and had no security notifications from Google or anything...

Firstly I'm at a loss how this was done but secondly - did this person really have total control of my phone and all its contents? I'd almost feel better if it was just google services and I caught it in time :(

How can there be a different owner/admin while I'm still using my phone without me noticing?

Previously it must have been my Gmail address I guess. I've since factory reset the phone and changed all my passwords which fixed it.

Would love to hear people's technical thoughts on this.

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I should add I'd not clicked on any suspicious links anywhere I'm pretty careful with those obvious smishes etc.
Just can't understand how the owner admin account was swapped for a phone number without me noticing?

What I'd really like to know is what did that enabled them to do? Could they see my private photos on the device etc? (I never back those up to a cloud or Google drive)
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I've since checked my google account's IP activity and an address showing as being on a phone network other than my own (and the same as the perpetrator) seems to have been logging in since the start of the year - this stopped on the date and rough time of the factory reset. Seriously freaked out now.

Edit - turns out the IP address was my phone so no further clues there. The other network is owned by my network and can show up if I'm not on my WiFi and out and about. Back to the drawing board.
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as suggested by @deveon you did well by doing a factory reset and changing your passowrds. i would like to add that you set up two step verification wherever possible.

not sure what happened and that was a good catch by you.

curious, have you tried calling that number? maybe use a different phone to do it.
Yep I've gone fully security paranoid and locked everything down in every way possible now.

I did call (stupidly using my own number) and somebody answered completely obvlious to who I was. I hung up as I wasn't expecting anyone to answer.

I guess they didn't know their number was displayed for me to see (rookie mistake or sloppy job).

I've just cross referenced all the ip logins and there's a lot of correlation with me travelling but also few odd days where I was sat at home all day.

I'm really hoping that isn't connected but a totally different network provider can't be explained any other way really :(

Edit - yes it can as edited into a previous post in this thread. No clues there then.
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Ugh yeah all the IP stuff was me all along so I'm back where I started. No idea of the mechanism for a phone number to replace you as an admin of your own phone undetected and you still have access...?
It's such a mind bender as they were smart enough to do this but not enough hide the fact they did it allowing me to catch them in the act and stop it.

I really don't know what to make of that but really just want to know what that allowed them access to.

I guess the whole phone because if I clicked on the number it said (owner/admin? It wouldn't let me change it either hence the factory reset.
So with the Huawei phone under users and accounts you can be an owner, user or guest.

You are the owner by default when you initially set the phone up.

But I'm so confused as I was always the "owner" as I set the phone up from new out of the box and I remained in full control and use of my whole phone - how could someone else take over as the owner account and everything remained the same?

I wouldn't have even known if I hadn't happened to have been randomly looking through the settings :(

Somebody somehow remotely signed in and took over as the "owner" (admin) of my Huawei phone (showing as their mobile number). I couldn't delete them or swap it back so I did a factory reset.

My question is what could they do? Just add users or access files? My private photos, videos etc?

A new owner account would have to start from scratch on a new set up no? My phone was still the same with the same access for me and all my content on it still...just someone else's number saying it was the owner!

I've taken other action but I just want to know what someone else could access with that privilege?
It's just this phone number that concerns me, I set up my new phone years ago and should have always been listed as the owner/admin, there's never been any other guests or users, I've never had anyone else's sim in it :-(
Or how he was the owner instead of me on my own phone and I'm still able to use it and access everything as normal?
Well keep in mind that whatever you've ever had on the device is encrypted, so unless someone has physically used your device and accessed your files, you are safe.
Don't buy devices made in China.
Yeah I already have a replacement phone, I hadn't chosen to encrypt the content unfortunately, I also hadn't backed it up to a cloud. Really hoping they had extremely limited access not full but I guess if they were listed as the owner they could?
So those are the screens where it shows what should be you the owner as your user account for your phone. No guest or other user accounts had been created it just had that phone number listed where it should have just said "You" as in me who originally set the phone up...

Totally stumped at how this was done but the more I think about it the more it seems that did give them access to my private photos, videos etc :( just weird how we both had simultaneous access?
It was there, it's what showed when I clicked on the number, takes you to the next screen where it says admin. It said the number again with owner in brackets and admin underneath I just didn't get a screenshot of that but those other images are examples (slightly different model of phone though so mine says "signed in as" and in the example it says "current user" but it's the same thing.
aforementioned of only that number, and yes.. It is kind of default of google, you can still have more then one, just as "the real you" for friends and family and there is "reality" in cyberspace, whatever esckew it burrow.
Thanks for the reply but im not quite sure what you mean?

I and I alone should be the default user (represented as "you") I don't know this number or the person it belongs to :(

How could someone else be signed in as the current user while I'm using it?
Thanks for the reply but im not quite sure what you mean?

I and I alone should be the default user (represented as "you") I don't know this number or the person it belongs to :(

How could someone else be signed in as the current user while I'm using it?
Soo..... Maybe do a FDR, power off devic.... wait you said you did not want one? That is the only way though, relax everything is going to be backed up right?