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How to Check If Your Phone is Hacked?
How-to Guide· 11 minutes
HOW TO TELL IF YOUR PHONE IS HACKED?
What would we do without our mobiles? Some of us if not most of us dread the thought of anything happening to them but are we actually being careful enough to prevent something from happening?!
You probably don’t even realize it but you are exposing your phone to all sorts of thieves and data snatchers on a daily basis! You mustn’t fall victim to hackers! Hackers are always on the lookout for their next victim! It’s important that you know how to both identify and remove a hacker from your phone!
HOW CAN YOUR PHONE BECOME HACKED?
It’s actually not that difficult for someone to hack your phone! The hacker has several ways in which they can hack it. You don’t have to have advanced tech knowledge in order to do so!
1. A sim swapping attack
This particular attack involves the hacker transferring your phone number over to their own SIM card, meaning they are now in control of all of your accounts! Yes, it’s that easy!
2. Certain spyware that can collect your data!
Believe it or not, there are some spy apps that are really quite easy to get a hold of! Again the person responsible for the attack doesn’t necessarily have to have advanced IT knowledge. The hacker will be able to remotely monitor all of your phone’s activities! Anyone who gains direct access to your device can install an app like this one!
3. Public WiFi networks
Public WiFi networks are so risky. If you connect to them you could possibly get malware. Quite surprisingly this can happen via charging stations too! A hacker can quite easily set up fake WiFi networks. These are called ‘evil twin networks’! What will happen is you will be redirected to a malicious website, or they will steal your data via a USB cable which is located at a charging station!
Facebook or even email messages will contain malicious links which will install malware onto your device. This will then snatch your data!
5. Suspicious Websites
It’s even possible for you to download malware from suspicious websites while you're downloading apps or it could be the case that you clicked on a malicious link or pop up completely by mistake as this can happen!
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR PHONE HAS IN FACT BEEN HACKED?
If you're worrying about that someone has hacked your phone here are a few things to look out for!
- 1. All of a sudden there’s something that you don’t recognize on your phone. For example, there are messages that you didn’t send suddenly appearing, new apps on your device that you didn’t download, purchases that you didn’t make, and even suspicious phone calls too!
- 2. Your phone has become much slower. Your phone seems to be using a lot more resources as well as battery power, your phone could even become hotter than usual! If there is any malware on the phone it could reduce its power quite significantly!
- 3. Mysterious data usage spikes, even though there are no changes on your part. There are certain malicious processes that will consume your mobile data behind the scenes while they track absolutely everything you do on your device!
- 4. ‘Strange behavior’ apps that are no longer running the way that they should, ones that switch both on and off unexpectedly as well as ones that either crash or fail to load together!
- 5. Lots of pop-ups. If all of a sudden there are a lot of pop-ups suddenly appearing on your phone you most probably have either spyware or malware!
WHAT IF YOUR PHONE CAMERA BECOMES HACKED?!
Occasionally we can accidentally record something or take a photograph without releasing it. However, if you start to notice a lot of videos and photos in your gallery that you don’t remember taking then it’s a huge possibility that someone else has to control over your camera! If you keep finding new photos and videos appearing consistently you should definitely be concerned!
Is your flash lighting up when you not even using your camera? This is another tell-tale sign that someone’s gained access to your camera! If your phone starts to get hotter than usual you should definitely be concerned. The camera and the flash require a lot of resources as well as battery power. So if your phone is all of a sudden getting hot when you aren’t even using it, it’s maybe time to start worrying!
HOW TO FIND OUT WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR HACKING YOUR PHONE!
Finding the hacker who was able to gain access to your phone can be rather difficult unless the attack was specifically aimed at you. The odds of finding them are very slim! It’s certainly worthwhile checking all of your apps specifically the ones that you don’t recognize! Are there suspicious phone numbers that have been calling you or any social media accounts that have attempted to interact with you? Although these searches might find some associations, tracking the hackers down usually requires a cyber security expert of some sort. If you really are concerned that someone had access to your phone the best thing to do is to contact your local police department. They can investigate the matter further, and most probably more efficiently too!
Maybe you start thinking about who might have had actual physical access to your phone! Is your password strong enough? If you have a weak password someone could have quite easily guessed it! If this is the case then the hacker has had complete access to your device without you even knowing it!
HOW DO YOU REMOVE A HACKER FROM YOUR PHONE?
If you found someone hacked your phone then follow these simple steps!
- 1. Immediately change your password. Make sure it’s a strong password and not just your date of birth or your pet's name!
- 2. Run anti-malware software. Doing this will detect any malicious apps or processes. If you do decide to do this please ensure that you use reliable and safe security software. You don’t want to be tracked and for them to gather your data!
- 3. Switch off your mobile data and WiFi when you're not using them. If the app is using an online connection then switching off yours will prevent it from using your data as you will be disrupting its activity.
- 4. Get rid of all of the suspicious apps immediately! Your security apps might not be able to find anything, or maybe you don’t even have any. If this is the case you should still delete any applications that you downloaded right before you started experiencing problems.
- 5. Let your friends and other contacts know. Tell them that if they receive any suspicious messages from you they should just ignore them.
- 6. Don’t broadcast your personal hotspot. If you do this in public it’s easy for hackers to gain access to your device.
- 7. Try restoring your device to its factory settings. Doing this could help you if you are constantly getting a lot of pop-ups, or if malicious apps have basically made your device impossible to use. It’s important that you only use this method as a last resort!
CATALINA FOR RESTORING YOUR IPHONE.
