How to know if your phone has been hacked?

Hacked Phone

Has your phone started acting strange? Are you getting pop-ups on your screen, outgoing calls logged that you missed, being slower, or other symptoms that make you wonder what’s going on? It is possible that your phone has been hacked.

Since we use our phones to do most things online, our privacy and data are at risk. Scammers can compromise the security of your phone to track activities or extract sensitive data from the device that can be sold or held for ransom from the victim or find other ways to monetize it.

“Phones are an easy target for hackers to steal personal information or track your activities”

Although it is true that the Apple line offers better security to iOS users, this does not mean that they cannot be hacked.

Android phones are more prone to hacking, and according to the Malwarebytes report, there has been an increase in malware and adware pre-installed on Android users’ devices, with the aim of stealing data or attracting attention.

Also read: How to protect yourself from identity theft

Symptoms of a hacked phone

Here are 8 ways to tell if your phone has been hacked:

  1. Inappropriate pop-ups: If you see X-rated or inappropriate advertising pop-ups on your mobile phone, it could suggest that your phone has been hacked or compromised.
  2. Calls or messages that you have not made: If there are unknown calls and messages sent from the phone, it is a symptom that could indicate that the device was intervened.
  3. Exponentially high data usage: If your data bill is higher than usual without increasing your online activities, it’s likely that your phone has been hacked and the scammer is using your phone’s data to run apps in the background.
  4. Battery drains: Your phone’s battery life decreases over time, but if your battery is draining at an alarming rate, you should take note.
  5. Poor performance: If your phone shows slow performance like app crashing, screen freezing, and unexpected reboots, it is a sign of a hacked phone.
  6. Unrecognized apps: If you notice any unrecognized apps downloaded on your device, it could be the work of a hacker. Be careful when granting permissions on mobile apps.
  7. Unusual activity on social accounts: If there is unrecognized activity on your social media or email account that is connected to your phone, it could mean that a hacker has gained access to the device and could lead to identity theft.
  8. No calls or messages: If you stop receiving calls or messages, the hacker must have cloned your SIM card from the service provider.

“Keep an eye out for suspicious activity on your phone”

You can protect your phone from hacking by considering the various apps and activities on your device. If you notice activity related to any of the above processes, it suggests that your phone is compromised. In this case, perform the following tasks to protect yourself from hackers.

What can you do if your phone has been hacked?

This is what you should do if you have a hacked phone:

  1. Remove Unrecognized Apps: Check your mobile app inventory and remove all suspicious apps that you don’t recognize.
  2. Run anti-malware applications: You can run reliable anti-malware applications that help detect malware and get rid of them. Check out our most powerful cybersecurity tools post.
  3. Reset your phone:  Resetting your phone is the easiest way to get rid of the malware.
  4. Reset your passwords: Change the password of the accounts connected to your phone to prevent the hacker from collecting personal data.
  5. Notify Contacts: Inform your contacts that your phone is compromised and that they should not click on any suspicious messages received from it.
  6. Unroot the phone: If you are using a rooted version of Android, you need to unroot it using the SuperSU app.
  7. Contact your service provider: If you stop receiving calls and messages on your phone, it could mean a hacker is using a cloned SIM card. Contact your service provider to resolve the issue.

You should also avoid connecting to unknown public Wi-Fi networks, and clicking on inappropriate pop-ups and suspicious ads to protect your phone from hackers.

Also read: How do I know if I am being spied on by the camera?

How has your phone been hacked?

There are some common means how someone can hack your phone. Be aware of these potential vulnerabilities:

USB charger. Your cell phone can receive data from a computer when connected to a USB cable. A hacker could program the computer to resend malware to the cell phone as soon as it is connected.

Interception via free Wi-Fi. A hacker can create a hotspot, passing it off as a legitimate free Wi-Fi network, but it is actually used to intercept data from any phone.

Identity fraud. The cybercriminal creates a fake version of a website and obtains your credentials as you fill them out.

Spy software. A hacker could install a keylogger application on your device to receive everything you type on it. This is done physically, or you could download it online without realizing it. Signaling System 7 (SS7). The cybercriminal only needs your phone number to perform an SS7 attack on the phone, which will allow him to track the mobile and intercept calls and text messages.