The Warning Signs That Indicate Your Smartphone Has Been Hacked

The Warning Signs That Indicate Your Smartphone Has Been Hacked
Image: iStock

We’re all pretty attuned to the dangers of our computers getting hacked, but it’s easy to forget that the same thing can happen to our smartphones. We’re on our phones pretty frequently so making sure they are secure should be a top priority. With that in mind, we’ve hunted down some of the warning signs that indicate your smartphone has been hacked.

What are the risks?

First off, why should you be concerned if your phone is hacked? The answer seems pretty obvious, but we input a lot of our important information on our phones and you do not want that ending up in the hands of someone else.

As security software company McAfee explains, hackers can implement malicious software in a number of ways including via dodgy phone apps, phishing scams and sketchy websites.

From there they can do a number of illicit things such as:

  • Keylogging: Watching everything you type, tap or say on your mobile device.
  • Trojans: Malware that can be disguised on your phone to extract important information like credit card details.
  • Cryptominers: Hidden software that hijacks a phone’s software to mine cryptocurrencies without the user’s consent.

What are the signs your smartphone has been hacked?

There are a number of warning signs that could indicate your smartphone has been infected or hacked.

According to Norton, another security software company, these are the ones to look out for:

  • Strange or inappropriate pop-ups
  • Texts or calls not made by you
  • Higher than normal data usage: There are many reasons for high data usage, but if your phone behaviour has stayed the same and your data usage has increased, it’s time to investigate.
  • Apps you don’t recognize on your phone: If you notice new apps popping up that you never downloaded or were not already pre-installed on the new phone, it’s cause for concern.
  • Battery draining quickly: If your phone use habits have remained the same, but your battery is draining more quickly than normal, hacking may be to blame.

What should you do if your phone is hacked?

If you suspect your phone has been infected there are a few things the cyber security software companies recommend.

First, delete any suspicious apps. That’s also a good reminder to check that any apps you download are from reputable sources with good reviews and from official app stores like the Apple or Google Play stores.

It’s recommended you run anti-malware software on your phone and do so regularly to ensure your phone hasn’t been hacked. Both McAfee and Norton offer this.

As a last resort, you can also wipe and factory reset your phone completely.

There are also some good habits you should get into to prevent your phone from being hacked such as keeping your phone up to date with the latest system software, using a password manager, avoiding charging your phone at public stations and using public wifi, and turning off your WiFi and Bluetooth when not in use.

On that note, make sure your passwords are always secure and not just 123456.

Comments

  • heres a funny story. I wiped my phone to sell it as I upgraded. I took the sim and sd card out . did the wipe. the phone rebooted and I went through the process to get it to the home screen so skipped all the wifi setup etc.
    I then received a SMS saying my package is ready for pickup. LOL there was NO SIM IN THE PHONE. all malware scans were fine didn’t find anything, so after that I just threw the phone away. it had really gotten infected pretty bad

Log in to comment on this story!