How Can You Tell If Hackers Are Controlling Your Phone or Tablet?
If you have had your phone or tablet infected by malware before, you would agree that it isn’t the best feeling in the world and can be frustrating. Hackers have different reasons for wanting to infect your devices and it is never for good. The more time you spend online, the more your chances of getting attacked, but how can you tell if hackers are controlling your phone or tablet? Read on to find out and know how to fix it too.
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Common Methods of Hacking Your Phone or Tablet
There are different ways through which hackers gain access to your phone. Some of the most common ones are:
1 . Phishing
Phishing can come through email, text message, or even social media. It usually has a link through which malware can infect your phone and the aim is to take control over your phone. Some phishing messages would be found in the spam folder of your email. Some phishing messages would be sent from an acquaintance to an uninfected phone, that’s why it’s common to get phishing messages from a friend on social media with a link.
2. False Wi-Fi Hotspot
Another very popular way of hacking into a phone or tablet is by setting up a fake Wi-Fi hotspot in a popular location. Users who connect to the hotspot and share data would have their data compromised by the hackers. They can also route your traffic to look-alike sites to the one you intended to visit so they can steal your login details.
3. Corrupted USB Charger
Be careful of your use of USB stations in public places and rental cars. Since USB charging cables can also transfer data, hackers can use them to steal your data or infect your phone with malware.
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Some apps can allow the collection of information from your phone. They are hard to detect but would monitor your activities so someone else can tell what you are doing. They are especially hard to detect because they look like normal and legitimate apps.
5. Bluesnarfing and Bluesniping
It may sound silly but is a real thing. It refers to the act of breaking into someone’s phone via Bluetooth and was first discovered in 2003.
6. SS7 and IMSI Hacks
Some of the technical methods of hacking into your phone are by exploiting vulnerabilities in the protocols your mobile network uses. SS7 (Signaling System 7) was first used in 1987, and has been the bases for the use of telephones and also data theft during transmission.
In IMSI catching, your phone would connect to an IMSI catcher that is posing as a cellphone tower, allowing the catcher to steal information. Information that could be gotten includes location and operator data. It can also be used to intercept calls and messages.
How to Know If Hackers Are Controlling Your Phone or Tablet?
Below are some of the most common signs that show your phone has been hacked. Individually, it can be very annoying and maybe just a malfunction, but when you experience multiple signs, it’s a malware.
1 . Your Phone Is Slowing Down/ Heating Up/ Draining Battery
If your phone starts slowing down or draining the battery faster than usual, it could be because of several reasons. This would usually happen after an OS update, or if you are running heavy apps that take up resources. If you haven’t done any of this, and your phone las or battery drains, you may have malware running in the background. One of the common causes could be because hackers are mining cryptocurrency using your phone and as this is a resource-intensive process, your battery and CPU get used up.
So when you notice this new behavior in your phone, checks the apps that are running in the background, and the CPU space they are using. check the amount of free space you have and if after all these there is no reason why your phone would be misbehaving, its highly likely that your phone contains malware.
2. Your Contacts Receive Messages from You That You Didn’t Send
Sometimes malware spreads to other uninfected devices through messages with links or a file attachment. These messages are sent to your contacts who would be unsuspecting victims of the attacks. Once the link is clicked, or the file opened, the malware would be installed on the other device. So if you receive complaints from your contacts about strange messages which you know you didn’t send, hackers could be controlling your phone or tablet.
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3. Unexplained Increase in Data Usage and Phone Bill
If you have an unexplained increase in data usage, it could mean that your phone was hacked and data sent. This could be in the form of cryptocurrency mining or stealing data from you. it could also mean that a hacker is spying on you. to confirm that apps are not consuming your data, check your data usage for the responsible apps. If you can’t find any, then the other explanation is a malware attack.
you may also notice an unexplained increase in phone calls, even though you didn’t make any calls. Check your records and be sure that you called the numbers there. If you made all the calls there and it doesn’t explain the increased phone bill, then your phone may have been hacked and is being used as a proxy without your knowledge.
When making calls, try to observe if there is any strange background noise or interference. While this is a sign of weak reception, it also means your line is being tapped and someone is listening to your calls.
4. You Find an App You Didn’t Install/ Or The Antivirus Has Been Uninstalled
If you find an app you didn’t install on your phone, then it could mean your lover or a hacker is spying on you through your phone. It could also be an innocent app installed by someone who needed to use your phone so confirm to be sure before you raise alarm. If your antivirus is uninstalled, it could be the virus trying to protect itself as malware is known to sometimes uninstall antivirus software.
5. Your Phone Settings Change
Sometimes, the method to hack your phone may require physical access to your phone to change the settings. Depending on the phone you are using, your Bluetooth may come on randomly as a feature of the phone. If this doesn’t happen usually and you notice it all of a sudden, it could be a sign of malware using it to steal your data.
