10 Clear Signs That Your Phone Was Hacked

Remesh Ramachandran
Nov 6, 2018 · 5 min read

Mobile phones are very instrumental when it comes to instant communication. This is because of the instant and fast messaging and calls connecting people to different parts of the world. This however may not be as safe and secure as the cell providers usually want us to believe. This is because, cell phones are vulnerable to attackers through social engineering, phishing or other means. Mobile phones provide intruders with access to record, track or even manipulate sensitive data or information in case they get access to our phones. This might be quite dangerous to us. Below are some of the signs that your phone has been hacked.

How Do They Get Access?

Spy apps on your phone

Smartphone spying has become common in the mobile technology era. People can become victim of illegal and unwanted use of spying programs. Cell phone spy software programs are becoming popular and the victims get monitored even without their knowledge. To be a victim of regular spy software apps, the attackers must get access to your cell phone or device to physically install the program.

The first and foremost thing that can be done to prevent spy apps to be installed in your phone is to never let anyone else have your phone. Make it password protected and lock the phone. Make sure to use a security application and always use anti-malware tool to secure your device from any malicious third-party applications which includes spyware apps as well.

Unprotected Wi-Fi networks

When in public do not automatically connect to Wi-Fi networks. People like using free WI-FI in airports or hotels. Despite the cost saving, these WI-FI might be risky. Users should also avoid suspicious Wi-Fi networks advertised for free and opt for secure networks probably with a password. Using public networks to share information or make payments may expose critical information to hackers and get your privacy at risk.

Public USB Port Charging

A USB can be used to charge and transfer data from a phone to a computer. The concept of juice jacking involves transferring malicious software using a USB connection to a phone through a device concealed in a public charging system or a computer. USB charging ports in public places can be utilized to install malware. Depending on a phone’s security systems, different phones reveal different details when connected to a computer. Some of the information that can be disclosed include electronic chip ID, device name and serial number among others. Hackers can steal data or take control of your device after installing the malware.

Users should use power-only USB cable that does not have data transfer capability. Also, you can power off your device when charging in case you do not have power-only USB cable or carry your own power bank. Users have also been warned against connecting their smartphones to entertainment systems either through a USB or a Bluetooth because the dashboard software can import sensitive data.

Social Engineering

The most common social engineering approach employed by mobile device malware involves posing as an authorized application. This technique spreads malware in the form of trojan programs, and has been employed by malicious software on other platforms for a long time.

Intruders deceive users to perform activities like downloading attachments or clicking links on emails that automatically install malware to your phone. Hackers can trick you by sending a link that has your bank statement or a link to win prizes. It is advisable to avoid these tricks because intruders use the malware to secretly access sensitive data. Users should ensure that they download attachments or click links in emails from reliable sources.

Signs that your phone has been hacked

New applications

Finding new apps on your phone that you did not install yourself. To identify these kinds of applications, research about their reviews and if they have bad reviews, uninstall them. Also, if you notice an application that was not pre-installed by the manufacturer or you did not install, uninstall them.

Applications stop working

If all of a sudden, some applications that were running well stop working, there is a high possibility that your phone has been hacked. This might be caused by viruses. Therefore, run an antivirus to eliminate the problem.

Short battery life

Hackers sometimes install applications that run in the background. These applications might lead to short battery life. Apps running in the background may drain the power of your phone leading to short battery life. Checking running apps and clearing cashed data may be of assistance in case you notice unusual activity.

Slow operating speed

A sudden decline in the phone operation speed for example booting slower than usual might signify a hacked phone. Installed malware might strain your phone by running in the background thus performing slower on normal tasks. Noticing this should not be mistaken for aging but should also be an eyebrow raiser to suspicious activity. The malware secretly transfers data from your phone thus affecting its speed.

Phone gets warm even without use.

When your phone gets warm, this is a pointer that it is being overworked. If you are not the one running the application; this means that an application is running in the background and overworking the phone.

Unknown phone numbers appearing in your recent calls.

New phone numbers might appear in your recent call logs. These calls will cost you as hackers use your phone as a proxy to make expensive international calls. Hackers can also use you phone to call companies which charge these expensive calls.

Phone rebooting itself

Other abnormal activity such as Phone rebooting itself or dialling app numbers or opening applications can be a sign your phone is trying to fight off viruses or hackers thus leading to the abnormal activity.

Your phone is sending strange messages.

If your friends complain that they are receiving messages and you did not send those messages, there is a possibility that you have been hacked. Also, watch out for strange text messages in your inbox or email.

Mobile data usage increase.

If you observe an abnormal increase in data usage, some apps maybe using this data bandwidth to perform other activities apart from the normal activities. To identify these applications, track application data usage to identify the one that drains data from your phone and track down their activities.

Unexpected pop ups

Pop ups are appearing randomly, these include gambling games like spin the wheel to win. Do not follow these instructions as they will expose you to more harm.

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