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Wednesday, December 7, 2022

How To Check If Your Phone Has Been Hacked

What you should do and steps to protect yourself and your device

How To Check If Your Phone Has Been Hacked

Is your device behaving weirdly? Outgoing calls you did not make, your battery is draining out faster than usual, or your device is getting hot without reason? Maybe its time to check if your phone has been hacked!!

What Is Phone Hacking?

Phone hacking is the act of accessing a smartphone, its communications, or its data without consent. Phone hacking can range from stealing personal information to listening in on phone conversations.

Can Your Phone Be Hacked?

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Smartphones have brought all our private accounts and data into a single location. This makes our phones a very juicy target for an attacker. Hackers can gain access to our phones in several ways. Luckily most of these ways involve action from our part, which we can avoid.

What Could We Do That Would Cause Our Phone To Get Hacked?

Downloaded a malicious application

Only select your applications from the Google Play Store or the Apple Store.

You should also confirm that the developer listed for the app is correct. For example, the developer for the Gmail app should only be listed as Google LLC.

And lastly, read the app reviews. The majority of the reviews should be positive.

Clicked on a malicious link

If you receive an email or text from a sender you don’t know, avoid clicking any included links or downloading any attachments. There’s a chance they may include malware. The same goes for links on webpages.

Used unsecured public WiFi

Using your phone to browse on public Wi-Fi can increase the chances of your phone being vulnerable to hacking. Malicious actors may also be on the same network as you but not for the same reason as you…

Signs Of A Potentially Hacked Phone

How To Check If Your Phone Has Been Hacked

Performance Issues

If your phone shows sluggish performance like crashing of apps, freezing of the screen and unexpected restarts, it is a sign of a hacked device.

Your Device Is Getting Hot

Malware or mining apps running in the background can burn extra computing power (and data). Aside from sapping performance, malware and mining apps can cause your phone to run hot or even overheat. 

Battery Performance Degradation

Watch your battery performance. If it is draining at an alarming rate, take note.

High Data Usage

Irregular spikes of your data usage can also be a sign. You can see the history of data usage on most devices. There you will notice any sudden changes in the data usage.

Unknown Applications

Do you see applications installed on your phone which you did not download yourself? Maybe it is the work of a hacker.

Screen Pop-Ups

Pop-Ups which do not belong to system or to any of the applications you know, may be a sign of a hacked device.

Unfamiliar Calls, Texts or Contacts

Do you see calls or text messages you did not make? This is a sign of a hacked device. Be careful, since there could be calls to premium-rate numbers leading to extra charges on your phone bills.

What To Do If Your Phone Has Been Hacked

Restore the Device

Although resetting your device may be an overkill to resolve the issue, it is the most effective way to ensure that malware has been removed from the device. Make sure you backup all your settings, contacts, photos, videos, notes etc. before you reset the device.

Reset your Passwords

Reset your account passwords. You never know if the attacker has gained access to any of your account passwords. Change them to a strong password you haven’t used before. This includes login credentials for your social media accounts, online banking portals, cloud sharing services, and anything else connected to your phone. Better safe than sorry.

Delete Unrecognized Applications

Review all your apps and check for anything unfamiliar. Malware can be installed that would seem like a harmless app.

Run Anti-Malware Software

A strong malware scanner and removal tool from a reputable provider will scan your phone to identify and remove anything malicious.

How to Protect Your Phone From Being Hacked

What To Do If Your Phone Has Been Hacked?

Use Password Lock and Strong Passwords

Lock your phone with a password and avoid pattern passwords.

Use A Password Manager

Strong, unique passwords offer another primary line of defense. Juggling dozens of strong and unique passwords can feel like a task—thus the temptation to use (and re-use) simpler passwords. Hackers love this because one password can be the key to several accounts. Instead, try a password manager that can create those passwords for you and safely store them as well.

Keep Your Software Updated

keeping current with updates is a primary way to keep you and your phone safe. Updates can fix vulnerabilities that cybercriminals 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.

Don’t Use Public WiFi

Public WiFi is very handy when you are running out of data. If you cannot avoid using a public WiFi network, make sure that you do it with caution, and never for sensitive transactions like logins to websites, your bank account portal etc.

Keep It With You At All Times

Do not trust your phone in other people’s hands. Have it with you at all times. Hackers may get into your phone

Only Use Your Own Charging Cable

Is someone offering you his charging cable to “help you out”? Did you find a loose cable and you thought it was time to give your phone a little battery boost? Well think again. Gadgets like OMG Cables can be purchased by attackers and used to easily hack into your phone, while you are thinking that you are just charging it.

Encrypt Your Phone

Encrypting your cell phone can save you from being hacked and can protect your calls, messages, and critical information.

Only Use Official Stores To Download Software

Google Play and Apple’s App 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.

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Dimitris is an Information Technology and Cybersecurity professional with more than 20 years of experience in designing, building and maintaining efficient and secure IT infrastructures.
Among others, he is a certified: CISSP, CISA, CISM, ITIL, COBIT and PRINCE2, but his wide set of knowledge and technical management capabilities go beyond these certifications. He likes acquiring new skills on penetration testing, cloud technologies, virtualization, network security, IoT and many more.

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