Has Your Phone Been Hacked? How to Tell

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phone hacked

Wouldn’t it be great if, when you inadvertently downloaded malware onto your mobile device, there was an immediate warning? If only an alarm would sound, or your phone would automatically send you a text message to let you know that something fishy is going on.

Alas, it’s not that simple. After all, hackers don’t want people to know that they have fallen into a trap. It’s far better if they simply exist in the background, quietly wreaking havoc for as long as possible until the victim finally figures it out.

Thankfully, though, there are usually some clues that the super cool new app you found isn’t so super cool after all, or that maybe that text message you answered wasn’t really from the bank. If you know the signs, in the event that you do discover that your device is infected, you can take action right away and prevent serious consequences.

Sign of Infection #1: Strange Behavior

Your phone was working fine. But now, suddenly, it seems to have a mind of its own. You hear the tone alerting you that a message was sent — only you never sent a message. Or you’re alerted that you received a message, only there isn’t a message, or you only see a partial message for a moment. You might notice apps opening and closing, moving around on the home screen or new apps that you don’t recall downloading. In short, your phone appears to be under someone else’s control. If you think that may be the case, it’s very possible that it could be, thanks to malware.

Sign of Infection #2: Excess Charges

Is your bill suddenly higher — much higher—than normal? One of the most common forms of mobile malware uses the device to send premium text messages. Other malware signs users up for costly subscriptions, uses the phone to make expensive calls or causes overages. If your bill skyrockets for no reason, there’s a good chance that you’ve picked up some malware.

Sign of Infection #3: Reduced Battery Life

If your phone battery seems to run out of charge quickly— as in, a few hours or less even though you aren’t using it — you might have an issue. It’s possible that the malware could be running processes that are killing your battery. Keep in mind though, that reduced battery life doesn’t always mean malware, as over time most batteries lose life and your legitimate apps or WiFi usage can also take a toll.

Sign of Infection #4: An Increase in Phishing Attacks

Phishing is almost unavoidable these days. Cyber criminals are willing to try anything to steal information, and there’s always a chance that your phone number or email will come up at random. However if you notice a marked increase in phishing attempts on your phone, usually in the form of text messages, there’s a good chance that you’ve already been compromised in some way.

Protecting Your Device

phone security

If you suspect that your device has been hacked, the first step is to identify the offending application and remove it. In some cases, this involves wiping the device and returning it to factory settings. It’s a pain, but really the only way to remove the malware and start fresh.

A better plan is to avoid malware altogether and protect your device against hacking. Some ways to do this include:

  • Installing an Android security application to identify and block potentially malicious apps.
  • Only downloading apps from official sources, like the Google Play Store or App Store. However, since the Play Store has harbored harmful apps before, it’s also important to learn the signs of potential malware and avoid suspicious downloads.
  • Disable WiFi and Bluetooth functions when not in use, so hackers cannot access your files and data.
  • Update the device’s operating system regularly to patch security holes and remove bugs that could create security risks.
  • Avoid using public WiFi to send sensitive data, such as your bank logins. If you must shop or bank using your device, log out of your accounts and close the app when you are done.
  • Learn to identify phishing scams and report them as appropriate, and then delete the messages. Your bank will never send a text message asking you to log in to your account via an embedded link, or request that you send sensitive information via email or text, for example.

According to security experts, the number of mobile malware attacks has increased exponentially in recent years, and is only expected to increase going forward. Learn the signs of infection today — and more importantly, how to prevent infections — and you’ll keep your phone and the valuable data it contains safe.

About Sarvesh Darak

Sarvesh Darak is a blogger, an online marketer, a social media specialist and an Android Lover. At Best Android Blog, he writes Android news & tutorials for Android Rooting. He is the tech head and ensures that the blog keeps running at good pace. He also looks after all the SEO and promotion work. He’s from Surat, India and keep contributing regularly at the blog.

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