Cybercriminals may hack your phone to spy on you, steal your money, or target your contacts with phishing scams. In this article, we’ll show you the signs that a hacker could have access to your device, and help you protect your phone from cyberattacks. We won’t be covering iPhones specifically in this article, as we’ve covered iOS hacking in another post; check that out to learn if your iPhone is hacked.
Your phone can be hacked, just like any other device with internet connectivity. Phones are particularly tempting targets for hackers because these devices usually have access to a huge amount of user data, from banking information to social media passwords.
Hackers are always eager to infect your device with malware and trojans. By installing keyloggers on your phone, a cybercriminal can monitor your activity and secretly view your login data for websites and apps. In some cases, they can even turn hacked phones into cryptominers, generating cryptocurrency for the hackers while drastically slowing down device performance.
While your smartphone is immensely useful, it can put you at risk, which is why it’s so important to know how to spot signs of hacking.
Here are the most common signs that your phone is hacked:
Look out for apps you didn’t download, text messages you didn’t send, purchases you didn’t make, and suspicious phone calls.
As well as being unusually slow, the phone uses more resources and battery power and becomes hotter than normal. Malware working in the background might reduce its power significantly.
Data usage spikes could occur without any changes on your part. Malicious processes might be consuming your mobile data in the background as they track what you do.
Apps don’t run the way they should, switch on and off unexpectedly, or crash and fail to load.
If you notice lots of pop-ups appearing on your screen, you probably have spyware or malware.
PRO TIP: Let your friends and contacts know if your device has been hacked. It’s likely that hackers will use your compromised phone, as well as any messaging apps you have installed, to launch more attacks on other people.
There are many ways to hack your phone. Some don’t even require advanced tech knowledge:
If you suspect that your phone camera was hacked, there are a few more tell-tale signs that someone else is using it remotely. For example, you may notice photos and videos in your gallery that you don’t remember taking.
Of course, you can accidentally record something, but if you keep finding new ones, it’s a sign that someone might have control over your camera. The flash lighting up when you’re not using your phone is another thing to look out for.
Here’s what to do if your phone has been hacked:
For Android users, it’s important to backup anything essential before restoring your Android to factory settings.
1. Open “Settings.”
2. Go to “General management.”
3. Tap “Reset.”
4. Press “Factory data reset.”
5. Tap “Reset.”
To prevent your phone from being hacked, do the following:
The short answer is no, your phone cannot be hacked while it’s turned off. Phone hacking, even remotely, only works if the device being targeted is on.
That doesn’t mean you’re personally safe from hackers while your devices are off. Criminals could spoof your number, making calls from their own devices and pretending to be you to try and extract information or money from other targets. And if your phone had been jailbroken, whoever jailbroke the phone could (in theory) install malware that would activate when the device was switched back on.
Yet for all intents and purposes, you should be confident that your phone will not be hacked while it’s fully switch off.
No, not directly. A hacker can call you, pretending to be someone official, and so gain access to your personal details. Armed with that information, they could begin hacking your online accounts. But they can’t break into your phone’s software and modify it through phone calls alone.
However, that’s really a social engineering attack, rather than a direct phone hack. In real terms, phone calls themselves just don’t have the power to spread malware or give hackers access to your device.
There are apps that will improve your device security by notifying you of unusual activity, to ensure that you’re making use of basic security features like Screen Lock, Face/Touch ID and two-factor authentication (2FA).
Specialized spyware apps are also available; these programs can trawl your phone for hidden malware and help you identify hacks early.
Using a VPN will enhance your overall security and privacy.
NordVPN is an easy-to-use app designed for both novice and expert users. Not only does it provide you with top-notch encryption, but also blocks suspicious ads and pop-ups, which are a common way to distribute malware. NordVPN’s Threat Protection feature helps you to identify malware-ridden files, stops you from landing on malicious websites, and blocks trackers and intrusive ads.
NordVPN also has the Kill Switch function, which will disconnect you from the web in case you lose a VPN connection. Moreover, a single NordVPN account allows you to protect up to 6 devices, so you could have your entire household protected.
If you’re looking to turn your smartphone into a fortress, a VPN service is the answer.