Trying to figure out if a phone has been hacked? It can be hard to know for sure as cyberattackers tend to be very careful and hide their tracks. But there are some common signs that could indicate an outsider is poking away in the background. Here’s what to look out for.
It’s chilling how vulnerable technology has made people as intruders can access and ruin their lives without them even noticing. After all, people’s entire lives are on their mobile phones now. Secret information, passwords, internet banking, private photos – it’s all there in one convenient package. Ironically, it’s convenient for hackers, too, as they simply have to get access to this one device to get everything they need.
Cyber attacks are rising at an alarming rate, and hackers are focusing their efforts on mobile phones.
Mobile Malware Is a Growing Threat
There are so many ways to get access to phones now, but malicious apps are still one of the most popular methods. These apps are usually downloaded from unofficial sources or links shared on the web. They may look legit and even fulfill their intended function. Their real purpose, though, is to give the hacker unfettered access to the phone.
Only recently, phones of thousands of people from more than 20 countries were compromised through fake messaging clients. The apps, which posed as secure messengers like Signal and WhatsApp allowed hackers to record audio, take photos, and get the phones’ locations. Interestingly, these apps didn’t infect the phones with additional software. Instead, they operated with the app permissions that users allowed.
Malicious apps don’t always come from unofficial sources, however. The Apple App Store and Google Play Store do their best to screen apps for suspicious activity. But they don’t always catch them all. Malware has been periodically found on the Play Store, for instance. Over 200 infected apps were recently discovered.
5 Signs a Mobile Phone Has Been Hacked
Performance Is Suffering
Phones do get bogged down naturally if there are a lot of apps running or if the memory is full. But if neither of those is the case, then it might be hackers running software in the background. Malware can take up a lot of processing power, which will slow the phone down.
Just like on computers, pop-ups on the phone are a sure sign of malware. The malware might not be installed yet, but can install in the background if anyone clicks on one of those pop-ups. Pop-ups can appear after someone has downloaded an infected or fake app.
The Battery Drains Faster Than Normal
This might be hard to keep track of, but any changes in battery life could indicate malware on the phone. Hackers usually run their malware in the background, which can drain the battery.
Strange Apps, Messages, or Calls Show Up
Any unauthorized actions that appear are a sign that someone else has access to the phone. These can be texts or emails the user didn’t send, calls they didn’t make, or apps they didn’t download.
The Phone Is Always Hot to the Touch
Some apps that take up a lot of processing power will make the phone hot to the touch. Malware might do the same. So the phone could be infected if it’s constantly hot while no apps are running.
Mobile manufacturers are working hard to make their phones less targetable. In that same vein, software developers also regularly update apps and operating systems to make phones harder to access. Unfortunately, hackers are working just as hard to circumvent those efforts, and they do succeed.
For their part, users should stick to downloading from reputable sources because they’re still less likely to find malware there. They could also look at downloading a VPN (a virtual private network) for an added layer of security. VPNs keep malicious websites from accessing the phone. Finally, users should always lock their phones to prevent anyone from manually installing malware.
If a phone does contain malware, a factory reset may be necessary.
It’s better to be safe than sorry – and this is doubly important when it comes to mobile phones. They hold a vast amount of personal information and can give creepers unobstructed access to people’s lives.
Always be on the lookout for any suspicious activity and do something about it before it’s too late.