Has your phone been hacked? Or do you suspect that your current device is compromised? Well, you are not alone. The number of cellphone-related inquiries pertaining to suspected hacking issues has sharply increased within the last few years. As a result, Private Investigators and cyber security professionals have experienced a substantial rise in client-related privacy concerns. Some clients suspect that their personal device is compromised, while others are quite confident that their device has been breached. But, how can you identify if your cellphone has been hacked? Below are some of the common indicators that you may be hacked. Not one, but a combination of the below signs may indicate that your device has been compromised.
Signs That Your Phone May Be Hacked
- The phone loses it’s charge quickly. – While this could be a sign that you may be experiencing battery issues, it could be a sign that your phone is remotely being accessed.
- The phone overheats consistently. – This issue could be related to the battery or the age of the phone. However, if your device suddenly and consistently overheats, this could indicate that malicious software is running on it.
- The overall performance diminishes. – When your device slows, it could indicate that there are too many apps using resources on the device. However, it could also indicate that malicious software is competing for resources as it reports back to the hacker.
- You notice strange activity. – If you notice emails, texts and calls that you did not make, this would be an obvious sign that someone has used your phone physically or remotely.
- There are suddenly more popups. – A sudden increase in popup ads could be a symptom of malware and/or malicious software hidden on your device
- Your data usage suddenly spikes. – If your monthly personal usage has not changed, however you notice a marked increase in your data usage, it could indicate that your phone may be compromised.
- There are unfamiliar apps on your phone. – If an App which you did not download appears on your device, it is a sure sign that your personal privacy may be at risk.
How To Stop A Hacker
Your data is valuable. And many do not realize the massive scale of the tech industry in the buying and selling of personal data. This data is bought and sold to industries that use algorithms to market and sell both tangible and intangible goods, services and ideas. And this very same data, when obtained through malicious intrusion, can be used against you by a cyber-criminal. Banking and other financial information can be captured and used to access personal finances and currencies. While, information concerning social security numbers, medical and other private data, can be used to counterfeit your identity. However, the good news is that there are steps that one can take, to thwart existing and potential hackers.
How To Remove & Prevent A Hacker From Accessing Your Phone
- Use antivirus software and a malware removal tool. – This is recommended for cellphones in general, but specifically for Android devices.
- Notify your financial institutions. – If you believe that you have been hacked, it may be beneficial to alert your financial institutions in order to avoid potential financial disruption.
- Delete unknown Apps & note all used Apps. – If you notice a strange App on your phone that you did not download, remove it immediately. Then catalogue all of the legitimate Apps on your phone prior to performing a factory reset.
- Manually copy your contact list. – If your phone has been compromised and you have consistently backed up to the cloud, you may want to avoid using the cloud after resetting your phone. Hidden Apps and malicious software can be stored within past cloud backups.
- Factory-reset your phone. – Bring your device back to it’s original state at purchase. This will erase all malicious software from your device.
- Do not backup your device from a cloud. – Start from scratch. Delete all past cloud backups.
- Manually install preferred Apps. – As stated above, manually add each App one by one in order to ensure that the same malicious software isn’t copied onto your restored device.
- Only install Apps from the Apple Store or Google Play. – This is especially important for Android users. The golden rule is to only download Apps that have been vetted through Apple or Google. This ensures that there is no malicious software downloaded.
- Do not jailbreak your phone. – While there are many benefits to a jail-broken phone, for Apple products, you lose the built in security features provided from Apple. This is why Apple devices generally do not need Antivirus software.
- Change all of your passwords. – Assume the hacker has all of your passwords. Create new ones so that your accounts cannot be accessed.
- Enable 2-Step authentication. – Ensure to enhance your security settings so that you or any other person are notified and challenged when attempting to access areas and Apps within your device.
- Install and use a VPN. – This is extremely important. A VPN will hide your personal phone details after it has connected to a network. This is especially vital when connecting to public WiFi networks.
- Ensure your connections are encrypted. – Many VPNs will include encryption protocols in order to enhance your security. A good VPN like Surf Shark and Express VPN will provide high levels of encryption built in.
- Disable voice assistants on lock screen. – Some scammers will call you in order to obtain a voice copy of your voice. Your voice then can be used to access areas within your phone or accounts who use this security feature. It is recommended to disable this feature.
- Turn off the password auto fill feature. – Ensure that your passwords are not auto-filled in any browser or App. It may be a pain to manually enter your password in each time, but auto-filled passwords can provide access to hackers, even if they do not have your password. Generally, it is recommended to answer “No” when asked if you would like a website or App to remember your credit information or password.
- Limit App permissions. – Limit Apps to only access your location and other data only while you use them. This will help to prevent a hacker from obtaining your location and personal information.
With limited technical ability, one can take appropriate steps to protect their personal data and their privacy. Following the above steps, you can feel confident that you have prevented your everyday hacker from illegally spying on you. However, if you suspect that your phone has been hacked or are sure that your device has been compromised, feel free to contact an investigator at Present Truth Investigations. One of our Cyber Security Professionals will be able to provide you with the tools to remedy your issue. However, if you unable to resolve the issue yourself, our specialists will be able to examine your device for you.