Is your phone hacked? Here's what you should do

Is your phone hacked? Here’s what you should doSource: Shutterstock

Here’s what you should do if your phone is hacked

  • Phone hacking is more common than most of us would like to think but what’s even less known is how to deal with it.
  • Tech Wire Asia compiled ways to stay ahead of the game.

A phone getting hacked is not an isolated incident – in fact it’s quite common in today’s day and age. Not only can it impact your privacy, phone hacking can also compromise your identity without you even knowing. Because fraudsters are continuously evolving, improving their hacking methods, it is getting increasingly harder to spot when your phone has been compromised. 

In simple words, the average user might be blind sighted by any number of cyberattacks. For starters, the list of reasons for someone to hack a phone is endless, from access to photos, private data, text messages, and even banking details – making the device the perfect target for a hacker.

Here are signs to look for when your phone is hacked

Whether you like it or not, the entire process could take place in seconds. It could be from an app that you downloaded that has malware installed, or you may have clicked on a malicious link, or even used unsecured public Wi-Fi. 

Among the many ways, the few prominent red flags that indicate someone has breached your phone are higher than usual data usage, your phone loses charge quickly, unfamiliar apps, text or calls not made by you or even strange activity on some of your online accounts.

There are many reasons for high data usage such as watching high-quality videos, uploading high-quality pics, automatically updating apps, or faster network speeds. However, if you are certain that your phone behavior has remained the same but the data usage doesn’t match, it’s time to investigate. A breached phone could also run abnormally slower, so look out for unexpected freezing, crashes, and restarts.

Cybersecurity experts including Kaspersky have also shared how malware and fraudulent apps sometimes use malicious code that drains a lot of power. If you notice your phone battery depletes at an excessive rate, it may be a sign that your device has been compromised.

Experts suggest checking the battery usage menu on your device to see if there’s an app with an unusual name that’s killing your battery. One of the clearest sign of your phone being hacked is when you notice your phone sending messages to unfamiliar numbers. Experts say unauthorized activity of any kind in this area will be a major red flag.

How to stop someone from hacking your phone

Even though Apple has strong built-in security, hackers are using increasingly creative and complex ways to access your iPhone, iCloud, and Apple ID accounts. If you notice the aforementioned activities in your iPhone, Samsung or other smartphones, you can download and run a scan with high-quality security software, which will be able tell you if you’ve actually been hacked.

Some security software made for iOS and Android can also assess any issues on smartphones and show ways to fix them quickly. If there are suspicious, never-seen-before apps in your phone, proceed to delete them because apps are still a very common way for hackers to gain access to your phone. Those apps could have been added secretly when connected to unsecured Wi-Fi or when a phishing link is clicked.

It’s also best to avoid the temptation of free Wi-Fi. It is a common fact that public Wi-Fi carries a major security risk. Connecting to an unsecured public Wi-Fi network also means opening up your mobile’s info to anyone else on that wireless network. If push comes to shove, one may connect themself to public Wi-Fi with a virtual private network (VPN).

Kaspersky also reckon to never jailbreak your phone, because while it allows you to download from unofficial app stores, jailbreaking ups your risk of unknowingly getting hacked. “Aside from malware or spyware, this means you’ll miss security patches in the latest OS updates. Jailbreakers skip updates to keep the jailbreak functional. This makes your risks of being hacked even higher than normal,” it said.

Finally, the majority of hacking malware can be removed by resetting your phones back to factory settings. It means removing all data but as a last resort it will ensure the device is as good as new.