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Phones are an easy target for hackers to steal personal information or track your activities. They want to look out for suspicious activities on your phone and reset your phone if you sense it has been compromised. As we use our phones to perform most of our tasks online, our privacy and data are at great risk. Fraudsters can compromise your phone’s security to track your activities or extract confidential data from your device that can be sold or held to draw out ransom from the victim or find other ways to monetize it.
Something that is happening is not right, maybe your phone is losing its charge way too quickly. Or one day it suddenly starts turning itself off and on again. Perhaps it’s running hot, so hot it’s hard to hold. Likewise, you might see outgoing calls that you never dialed or stranger spikes in your data usage. Signs like these could mean that your smartphone has been hacked. Several potential signs of a smartphone getting hacked can be a technical issue, at least on the surface.
Yet the fact is that these issues may be a symptom of a deeper problem, such as malware installed on your smartphone. Malware can eat up system resources or conflict with other apps and your operating system, all of which can cause your phone to act sluggishly or erratically. Yet, in a way, that is good news. Because malware can run inefficiently on your phone and create hiccups both large and small, it can tip you off to its presence.
What Is Phone Hacking?
Phone hacking involves any method where someone forces access to your phone or its communications. This can range from advanced security breaches to simply listening in on unsecured internet connections. It can also involve physical theft of your phone and forcibly hacking into it via methods like brute force. Phone hacking can happen to all kinds of phones, including Androids and iPhones. Since anyone can be vulnerable to phone hacking.
Cybercriminals may hack your phone to spy on you, steal your money, or target your contacts with phishing scams. Hackers can spy on you and gain access to your most confidential information by tapping your mobile phone, that is why the security of your cell phone is paramount. Fortunately, you can detect if hackers are targeting your phone.
How To Know If Your Phone Is Hacked?
If your Android phone is slow, shows pop-ups, or freezes it might have been hacked. Following are the ways to check if your phone is hacked and what to do next.
Poor Battery Life Or Extreme Battery Usage:
Even if you don’t see clear signs of suspicious activity, something malicious can still happen behind the scenes. One of the best ways to see if your phone has been hacked is to check your battery usage. If your phone is hot for no reason, something could be running in the background while the screen is off.
Some of the most advanced malware can still leave traces on your phone or tablet, so start by checking the battery usage menu. If your battery is constantly low, and you find yourself wondering, “Is my phone hacked?” then perform the below checks.
Open settings > battery > battery usage and look for an unknown app or anything unusual.
This does not happen too often because of the Google Play Protect system in Android that automatically warns you of existing malware-infected apps. We all use our phones differently, but if you notice an extremely severe battery drain, then that is a concern. You can reboot your phone; force close the suspect app or if possible than completely uninstall the app.
Check For Random Unwanted App Install:
Another tell-tale sign is that if you see random apps installed on your phone. These are the apps that you did not install by yourself. Malicious apps or sites can install a program on your phone and send sensitive information back to a third party. Sometimes, this program won’t use much battery life, but it can still cause harm and drain your data. If you come across such a program, then here is how to get rid of it.
Navigate to Settings > Apps> All apps and scroll through the list of apps on your phone. Find anything you don’t want, tap it, and select uninstall.
You should only uninstall apps that look suspicious and you know are not important. If you start uninstalling random stuff, you could cause more harm than good and break your phone’s vital components. There are many apps that come pre-installed by phone manufacturers and are harmless.
Unusually High Data Usage:
Many people have unlimited data plans, so they don’t look at the Data usage menu in settings. But if you’re Android is acting up, and you want to check if your phone is hacked, it’s another easy way to check for issues. Follow the below-given steps to check your phone’s data usage.
- Navigate to settings > network and internet.
- Select your preferred SIM.
- Scroll down a bit and tap on App data usage.
YouTube, Spotify, and other streaming services regularly use data. But if another app is used way too much, then something is not right. No random app should use 5GB in a given month, so go and look for anything out of place here.
Watch For Weird POP-UPS And ADS:
Pop-ups come in various shapes and sizes, randomly and from all types of websites. We have learned to deal with them, and most of the time it’s nothing more than an ad covering content. Sometimes though, they can be a headache for you and cause you trouble. Keep an eye out for weird pop-ups or ads that look funny.
You should never click on them. Google made several new changes in the past few years to avoid occurrences like this, especially in Google Chrome on Android, but it still happens occasionally. Usually, it will make your phone vibrate as pop-ups appear over and over. Sometimes, your screen will even flash.
