Viral video sparks WiFi security debate: ghost touch or hacking?

Is your phone possessed or just glitching? Decoding the mystery of ghost touches

At a glance

  • A video has gone viral, showing a phone apparently operating on its own after connecting to a public WiFi network, which raised concerns about public WiFi security.

  • "Ghost touch" is a phenomenon where a phone's screen registers touches that the user didn't make. This can be due to various reasons like faulty digitizers, hardware issues, outdated software, or external factors like dirt and overheating.

  • If someone experiences a ghost touch, they can try several solutions: restarting the phone, removing screen protectors, cleaning the screen, updating the software, performing a factory reset, or seeking professional repair.

  • The video reignited the debate about the inherent risks of using public WiFi networks. These networks can lack proper security, making it easy for hackers to intercept transmitted data, particularly during sensitive operations like online shopping or accessing bank accounts.

A video that recently went viral on social media is raising alarms about the potential dangers of using public WiFi. The footage shows a phone that seems to operate on its own, tapping and inputting touches without any manual intervention from its owner.

The video's narrator claims that the erratic behavior began after connecting the device to a public WiFi network. The implication is that the phone may have been hacked, with some users who saw the video suggesting that a malicious entity might be controlling the device remotely.

However, I believe that there is a possibility that the phenomenon may actually be a case of "ghost touch." I have experienced this before, and the experience was scary as I thought a hacker was remotely controlling my phone.

Ghost touch is a problem that occurs when your phone screen registers touches that you didn't initiate. This can cause your phone to open apps by itself, randomly tap on buttons, or even scroll through pages without you touching them.

There are a few possible causes of this problem. The most common cause of ghost touch is a faulty digitizer. The digitizer is the part of the phone that detects your touch inputs. If damaged, it can register touches you didn't make. Other hardware problems that can cause ghost touch include a cracked screen, a loose connector, or a bad battery.

In some cases, ghost touch can be caused by a software problem. This is more common on older phones or phones that still need to be updated to the latest software. Software problems can be fixed with a software update or factory resetting your phone.

If dirt or debris is under your phone's screen, it can cause a ghost touch. This is especially common if you have a screen protector. Make sure to regularly clean your phone's screen with a soft, damp cloth.

If your phone overheats, it can cause the digitizer to malfunction and register ghost touches. Please avoid using your phone in hot environments or while charging it.

If you are experiencing ghost touch, there are a few things you can try to fix it:

  • Restart your phone. This may fix the problem if a software glitch causes it.
  • Remove your screen protector. If you have a screen protector, try removing it to see if that fixes the problem.
  • Clean your phone's screen. Use a soft, damp cloth to clean your phone's screen and remove dirt or debris.
  • Update your phone's software. If your phone is not up to date, it may have a software problem that is causing ghost touch.
  • Factory reset your phone. This will erase all your data but may fix the ghost touch problem.
  • Take your phone to a service center. If you have tried all of the above and are still experiencing ghost touch, it may be a hardware problem requiring professional repair.


Back to the viral video. Regardless of the exact nature of the phone's erratic behavior, the viral video has ignited a renewed conversation about the inherent risks of connecting to public WiFi networks. I have been giving warnings in the past about the vulnerabilities of public networks, especially when conducting financial or sensitive transactions.

Public WiFi networks often lack adequate security measures, leaving them more susceptible to breaches and making connected devices potential targets for hackers. Malicious entities can easily intercept data transmitted over unsecured networks. As a result, using public WiFi for tasks like online shopping, accessing bank accounts, or even checking emails can expose users to significant risks.

If you need to use public WiFi, here are the things that you need to consider doing:

Using a VPN: Virtual Private Networks encrypt data, making it more difficult for hackers to intercept sensitive information.

Turning off sharing: Make sure to disable file and printer sharing in the device settings.

Forget the network afterward: Ensure your device doesn't automatically connect to the network in the future.

Always visit secure websites: Ensure that the sites you visit start with 'https' rather than 'HTTP'.

Use Multi-Factor Authentication: Enable MFA for accounts to add an additional layer of security.

While the viral video's claim remains a subject of debate, its broader message resonates with established cybersecurity guidelines. Regardless of whether the depicted incident is a result of hacking or a hardware malfunction, the potential risks of public WiFi should not be underestimated.