Mobile phones are an integral part of everyday life. Not only do we use our phones to make calls, but we also use them to store information and data, so sensitive data on our phones can be valuable to the bad guys. With the dramatic increase in cybercriminal activity, it is worth paying particular attention to the security of our mobile phones.
Do you know what signs your phone has been hacked? Or how your phone got hacked? What should you do if your phone is compromised and how can you keep your mobile device safe? Let's explore these questions and find the answers to them.
- 1 Signs your phone has been hacked
- 2 How did your phone get hacked?
- 3 How to remove hackers from your phone
- 4 How to protect your phone from hackers
- 4.1 Don't use public WiFi without a VPN
- 4.2 Turn off Bluetooth and WiFi hotspot
- 4.3 Use antivirus and antimalware software
- 4.4 Download and install the authorized application
- 4.5 Regularly update apps and phone operating systems
- 4.6 Never leave your phone unattended
- 4.7 Use multi-factor authentication for your account
- 4.8 Use strong passwords and a password manager
- 5 Conclusion
Signs your phone has been hacked
If bad actors successfully try to hack your phone, you have a way to detect the intrusion. Some signs are easy to spot, such as sluggish performance, intrusive pop-ups, or app crashes. Others may need closer inspection. Here are some signs that your mobile device has been compromised.
1. Poor performance
If you notice your mobile device is slowing down, it could be a sign that malware has used up all its power.
2. Fast battery discharge
Sometimes the battery dies, but sometimes, malware can take its toll. If you notice that your battery suddenly drains within hours or minutes, your phone may be the victim of a hack.
3. The phone is hot
Malware affects our phones in various ways. Malware is known to put unusually high stress on a phone's CPU, which can cause the device to heat up.
4. High data usage
Most modern malware requires an active internet connection to function as expected. Communicating with remote servers can quickly increase your data usage.
5. Unfamiliar apps on your phone
Most smartphones come pre-installed with various applications. However, if you notice unfamiliar apps and are sure you didn't download them, that could be a clear sign that malware is at work.
6. Suspicious pop-ups
While not all pop-ups indicate malicious activity on your phone, unfamiliar and intrusive pop-ups are often triggered by malicious third-party apps that shouldn't be on your mobile device.
7. Suspicious outgoing text messages and phone calls
If you find all kinds of suspicious outgoing text messages and calls that you didn't initiate, it's a sign that your phone may have been hijacked by bad actors.
How did your phone get hacked?
There are several ways bad actors can find unauthorized access to your device. However, a successful attack on your phone usually requires action on your part. Here are a few ways your mobile device can be hacked.
Phishing is a social engineering attack in which bad actors send fake emails pretending to be from legitimate sources in order to trick unsuspecting users into installing malware or revealing their personal information.
Use public WiFi
Of course, public WiFi is great. In some cases, it can be a lifesaver. However, hackers also like public WiFi hotspots. Why? Well, most of these hotspots lack the necessary security measures, which is a perfect situation for bad actors to intercept insecure connections and gain access to your device.
Malicious pop-ups, websites and applications
Malicious pop-ups, websites and apps are created for one simple reason - to trick online users into giving up their sensitive data or infecting their devices with spyware or other types of malware. Keep in mind that clicking on problematic pop-ups can have disastrous consequences.
Connect to an unknown bluetooth device
Just as connecting to a public WiFi network is a risky business, so is connecting to an unknown Bluetooth device. Establishing such a connection can give bad actors the right path to access and hack your device in a relatively simple and quick way.
How to remove hackers from your phone
If you find that your phone has indeed been hacked, there are several ways to remove unwanted software from your phone. However, it is recommended that you change your passwords for all online accounts first, especially if you have passwords saved on your phone. Also, it's usually best to notify your contacts that your phone has been hacked and let them know that suspicious news may be coming. Apart from that, here are some proven methods to help you remove unwanted software from your mobile device.
run anti-malware software
Running a malware scan on your device is one of the quickest and most reliable ways to get rid of suspicious software installed on your phone. Regular scans are recommended to keep your phone safe.