But it is completely fake and does not tap on the “Remove Virus Now” button. Close your entire web browser and reboot your smartphone instead. Never submit any personal information in an input field you are not familiar with. You should avoid entering your credit card or password details on websites that look suspicious at first glance.
Apps And Phones Keep Crashing:
Another sign that your Android phone may be hacked is if it keeps crashing. Often, Android phones will start acting weird, such as opening apps for no reason, or your phone will be slow or constantly crash. Sometimes, these problems arise because of a virus.
What Do You Do If You Are Worried That Your Phone Has Been Hacked?
Install and run security software on your smartphone if you have not already. From there delete extra apps, delete risky texts and then run your mobile security software again.
If you still have issues, wiping and restoring your phone is an option. Provided you have your photos, contacts, and other vital info backed up in the cloud, it is a relatively straightforward process. A quick search online can show how to wipe and restore your model phone.
Lastly, check your accounts and your credits to see if any unauthorized purchases have been made. If so, you can go through the process of freezing those accounts and getting new cards and credentials issued. Further, update your passwords for your accounts with a password that is strong and unique.
Tips To Prevent Your Phone From Being Hacked:
While there are several ways a hacker can get into your phone and steal personal and critical information. Here are a few tips to keep that from happening.
Use Comprehensive Online Protection Software On Your Phone:
Over the years we have gotten into the good habit of using this on our computers and laptops. Not so much. Installing online protection on your smartphone gives you the first line of defense against attacks, plus several additional security features mentioned below.
Update Your Phone And Its Apps:
Aside from installing security software, keeping current with updates is a primary way to keep you and your phone safe. Updates can fix vulnerabilities that cyber criminals rely on to pull off their malware-based attacks. Additionally, those updates can help keep your phone and apps running smoothly while also introducing new, helpful features.
Stay Safer On The Go With A VPN:
One way that crooks can hack their way into your phone is via public Wi-Fi, such as at airports, hotels, and even libraries. These networks are public, meaning that your activities are exposed to others on the network like your banking, your password usage, all of it. one way to make a public network private is with a VPN, which can keep you and all you do protect from others on that Wi-Fi hotspot.
Use A Password Manager:
Strong, unique passwords offer another primary line of defense. Yet with all the accounts we have floating around, juggling dozens of strong and unique passwords can feel like a task. Comprehensive security software such as McAfee Total Protection will include one.
Lock Your Sim Card:
Just as you can lock your phone, you can also lock the SIM card that is used to identify you, the owner, and to connect you to your cellular network. Locking it keeps your phone from being used on any other network than yours. If you own an iPhone, you can lock it by following these simple directions.
Steer Clear Of Third-Party Apps Stores:
Google Play and Apple Store have measures in place to review and vet apps to help ensure that they are safe and secure. Third-party sites may not have that process in place. In fact, some third-party sites may intentionally host malicious apps as part of a broader scam. Both Google and Apple are quick to remove malicious apps once discovered, making their stores that much safer.
How Your Phone Can Be Hacked?
There are many ways to hack your phone. Some don’t even require advanced technology.
Sim Swap Attack:
By using this attack, hackers can transfer your phone number to their own SIM card and take over your accounts.
Spyware that collects your data. Some spy apps are pretty easy to get hold of and can be used by a person without advanced IT knowledge. This lets them remotely monitor your phone activities. A person can install such an app by getting direct access to a mobile device.
A USB cable or charger lead could be used to hack your device. When a phone is connected to another device with a USB cable, to a laptop. That means a computer infected with malware or viruses could automatically infect your phone if you connect the two.
Public WI-FI Networks:
You might get malware via public Wi-Fi networks or charging stations. Hackers can set up fake Wi-Fi networks, called evil twin networks, to redirect you to malicious websites or steal data via a USB cable at a charging station.
You could be targeted with phishing messages, emails, or texts that contain malicious links to install malware and snatch your data.
Restoring Your Android Phone To Its Factory Settings
- For Android users, it’s important to back up anything essential before restoring your Android to factory settings.
- Open settings
- Go to general management
- Tap on reset
- Press on factory data reset
- Tap reset
If you know your phone has been hacked, the worse thing you can do is to ignore it, it won’t just mean your data and accounts are compromised, but it could also lead to expensive phone bills and it could affect your contacts as well. As soon as you have detected someone is hacking or trying to hack your phone, you should deal with it immediately and secure your phone by any possible method that suits you in an emergency.