It’s important that you back up anything that important to you before you restore your phone to factory settings!
- 1. If you have a device that has either macOS Catalina 10.15.5 or even earlier then connect your phone to the computer.
- 2. You will want to then select your device in the finder sidebar.
- 3. Next click trust on your phone followed by your passcode.
- 4. Finally select restore iPhone.
If you have an android phone here’s how to restore it to its factory settings.
- 1. Firstly open up the settings
- 2. Then go to general management
- 3. Select reset
- 4. Select factory data reset
- 5. Finally, tap the reset option
HOW TO BLOCK HACKERS FROM ACCESSING YOUR PHONE?!
In order to prevent hackers from accessing your phone do the following:
- 1. Ensure you turn off your hotspot in public. If you need to have it turned on please make sure that the settings are as secure as they possibly can be.
- 2. Avoid using WiFi or charging spots that you don’t trust. If you absolutely have to use public WiFi do not connect to one without a VPN! Whenever you no longer need to use it make sure that you disconnect from it.
- 3. Ensure that you switch off your Bluetooth when you're not using it. Your Bluetooth can also be an access point for hackers.
- 4. Lock your phone with either a passcode or a Lock Screen!
- 5. Always have your phone on you, don’t leave it unattended, and especially don’t let people you don’t know to use it!
- 6. Always check what apps are on your phone as there could be ones there that you don’t recognize.
- 7. Never open a suspicious message, a suspicious link, or files as they could be malware or spyware in disguise!
- 8. Make sure you install anti-malware apps as well as update your software regularly.
- 9. Install and use a VPN, it will protect your online traffic as well as enable you to browse privately and safely!
- 10. Stay away from sites that you don’t trust! They could potentially be the source of malware.
CAN A DEVICE BE HACKED EVEN WHEN IT'S TURNED OFF?
Normally hackers will need to establish an online connection with your phone in order to gain access to it. This will not be possible while your device shut down. That doesn’t mean that you are automatically safe! Hacks may still persist once it works again. It could be that there’s an extra mic or a secretive hidden camera in the hardware. This is the very reason why you always need to leave your phone outside while you're visiting any government intelligence or military buildings!
Even though your phone might not be hacked while it’s turned off it still doesn’t ensure your safety 100%!
Here are 3 particular ways that hackers could attack your device even when it shut down!
- 1. It could have been jailbroken, and the person who is responsible for doing so could have installed various different bugs on it, such as malware or spyware, and even tracking software too! Even though your phone would have to turn on to be jailbroken, the malware would still persist as soon as you turn it back on again.
- 2. Maybe your power button is overwritten. Hackers are able to overwrite the command for your power button so that it goes into low power mode instead of turning it off altogether, this would have most definitely been initiated while your phone was turned on.
If you take your battery out, which unfortunately can be difficult to do with an iPhone, a very small hardware capacitor which is a device that stores electric energy can indeed be installed in your phone. This would give it a small charge to let all sorts of malicious things continue, even when you believe your phone is turned off!
This particular hack would have been initiated while your phone was turned on! It overrides the assumption that your device is in a safe state since you didn’t actually turn it off in the first place, even though you believed that you did!
- 3. If your number is ported. This is technically a device hack however it is something a hacker is capable of doing, even while your phone is off! It’s very easy for hackers to steal any mobile number and pass it off as their own, they can do so by contacting your provider and requesting a number transfer from the old device over to the new one! With a little bit of social engineering they can begin hijacking your accounts one by one, they do this by having a password reset request sent to your phone, or by tricking your bank into thinking that they are in fact you when they get through to the customer service department.
It’s possible that all they need to pass the security checks is your social security number and your home address, which is information they can easily find online with enough persistence! In this case, it won’t matter whether your phone is switched on/off!
CAN A HACKER HACK YOUR PHONE JUST BY CALLING YOU?!
The simple answer is no! Not directly, yes a hacker can call you impersonating someone else, someone official, by doing so they can gain access to your personal information. Once they have access to this information they could start hacking your accounts, however, they can’t break into your device's software and modify it through phone calls alone!
It is possible for your phone to be hacked through communication apps that have poor security! Back in 2019 hackers gained access to a smartphone with a single WhatsApp call! Unfortunately, a WhatsApp VOIP vulnerability allowed criminals to access the device and steal all of the data on the phone such as private messages and location details. Bigs like this one can happen on any platform!
IS THERE A CERTAIN APP THAT YOU CAN INSTALL TO SEE IF YOUR PHONE HAS BEEN HACKED?
Of course, there are security apps that will notify you of any unusual activity, they will also make sure that you are using the basic security features such as Face or Touch ID, screen lock, and ZFA. You will also find tips and tricks to improve your device’s security like periodically rebooting your device.
There are also specialized spyware apps. They can search through your phone for any hidden malware and help you to identify hacks early on. To be honest you would rather prevent an attack rather than try to counter an attack after it already occured.
It’s important that you always update your device and apps regularly. You can also use an encrypted password manager in order to generate a strong login credentials.
Individually lock apps as an extra precaution. Most importantly always do your research, that way you can choose the most reliable and trustworthy security apps for your device.
BROWSING COMPLETELY PRIVATE WITH A VPN!
I can’t stress enough how important it is to use a VPN while you connect to the internet. Not only does it hide your IP address it also encrypts your traffic which enhances both your security and privacy!
Hackers will not be able to identify you online or monitor what you're doing on your device. This means that they will have fewer ways to harm you!
Try and stay away from free VPN as they could have a hidden agenda behind the services that they offer for free!