Can you imagine spending a day without your phone and with no access to Facebook or Twitter? No, right? Phones were once just a means of communication, but they’ve turned into something far more important that we’ve ever expected.
What’s more, we don’t use phones just to talk. We download apps, play games, chat with our friends. It’s like having a mini computer, which you can carry around with you. But computers get hacked, don’t they? The same goes for smartphones or even regular ones.
Did you know that your phone might be hacked? Most people don’t employ the same strict safety measures when it comes to phones. If you think about it, protecting your phone might be even more important than protecting your laptop. Inside your mobile, hackers can find information about your contacts, read your text messages, and steal personal data.
Even if you don’t have anything to hide, allowing someone to snoop around is not a smart idea. Imagine what a malicious hacker can do with your personal information or access to your bank account! The worst thing is that your smartphone might be already hacked and you’re not the wiser.
Don’t worry. Today I’m going to talk about 15 signs on how to tell if your phone is hacked and offer you solutions. Keep on ready!
How does a hacker hack your phone?
Let’s first answer the question spinning in everybody’s mind. How could your phone get hacked? It’s far simpler than you think, and the attack might come from unexpected sources. Here are five ways hackers might use to breach your phone:
1. Someone takes possession of your mobile
If you tend to leave your phone unattended at cafes, restaurants, or workplaces, someone might take advantage of your negligent. All he would need is a couple of minutes to install spy apps, which are designed to track keep tabs on you. There are more than you can imagine, for example, mSPY, Spy Phone App, or Spyera.
Do you want the bad news? These apps record everything from incoming calls to text messages, GPS location, and social media activities. The creators say that the target audience is parents who want to monitor their child or business directors who want to keep an eye on the staff. In reality, these apps are used for nothing good.
Your solution here would be to password-protect your phone so that only you can unlock it. Don’t use a simple password or easy to guess one. A combination of numbers, capital letters, and small letters is your best bet.
2. Public Wi-Fi
Do you often connect to public Wi-Fi? I’m guessing the answer is yes. But you might not know the dangers. When you connect to unencrypted Wi-Fi, you’re exposing everything you’re doing to third parties, who might have hacked the Net or created the Wi-Fi to gather information of unsuspecting people.
By visiting your bank account or social media, you’re giving your username and password unintentionally to anyone who might have hacked the network. Try to avoid connecting to any public Wi-Fi and never enter any sensitive information that might get stolen.
3. Vulnerability in the phone network
Signaling System No 7, the communication protocol for mobile networks, has a vulnerability, which has been discovered in recent years. Hackers might exploit it to read your messages, listen to your calls, or track where you are. But, unless you’re a celebrity, it’s nothing to worry about too much.
4. Phishing messages
One other common method of phone hacking is phishing messages that prompt you to open a link. It might be from your friends, mobile operator, or bank. If you click on the link, you’ll probably download a malicious app on your phone that will scrape your information. The safest course of action is to ignore such messages and delete them as soon as possible
5. USB chargers
Most would not think twice before plugging the smartphone into a computer or a public charger. What’s the worst that could happen, after all? Well, you can get hacked. I know that it sounds unbelievable, but it’s very true.
When you connect your mobile to a computer, the two devices start to exchange data. Since phones have different security settings, they share different amount of information with the connected device. In this way, hackers might get the device name, serial number, operating system, files, and more.
In addition to this, researchers from Kaspersky Lab, one of the leading organization in anti-virus protection, discovered that they could install malicious apps on your phone via a USB cable and a computer.
So, think twice before you connect your phone to an unknown computer or use a public charger.
What do you need to protect your phone?
As you can see, your phone is vulnerable, and there are a couple of things you’ll need to keep it out of danger:
Now, let’s see how you can find out if your phone is hacked and what you can do to prevent it.
15 Clear Signs Your Phone Was Hacked
#1 Look for strange apps
Has a new application appeared on your phone and you don’t remember installing it? You might have a problem, then. While manufacturers might install apps while updating the software, you must always check any unusual apps that suddenly appear on your screen. It might be a spy app, malware, or ransomware.
The fastest way to do that is to Google the name and find what other users have to say about it to determine if it’s legitimate. If you can’t find information about it, it’s a clear indication that you’re dealing with something malicious.
You might also be infected with one of those “legitimate” spy apps, which keep tabs on you. If your suspicions are confirmed, uninstall the app as quickly as possible, and install a legitimate antivirus for mobiles.
#2 Apps that aren’t working properly
An app that works slowly or crashed too often might signal that something is interfering with its functions. If you haven’t updated it recently or if you install/reinstall it, and the problems continue, it’s a cause for concern.
You might also do some research online to check if other users are experiencing the same problem or it’s only you. Then you must do a scan for malware to determine if you’re infected.
#3 Battery drains quickly
Do you feel like your battery doesn’t last as much as it used to be? While it’s normal for the battery to wear out with time, sudden changes indicate a potential threat. You might have a program running in the background, which is draining the power because it’s using power to monitoring your online activity.