6. Unexplained Phone Reboots, Doesn’t Shut Down Or Acts Strangely
It can be frustrating when using your phone and it restarts on its own without any reason. It’s also weird when it refuses to shut down, or starts making calls you didn’t put through. While these may be the result of software errors, it could also point to remote access to your phone by a hacker.
7. Purchases You Didn’t Initiate Show Up On Your Credit Card
Unexplained purchases showing up on your credit card is majorly a pointer to credit card fraud, but if your phone is hacked, it could be used to bypass fraud protection. If your bank informs you of blocked suspicious transactions, check your phone too as it may be coming from there.
How to Deal with Phone Hacks?
If your phone or tablet shows one or more of the above signs, and you are convinced you have been compromised, you can do the following to get your life back:
1 . Use Antivirus and Antimalware Software
The easiest and first point of call to dealing with malware and viruses is to run a virus and malware scan on the device. Use multiple software to run the scan as they don’t all have the same threat library.
2. Check Reputable Sites for Announcements of New Threats
There are cybersecurity websites that are dedicated to providing the public with information about new types of threats. The information usually comes with ways to combat it, so you could benefit from that.
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3. Remove Any Apps That You Don’t Recognize
Trusted apps are those you installed from the app store. If you installed any apps from a third party, uninstall them. Also, uninstall any apps you are not comfortable with and overall you can check online for apps to be sure they are not a threat to you.
4. Show It to A Professional
Sometimes, the level of attack on your phone is such that can’t be taken care of by simple methods and would need the expertise of a professional to get the hacker off your phone.
5. Format Your Device
Restore factory settings and only reinstall the apps that you need from the app store. Wiping your phone takes the malware with it.
6. Change Your Passwords
If malware infected your phone, it’s also possible that your accounts have been compromised. Change the passwords for your emails, social media accounts, and other accounts that are logged in on the phone using another device that hasn’t been tampered with.
How to Protect Your Phone from Hackers and Malware?
It’s better to prevent the attack on your phone that tries to salvage the situation because it’s mostly difficult to get rid of a hacker from your phone. The following are ways you can prevent hackers and malware from attacking your phone:
1 . Avoid Public Wi-Fi Hotspots
A public Wi-Fi may be a trap set by a hacker waiting for a victim. Connecting to such Wi-Fi puts your data at risk of theft so if you must, do it over a VPN. a VPN encrypts your traffic so that whatever data you share would be protected, and even if a hacker steals such data, it would be useless to them.
To ensure you don’t connect to such malicious hotspots, turn off your Wi-Fi auto-connect, and only connect manually to networks you trust. Also, turn off your Bluetooth and hotspot when not in use.
2. Only Install Apps from The Official App Store
Apps from the app store are less likely to have malware hidden in them when compared to apps you can install from third parties. The worst apps from the app store can have are features that take away your privacy, but nothing criminal. It’s good to always backup your data so that if there is a need to wipe off phone data, it’ll be an easy choice to make.
3. Don’t Click On Suspicious Links or Download Suspicious Files
If you are not sure of the link, don’t click on it. If you are in doubt, then it could be malicious. Even if it’s from someone you know, confirm before clicking on it. This is because malware spreads itself by sending messages to your contacts, so always be sure of any actions you take.
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4. Install Antivirus Software and Keep It Updated
Antivirus software will often help protect you from malware attacks. As technology keeps advancing, so also malware, keep your antivirus updated so it can have the necessary tools to detect and clean malware.
5. Only Use a Trusted Charger
USB chargers can be used to steal data from your phone, so only use chargers you trust. If you must use a charger that isn’t yours, make sure you select the ‘charge only’ option so that data can’t be transferred.
7. Use A VPN
A VPN encrypts your internet connection, making data theft a useless act. So if an attacker steals your data while you are sending traffic, the data would be impossible to read because it’s encrypted. Good VPNs go further to protect your privacy and keep you anonymous while online. LimeVPN is highly recommended when security and privacy are involved.
8. Use A Pin or Other Forms of Protection On Your Phone
A pin, password, or other forms of protection will prevent unauthorized access to your phone. So you can avoid those attacks that require physical access to your phone by the attacker. To take your safety even further, avoid storing sensitive information like bank details on your phone.
Malware attacks are very common, and the common goal is to steal data from you. how then can you tell if hackers are controlling your phone? There are a lot of signs that point towards an attack on your phone including slow phone, battery drains, contacts receiving messages you didn’t send, and a lot more.
While there are different ways to protect your data, the use of a VPN will do the job even better. Since a VPN encrypts every connection and traffic you send, your data would be useless even if stolen.