Remove unknown or unauthorized applications
If you find out that your phone has been hacked, it's a good idea to do a full audit of the apps on your phone. not youself-installed applicationsshould be removed from your mobile device immediately.
Factory reset your phone
Sometimes, factory reset your phone is the quickest and easiest way to get rid of malware. Remember, restoring your mobile device to factory settings means that all data stored on it will be permanently wiped. Here's how to do a factory reset on an iOS or Android device:
How to do a factory reset on an iOS device:
- Open the Settings app.
- Choose General.
- Scroll down and select Transfer or Reset iPhone.
- Click Reset.
How to do a factory reset on an Android device:
- Open Settings.
- Select System.
- Click the reset option.
- Select Erase all data (factory reset).
- Select Reset Phone.
How to protect your phone from hackers
Cybersecurity is a hot topic these days, and for good reason. With cybercrime on the rise, it's critical to develop strong security habits that minimize the risk of falling victim to hacking attacks. To keep your phone safe from criminals, we've compiled some easy-to-follow security tips.
Don't use public WiFi without a VPN
Avoid using public WiFi hotspots without network security tools like VPNs. As we've already discussed, public WiFi is the perfect hunting ground for bad actors. However, if you use a VPN (which encrypts outgoing and incoming traffic), the chances of your phone being hacked are virtually zero.
Turn off Bluetooth and WiFi hotspot
Make sure to turn off Bluetooth and WiFi hotspots when not in use. Bad actors have been known to exploit such connections to gain access to your phone and network data.
Use antivirus and antimalware software
Having a reliable anti-malware tool on your phone will significantly reduce the risk of your device being infected with any kind of malicious app. Such tools are designed to detect and warn you of potential dangers ahead of time.
Download and install the authorized application
Stick to authorized and authenticated applications. Never install apps from questionable third-party websites or other questionable sources. Sticking to the Google Play Store and App Store is the best option to avoid downloading and installing malware. However, in some cases hackers are able to bypass the security of official app stores, so it's best to take the time to double-check the legitimacy and reputation of an app before downloading and installing it on your device.
Regularly update apps and phone operating systems
App and OS updates aren't just about improving the user experience. Developers use updates to cover potential attack vectors and ensure optimal security for your device. For maximum security, be sure to run application and operating system updates regularly.
Never leave your phone unattended
Leaving your phone unattended will only lead to theft. This is real. But it's also true that bad actors can be more cunning. Leaving your phone unattended can give hackers direct physical access to your device. As you can imagine, your phone is at the mercy of hackers.
Use multi-factor authentication for your account
Simply put, multi-factor authentication is an extra layer of security. Think of it as an authentication method that requires multiple steps to prove the user's identity in addition to the username and password. Typically, when using MFA, you must enter a special code that can be sent to you via text or an authentication application for authorization.
Use strong passwords and a password manager
Passwords provide a secure gateway to our online accounts. Keeping them strong is vital if you want to stay safe in the online world. When it comes to phone security, it's best to use as long and complex PINs and passwords as possible. Doing so reduces the chance of unauthorized access.
Indeed, providing strong passwords for online accounts can be a challenge, as they require at least 12 characters, consisting of numbers, letters and special symbols. but here ispassword managerWhere it comes in handy. Say you use NordPass. Well, in this case you canGenerate unique and complex passwords on-site. Even better, NordPass provides a secure way to store and access all those passwords when you need them. With a password manager and good password security habits, you will significantly reduce your risk of being hacked.
Having your phone hacked can be stressful. With all the news that a data breach could lead to, it's understandable. However, the risk of falling prey to hackers is minimized if you take the proper steps to secure your device. The tricky thing is making cybersecurity a part of your everyday life. If you manage to do this successfully, the online world will be much more enjoyable.