Nowadays, it’s hard to find a person without a smartphone. With the ease of technology, the proliferation of smartphone culture has also brought in various kinds of security threats. A lot of sensitive information is being stored on these smartphones as people use them for online banking, shopping, emails, and other communications. From phishing lures to deploying mobile spyware, threat actors leverage different social engineering tactics to compromise/spy users’ mobile devices.
By Rudra Srinivas, Senior Feature Writer, CISO MAG
The smarter our phones, the more we become vulnerable to cybersecurity risks.
5 Signs Your Phone Is Hacked
While there are no standard measures to determine whether a smartphone is compromised or not, you can find out by observing the functions of your device. Here are five signs that will help you know if your smartphone is behaving erratically or controlled by others:
1. Unusual Messages and Pop-ups
If you are receiving inappropriate messages or unwanted ad pop-ups on your smartphone, it may indicate the presence of mobile malware or spyware. Threat actors often target/trick users with various phishing lures via flashing ads or malicious links, which, when clicked, redirect the users to a hacker-controlled webpage or take full control of the device by deploying additional payloads.
2. Presence of Unusual Apps
There could be multiple reasons for a sudden increase in internet usage. But if mobile data is higher than usual without your consent, your device is likely compromised. Hackers and fraudsters consume your mobile’s data to run their apps in stealth mode in the background.
3. High Usage of the Internet
Identify unusual installs or suspicious apps on your smartphone that you did not download. It could be the act of cybercriminals as they download fake/malicious apps embedded with spyware to monitor users’ activity and steal sensitive information. If you find any messages you didn’t send or calls you didn’t make, it’s likely a hacker’s act.
Also Read: How to Spot Malicious or Fake Apps
4. Increased Battery Drainage
While a smartphone’s battery life decreases with time, a phone infected with malware or spyware shows a significant battery drain than usual. This is due to the presence of hacker-controlled malware/spyware apps on your device. These malicious apps leverage mobile resources like data and battery to run in the background, monitor the device, and transfer the data to the cybercriminal servers.
5. Slow Performance
Smartphones come with a variety of specifications and capabilities, which also decline over time. But if you feel the performance of your smartphone suddenly has degraded, then it’s time to act. Compromised mobile devices often freeze out, crash applications, and experience continued running of apps even after closing them.
How to Restore Your Hacked Smartphone
- Download a robust mobile security app or anti-malware software on your device to scan and eliminate malware/spyware from it.
- Change the login credentials of all accounts immediately.
- Uninstall all suspicious apps from the device.
- Inform your contacts to not click/respond to any suspicious messages or links received from you as they could be malicious.
- If you’re still facing the same issues with your device, restore your smartphone to its factory settings.
How to Protect Your Smartphone from Hackers
- Turn off your mobile hotspot and Bluetooth when in public.
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi and charging points.
- Don’t leave your device unattended. Always lock it with a password.
- Frequently review the apps you’ve downloaded on your smartphone. Immediately delete if you find any suspicious apps.
- Continue using updated anti-malware apps and software.
- Use VPNs to secure your browsing and keep it private.
- Always download apps and attachments from trusted sources only (Play Store and App Store).
- While traveling, avoid using public USB charging points or use a USB condom if you must.
Smartphones are an undeniable part of our lives. The increased usage of smart devices has become the primary reason for cybercriminals to compromise devices and steal information. Threat actors will always find new ways to break into smartphones. Mindful use of smartphones, awareness of potential mobile threats, and practicing cyber hygiene can only help users against the rising mobile threat landscape.
Rudra Srinivas is a Senior Feature Writer and part of the editorial team at CISO MAG. He writes news and feature stories on cybersecurity trends.