Smartphones are prone to get hacked since the majority of people use smartphones for all their regular online activities such as online transactions, banking, trading and even being online on various social media platforms, etc. There are several methodologies that let smartphone users identify the symptoms when their phone gets hacked. In case you feel any one of the below you can definitely go ahead and cross-check if the threat actors have hacked your phone.
Major Symptoms of Phone Hacking
With the latest smartphones, people have also developed a different perspective on hacking which lets them identify if their phone has been hacked. Below are the most common symptoms that state if your phone has been compromised or your data is under grave threat:
⚑ Your Phone Is Behaving Differently:
Phones do behave differently at times, which is normal. But, if your smartphone happens to behave oddly frequently or regularly such as the screen turns on all of a sudden, the phone flashes light quite frequently, makes bizarre noises, or shuts down by itself. It could indicate that your phone has been hacked. The hackers might be operating your phone or making use of it for different malicious purposes. It is also that they may be gathering data from your cell phone that they can sell on the various darknet markets and hack forums.
⚑ Your Phone’s Battery Is Draining Fast:
If spy software or spyware has been installed on your phone, it may use up a lot of battery resulting in fast battery drainage. It is possible that a threat actor may have installed a spyware application on your phone to keep a track of your data. Also, as a matter of fact, a phone gets older and it loses its ability to hold a charge for a long time. Hence, the charge drops quite unusually. If the second instance is not what you think it is, then it might be that the hackers are misusing your phone in some way or the other.
⚑ Your Phone Shuts Down Frequently:
If you usually do not have a problem with your cell phone, but you suddenly notice that it blinks or shuts down more often, you can assume that hackers may have broken into your phone. Alternatively, you can take your phone for a checkup to make sure that your cell phone is working absolutely fine.
⚑ You Detect Background Noise:
Sometimes your phone can make specific noises which may be because of a poor connection. But if you find out this occurs quite often, it may be a red flag that you need to worry about. Specific sounds such as static clicking, voices in the background, or beeping could mean a threat. Call recording features or call listening features may make certain noises at times as they utilize your phone as a call conference tool.
⚑ You Receive Unusual Texts:
If you have recently spotted unusual text messages that consist of a unique combination of numbers, characters, and/or symbols, then it could possibly mean that your phone may have been compromised. Sometimes, the spyware apps send secret coded messages to your phone, and it is that you may have spotted a few of them when the apps were malfunctioning. If this incidence occurs every now and then, your phone has definitely been hacked.
⚑ Your Data Exhausts Quickly:
Some of the spyware apps exhaust more data than usual for sending data that they have collected from your phone. So, if you rigorously experience a hike in your data consumption and high billing, you can count that as a case of phone hacking.
These are some of the most common red flags of phone hacking that people generally talk about. Some of them have also complained of heated-up phones which generally happens when the hackers mine cryptocurrencies using your device. You need to take precautions and measures as soon as you confirm that your phone has been compromised.
How To Prevent Smartphones From Getting Compromised?
Several ways are there, which if implemented can help you stay protected from your smartphones getting hacked. Here I have listed out the most crucial and effective steps to abide by:
☛ Update Your Applications And Operating Systems:
Some of us have a very bad habit of not updating the applications and the OS when prompted. The reason being limited data, forgetfulness, or carelessness. Whatever be the reason, if the security patches are not installed, those apps and the OS makes the phone vulnerable to hacking and data breaches. Thus, as soon as you are prompted, you must upgrade and update.
☛ Don’t Connect To The Public Wi-Fi:
Public Wi-Fi is generally open in nature. They are kept open as they are meant for the public and people can join the network without having to go through the password hassle. The public venue is the favorite spot for the threat actors as they can break into the phones and laptops of so many people simultaneously. If you can omit connecting to the public network, it is best. If you have to connect, use a premium VPN that would help you stay safe. Additionally, do not keep your Bluetooth open unnecessarily.
