Phone hacked? How to know if your phone is hacked!
Smartphones have become one of the most important and necessary gadgets for all adults around the world. From being a fancy piece of gadget a decade ago, smartphones have quickly become an essential piece of hardware for everyone. There are over 2 billion Android smartphone users globally and millions of iPhone users.
Phones these days are used to communicate, exchange email, media and more. We also use the phone to store private data such as personal IDs, public IDs or even work-related confidentiality files. This also means that keeping your phone safe from viruses and hackers is a must. In this guide, we’ll look at how to tell if your phone has been hacked.
In addition to that, we will also mention several methods to keep your phone safe from hackers and also what to do if your phone is unfortunately hacked. Let’s get started.
Also read: How to check battery health in Android devices
How to know if your phone is hacked
Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can identify if your phone is hacked.
1. Inappropriate pop-ups
If you get too many pop-up ads and too many inappropriate apps from third-party services, it is more likely that you have installed a malware/spyware app that pushes these kinds of pop-ups. In such cases, be careful not to click on this content as it is extremely harmful.
2. Calls and messages to people you have not initiated
When you check your call logs or SMS, you can see calls to people you may not have initiated, and SMS to senders you may not know or have not initiated. If this is the case, there is a good chance that your phone has been hacked.
3. Extremely slow performance
If your phone has been hacked then the system performance may be affected and due to this the phone may act slow and the performance will decrease by a large margin. And some apps can also open automatically without you starting it.
4. Higher than normal data usage
If your phone is hacked, some spyware uses a high amount of mobile data or Wi-Fi, which you will be able to easily manage in your phone’s settings. Be sure to check the apps with high usage and investigate or uninstall them if necessary.
5. Faster battery drain
While modern smartphones can easily last a day most of the time, it can vary based on usage. But if you are experiencing fast battery drain, make sure to check which app is consuming the most battery and investigate the same.
6. System settings are constantly changing
If your phone is hacked, it is possible that the hacker continues to mess with your phone settings. It can be as simple as brightness settings or data settings. If you notice a system behaving abnormally, your phone may be accessed remotely.
7. Unknown apps installed on the phone
Smartphones are almost useless without exciting apps. Most of us download hundreds of apps, but sometimes we can also install apps that are unlocked from unknown websites. It is good to regularly keep track of the number of apps on the phone and continue to remove the unused app.
8. Suspicious activity on social media apps
If a hacker gets access to your phone, they can use your social media accounts to take advantage of it. If there are unknown activities on your social media or email accounts connected to your phone, it may mean that the hackers have gained access and you can immediately change your password or disable it temporarily.
9. No calls or messages
If you have not received any phone calls or messages for a while, there is a good chance that the hacker has cloned your SIM card and used your SIM card
What should I do if my phone gets hacked?
If you think your smartphone has been hacked, you can follow the steps or methods below to be on the safer side. Not all methods are suitable for everyone, which means that it is better to perform all these methods one after the other to eliminate the threat.
1. Delete suspicious apps
You can go through the list of apps installed on your phone manually and check if there are any suspicious apps, you can uninstall them immediately. Sometimes installed apps will not be available in the app list, you have to check them manually in the settings.
Go to Settings > Storage > Apps and check all installed apps on your phone and uninstall suspicious or unknown apps.
2. Factory setting
Probably the best method to eliminate the hacker from the phone is to factory reset the phone, which will delete all data including photos, videos, files, etc. There is a good chance that the phone will be free of threats after a factory reset like the removes all third-party apps and services from your phone.
Check out: How to format or factory reset an Android phone
How to reset your Apple iPhone to factory settings
3. Change password
If you’ve shared your phone’s lock screen or another website/app with friends or family in the past, it’s better to get it changed as more people will have access to your phone. It is also a good practice to keep updating your password once in a while.
4. Run anti-malware applications
Although there is a built-in security feature like Google Plat Protect, sometimes some spyware can bypass it, so it’s better to scan your entire phone for threats using any anti-malware (antivirus) apps.
5. Ask contacts to ignore messages or social media activities
If your phone was hacked and the hacker has posted inappropriate messages on the social media platform or via SMS, it is better to tell them that your phone was hacked and you were out of control of your phone for a while and wherever they received it was from the hacker and not yours. Better to post a message on your timeline if it’s social media.
Also read: Pop-up blocking in Chrome: How to block (or allow) pop-ups, notification in the browser Google Chrome
How to prevent your phone from being hacked
Here are some of the tips to protect yourself from hackers.
1. Always download apps from the official store
Be it iPhone or Android, it is always recommended to download apps and games using the official store. If you download an app from an unknown website, it can be harmful and sometimes it is difficult to uninstall this type of app as well. For Android you can use the Google Play Store and for iOS there is an App Store. The Google Play Store comes with built-in security that regularly scans millions of apps and games on the platform. Although it exists other sites to install APKs on Android it is still recommended that you stick to the Play Store.
2. Change your password often
Make sure you change the password for your phone and the apps and services you use regularly. It is better to change or update the apps used at least once a year if not more often.
3. Do not tell anyone your password
It goes without saying, you should not share your passwords with anyone. Sharing your password with others can be harmful, as they will have access to everything behind your password.
4. Don’t root your phone
When you root your Android or jailbreak your iPhone, it causes serious security issues and because of that, many banking apps won’t work on your phone. Not only that, but this type of phone can also be a threat as it can be hacked.
5. Enable Find My Device
In case your phone gets hacked and stolen, there is one way to track it. On Android, make sure you’ve enabled Find My Device and turned on GPS, and the same goes for iPhones as well.
6. Enable 2FA
It’s 2022 and everyone should start taking advantage of 2FA, which adds an extra layer of security to apps and services. If you enable 2FA on apps and services, it will ask for an additional security code, which you will get on your phone or email ID after entering the password. Even the person with your password cannot access the account with your password as he/she would not have the security code. 2FA or two-factor authentication is available on popular apps like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter and more.
7. Avoid sensitive information on the phone
Make sure you don’t save your passwords on your phone in a notes app or anything similar. If someone can take a look at the notes, all your passwords will be exposed. Instead, you can use a good password manager app.
8. Install the latest updates
Smartphone manufacturers usually push critical security updates and software updates regularly, so make sure you’re using the latest version of software on your phone.
9. Lock sensitive apps
You can use a good third-party app or built-in app lock on your phone to protect your confidential files and sensitive information.
10. Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks without a VPN
Hackers can also get into your phone and get sensitive data by using a public or open WiFi network. In case you use public WiFi, make sure you use it with a good VPN, which will protect you from being attacked.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do phones get hacked?
There are many ways your phone can be hacked, hackers can gain access from an apk file or public Wi-Fi and many more methods.
Does airplane mode block hackers?
Although this is not the best method, yes, airplane mode protects against hacking in most cases as it cuts off access to Wi-Fi and mobile data on the phone.
Can Hackers See You Through Your Phone Camera?
In short, the answer is yes. There are a bunch of spyware that can compromise your device, and anyone with the right software and expertise can use your phone’s camera to spy on you.
Can hackers hack your phone by calling you?
No, it is not possible to hack via just a conversation, unless you provide the information and details they ask for.
Is there an app to see if your phone has been hacked?
Not all apps can identify all kinds of hacks and spyware, so make sure you follow the mentioned methods to check if your phone has been hacked or not.
Read also: Add me to search: How to create an identity card and add yourself to Google Search
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