With the rise of hacking, it’s important to educate yourself about how to know if your phone is hacked and what to do if you’ve been hacked. Nearly 1 billion smartphones are behind on software updates and especially vulnerable to malware and hacking. But even mindful users are at risk. Some devices ship with pre-installed apps that turn out to be malware, while others unknowingly download infectious software later on.
Imagine the large amount of personal information secured in your phone, from bank accounts to social security numbers. In the wrong hands, this data can upend your life. But if you know the signs of a compromised phone, you can better protect your private information before it’s stolen.
Have you been a victim of phone hacks? Let’s find out. Here’s how to know if your phone is hacked — and what to do about it.
How to Know if Your Phone is Hacked
Spyware, otherwise known as malicious apps, are one of the most common sources of infection. Their developers don’t always have ill intent. Sometimes they don’t perform the pentest steps necessary for adequate protection and allow intruders to sneak in.
Hackers can also access your phone through public or false Wi-Fi hotspots, attached files in text messages, and even some charging stations.
Luckily, compromised smartphones tend to exhibit noticeable changes in behavior. And that means you can notice the problem early on if you’ve got a sharp eye. If you’ve ever noticed any of the symptoms below, you could be affected.
1. Sluggish Performance
Phones can slow down for plenty of reasons. Maybe you’ve downloaded a new app or your smartphone is on its last legs. In any case, a slow phone doesn’t mean you’ve been hacked.
But it could. Spyware and rogue applications can dramatically affect the performance of your smartphone. This could be because a hacker is monitoring your device or your device is being used in a phishing operation.
Whatever the case may be, it’s a good idea to take a look at your active apps and search for illegitimate programs.
2. Unsolicited Text Messages
Hackers love to hijack phones and use these corrupted devices to further spread their malware. Basically, your phone could be sending text messages to your contacts with unsafe links or attachments. And you might not even know it.
If your contacts ever ask you about an unusual message, they might not be crazy. Check your message history and see if something’s up.
3. Increased Data Consumption
Given how many smartphone users watch their data caps like hawks, this is one of the best ways to catch a hacker. After all, using your phone as a proxy to send information or mine Bitcoins requires data. If you’re using your phone as usual but hit your data cap well in advance, that’s a good sign something is amiss.
4. Unexplained Bank Transactions
You love mobile banking for its convenience. Hackers do, too. Once they get into your mobile device, they can skim your bank account information and use your card as they see fit.
It’s always a smart move to scrutinize your monthly bank statements — and an even better one to watch your bank account every other day. Strange purchases are clear-cut signs of credit card fraud or personal identity theft. This usually occurs through malware on your smartphone or PC, but in some cases it could be the result of a corporate data breach.
5. Low Battery Life
Smartphone batteries lose their charge capacity over the years. It’s not unusual to have to charge your phone more often as it grows older. But malware can also play a major role in draining your battery.
Illicit interactions such as spying on your user activity require processing power. It’s this extra processing to makes your phone work harder and battery drain faster.
If you ever notice your smartphone burning through its battery faster than the day before, take a look at your active apps.
Removing Cell Phone Hacks
Since hacking is a serious and underreported problem in the mobile world, most cybersecurity developers have created mobile versions of their desktop anti-virus software.
A mobile antivirus app should be your first step to discovering and removing malware from your phone. For a thorough sweep, use at least two different programs.
If you get the all-clear from your antivirus, that doesn’t mean you’re free of infection. Some malware can stay under the radar, especially if it’s a day-one exploit.
Always check your installed apps if you suspect a virus is at play. If you see anything suspicious, look up the program to discover if it’s legitimate or not.
Uninstall anything that seems peculiar. Why keep an app on your phone if you’re not using it, anyway? You should also take this opportunity to download the latest version of your mobile OS to safeguard yourself against future attacks.
Still think there’s something wrong with your phone? Try taking it to a professional repair shop to discover the root cause of any strange phone behavior.
If you’re really paranoid, you can always restore your smartphone to its factory settings to eliminate any malware you may have picked up. Be sure to update your online accounts if you were infected.
Improve Your Mobile Device Security
Remember that smartphones can be just as vulnerable as personal computers. Seeing as people rely so heavily on their mobile devices nowadays, allowing a hacker to sneak in can cause untold damage.
Hence, educate yourself about cybersecurity trends & always have an antivirus app installed.
If you notice your phone behaving strangely or using more data than before then it’s safe to consider the possibility that your phone might have been hacked.
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