☛ Lock Your Smartphone When Not In Use:
Some of us often forget to lock our phones and some others do not keep a password for their phone. This is what makes it easier for the people accessing your phone when you are unaware of it to get your data that they are or maybe not supposed to have a look at. There are so many options for passwords such as face unlock, fingerprint, passcode, and pattern. You can choose whatever fits you. If you are using a passcode, make sure you use a minimum six to eight-digit passcode.
☛ Do Not Overshare Your Phone Number:
You must never share your phone number unnecessarily with all of the apps on your phone. The more apps that get access to your phone number, the more vulnerable you fall to the SMS scams. Your protected 2FA accounts can also have an invasion. You can take the help of the Google Assistant that adds a second line to your cell phone.
☛ Never Overshare On The Social Media:
It is absolutely okay to use your original name on different social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. But you must refrain from sharing heaps of personal information on social media such as a home town, addresses, phone numbers, work locations, family members’ names, and other related details that the hackers may utilize to track you. You must check the settings of your social media profiles and conceal as much data as possible.
☛ Keep Your Phone Space Optimal:
Restrict the storage of personal information on your phone including files or documents. Limit the total number of geotagged photos in the Gallery or the camera roll. Frequently transfer all your files and documents to your computer and discard the confidential emails from the employer, financial and health-related accounts.
☛ Implement Two-Factor Authentication (2FA):
You must use the 2FA or the Two-Factor Authentication whenever and wherever possible. Though it may seem to put an extra effort, yet it is worth the effort such as in the passwords. It adds a second layer of protection.
☛ Make Use Of Strong Passwords:
Passwords are pretty vulnerable to getting hacked. Thus, you must use very strong passwords that the hackers find difficult to crack. Do not use common passwords like the name of your pet, your name, date of birth, etc. Instead use passwords having the combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. You can also seek the help of secure password operators to generate a password. Lie to the security question that you have set up. Do not forget to change your passwords every six to eight months.
☛ Beware of Phishing And Spam Emails:
The hackers find it pretty easy to invade your phone via your email inbox. The phishing emails are designed in such a manner that you will get trapped and click on the email and the phishing links that might have been attached to it. Also, do not access the financial accounts using random emails. Instead, visit the authentic website and then log in.
☛ Utilize The In-built Device Protections:
Set up the “find my phone” (‘Find My iPhone’ for iPhones or ‘Find My Device’ for Android). If your phone is lost, no one will be able to access the data within it. You can also choose to delete all the information after a couple of incorrect password insertion attempts.
☛ Use A Good Antivirus App:
Malware is a hackers’ best friend when it comes to stealing information especially passwords and other account information. You can choose one from the range of available Antivirus apps. It will ensure no malware gets downloaded when you attempt to download anything from the internet and thus you are not hacked.
☛ Manage Your App Permissions:
You need to check the app permission already installed on your smartphone. You may go ahead and choose to grant or deny specific permissions for specific apps.
☛ Backup Your Phone:
You must be prepared for the worst and backup your phone in case it gets lost, hacked, or stolen.
☛ Know The Source Of The Apps:
Never download any outdated app on your phone. Make sure you are downloading the apps from a reliable source. Your phone’s market is the only source you should trust. For the iPhone, it is Apple’s App Store, For Windows, it is Microsoft Store or Webstore and for the Android users, it is Google Play Store. Do not download apps via text messages.
☛ Do Not Use The Public Chargers:
You must never use public chargers. It is better that you carry your charger. Even if you have to use a USB to connect to a public computer, make sure you save the settings for charging only. Else, hackers will get through the USB and conduct phone hacking, especially termed as “Juice Jacking”.
☛ Never Jailbreak:
Jailbreaking any of your phones is never a good idea. You may have access to certain apps and OS through the third-party APKs, but if it comes with malware your original OS personnel will never be able to pull out of the situation. They will straightforwardly decline your request.
For protecting your cell phones from getting hacked, these are some of the many rules or precautions you need to completely follow. Otherwise, there are high chances you will end up offering your data for free to hackers and other malicious threat actors.