So, if you’re not using your phone much and your battery doesn’t last a lot, run a scan for malware to see if you’ve got reasons to worry. You can also restore faculty settings, basically wiping your phone, and installing everything anew. In case the problems persist, you might want to turn to a professional.
#4 Slow performance
Suddenly your phone is not as fast as it used to be. You have to wait for apps to start, pages to load, or you have to restart it frequently. This slow performance might not be a sign that you’re in need of a new iPhone, but a clue that you’ve been hacked.
When malicious or spying apps run in the background, they take resources, not only battery life. That’s why, if something is recording and sending information, it needs processing power, which slows the overall performance of your device. If you suspect a hacking, take a look at newly installed apps or try to run a malware scan.
#5 Hot phone
You know that your phone gets warm when you use it too much, especially if you’re playing games or talking for hours on end. Sometimes we get so familiar with the warm touch of the phone that we don’t realize we have a problem. Your phone shouldn’t be warm when you’re not using it.
If you pick it up in the morning and it feels hot to the touch, it means that there is a program running in the background. We said already that such malicious apps need processing power, which means that they keep your phone working all the time. Hence it gets hot.
Start your antivirus to determine the problem and check for new applications.
#6 Strange phone behavior
Sometimes our phone does strange things. It reboots on its own, calls people, switches off/on, you know what I’m talking about. Often it’s just a glitch in the operating system, but it could also mean that someone is keeping tabs on you or having remote access to your device.
Strange noises during phone calls also might not be due to technical reasons, but because someone is listening on the other end and recording your conversations. Immediately run a malware scan or take your phone for repair.
#7 Calls from unknown number
Has your phone bill arrived, and you have to pay twice or thrice the usual amount? Hackers might have used your smartphone to make costly international calls or send international text messages on behalf of a third party.
To confirm your suspicions, you might ask to see the phone records, especially incoming and outgoing calls. You can also check the recent call logs to see if someone has dialed unknown numbers recently.
#8 Sending strange text messages
Check the text messages you’ve sent. Are there any you haven’t written? Hackers might use your phone to send weird SMS to your family, friends or anyone in your contact book. This activity might go unnoticed until a friend complains to you, so don’t ignore such event or write it off as a joke.
The same might happen to your email account, so stay vigilant for strange activity. If your email has been compromised, quickly reset the password but from an uninfected device. Then notify your contacts not to open any emails sent by you recently. Also, don’t open any suspicious emails or SMS or click on any links.
#9 You can’t turn off your phone
In case you can’t switch off your smartphone, it might be more than a simple glitch in the OS. Hackers might have taken control over it, especially if apps start opening on their own or your level of brightness changes. Remember, any sudden change in your device is a sign that something is going on. It might be just a malfunction, but it could also be hackers.
#10 Websites look different
Have the websites you frequently visit changed their appearance in the browser? Malicious apps, which stand between your browser and the Internet, might affect how the website’s look. These apps will monitor what you’re doing online and record your activity.
In addition to this, you should double-check whether you have the correct online address. You might have been redirected to a phishing site, which aims to steal your username and password. These sites are excellent copies of the original, so if you’re not careful, you might get fooled.
#11 Mobile data increase
To determine if your phone is hacked, take a look at your mobile data monitoring app. A sudden, unexplained rise in mobile data is a clear warning sign that something worth investigating is happening. Moreover, you might be charged extra if you exceed your monthly limit of mobile usage. To avoid such problems, you can set a limit after which mobile data will turn off on its own.
Also, take a look how much data your apps are using. A new application eating tons of mobile data is very likely malicious and doing things you would not like, for example, tracking your location or reading your text message. In such cases, simply delete the app as soon as possible.
Do you know these pop-ups that ask you to click here to “claim your new iPhone”? These banners are usually the result of a malicious application that tries to tempt you to do something. You might also see them on your laptop if you don’t have a good antivirus program. The important thing is that you mustn’t “click” on anything or provide sensitive information, no matter what they’re offering.
#13 Your emails are blocked
If your friends and colleagues are not receiving emails from you, something might be amiss. When hackers take control over your email, they relay it through unauthorized servers. That’s why your emails get blocked by spam filters. Run an antivirus program and change your email password.
#14 Your calls get interrupted
A dropped call or the inability to make calls even when you have a strong signal might be a sign of a breach. In most cases, it’s due to technical problems, but you should be on your guard and investigate matters if it turns into a frequent event. Also keep an eye for strange noises, which might mean that you’re not alone.
#15 A change in settings
Going through your setting and noticing changes that you didn’t make, especially those related to security, should raise the red flag. Some spying apps might change your settings to allow hackers to spy you through your camera or gain access to your contacts.
Tips for keeping your phone safe from hackers
Getting hacked is not pleasant. So to avoid worrying about what information hackers might have stolen or how to find out who hacked your phone, here are some tips to protect your phone:
Remember that hackers get smarter and smarter in their attempts to steal information and infiltrate devices, so be very careful when you’re downloading or installing an app.
So what do you think about these 15 tips how to find out that your phone is hacked? Has your phone ever been compromised? How did you deal with it? Share in the comments.