How to Tell If A Phone is Hacked – Hacked Phones May Make Strange Noises – Your Phone or the Apps Installed on it May Not Function as Well as They Used To
Are you wondering if your Phone is hacked? Although we all complain about short battery life and apps that work slowly, they aren’t necessarily a sign that your phone is hacked. Often when a phone manufacturer or wireless provider pushes an operating system update or an app developer adds new features, we are left with a less than ideal user experience. Security apps can help protect a phone.
A hacked phone or the apps installed on it may not function as well as they used to. But sometimes, a slow phone is not just the result of a bad update. Hacked phone often have hot batteries, reduced battery life, apps that won’t open or close, or a phone that won’t shut down. These are all serious concerns that may require the use of antivirus software to clean up your hacked phone.
Ways Your Phone Can Be Hacked
- Malicious Charging Stations
If you think those convenient charging stations and airports and hotels are simply charging stations then guess again free charging stations found in restaurants airports and hotels can track your device ID and your location and send it back to the vendor who sells that information to advertisers even if the charging station is perfectly legit it’s possible that a hacker can use the charging station to install malware on your Phone you should only charge your Phone using a standard electrical wall outlet it’s OK to use USB charging cords at home but not in public places USB cords can transfer in charge of device but can also transfer data including malware.
Malware is any unwanted software or app installed on a phone, tablet, laptop, router, or other electronic device. Malware includes computer viruses, ransomware, adware, or any other computer code that has an undesired result or causes damage to a device. Ransomware is a type of malware that locks up files or an entire device and demands payment of a ransom, often in Bitcoin, to relinquish control. Adware is it type of malware that uses a phone for click-fraud or sends numerous. uncontrollable pop-up advertisements.
- Malicious Apps
Malicious apps are often unintentionally downloaded from within games or during other app downloads. A malicious app is any unwanted app that. It may be malware, ransomware, adware, or other malicious code. Frequently hackers encourage people playing mobile games on their phones, to try out a new game by downloading it from within their current game. This is one of the most common ways to insert a malicious app and to a users’ device.
Smartphone users should never download apps outside an official app store. Although there’s no guarantee that Google Play or the Apple Store are virus free, they certainly offer more protection then downloading from third-party, untrusted websites.
- Text Messages
Text messages are an easy way for a hacker to send links to malware file downloads or to malicious websites. With an SMS text message, the hacker or spammer sends a brief message to random phone numbers. The messages encourage the recipients to click on links. If the message recipient clicks on a malicious link, they begin a malware download or end up on a hacker’s spoof website that attempts to infect the phone, phish sensitive information, or steal money.
- Phishing email
Phishing emails are another very common way to hack a phone. A phishing email is sent to a victim. If they open the phishing email, the message encourages tricks the reader into clicking on a link or replying with personal information. Just like the malicious text message, clicking on a link begins a malware download, steals login credentials to financial accounts, or sends the reader to a spoof website.
You’ll know that your phone is hacked by a phishing email because the phone begins to function differently right away. Often the phishing email links to a hacker website that loads pages very slowly because it’s actually using up your data connection to download malware or upload your personal information.
- Someone Accessed Your Phone
Accessing your physical phone in person is one of the least tech savvy ways to hack a device. Someone might get a hold of your phone and install spyware which monitors all activities including calls, contact lists, text messages, and even location. If you lose or misplace your phone or leave it unattended in a public place, someone could also access all the information apps on your phone including credit card and banking apps.
To prevent your phone from being hacked by someone who gets breaks into it, use a password vault app or biometric login protection to keep the phone and all the information on it protected.
Signs That Your Phone Is Hacked
- New Apps Are Installed on Your Device–And You Didn’t Install Them
If you log into your Phone one day and find that there are new apps on your screen or listed under settings then your Phone is hacked sometimes with an operating system update the Phone manufacturer or your wireless provider may install new apps are update old ones period this can cause them to look different or function differently but if you see apps that seem very unfamiliar and won’t let you uninstall them then that’s a sign that your Phone is hacked
- Your Device Runs Hotter Than Before
Another sign that your phone is hacked is that it feels much hotter than normal. Ransomware, adware, and spyware can run constantly. They use up a lot of system resources and can cause the phone to feel warm or even hot to the touch. Anytime your device is feeling strangely hot to the touch, it’s a sign that is doing something without your interaction or knowledge. It’s possible that’s receiving and sending data in the background are keeping apps open after you think they are shut down.
- Shorter Battery Life
Just like with a device feeling abnormally hot, shorter battery life is a sign that a phone is hacked. Malicious apps tend to stay open and run continuously, even when you think the phone is locked. Malware may run in the background without any notifications or windows open on top so you the user is unaware. Shorter battery life is a sign that your processor and data are being used constantly at the behest of malware or a rogue app.
- You Receive Strange Messages
If you receive strange text messages this may be an attempt to hack your phone. Hackers send messages to phone to trick recipients into clicking on links to infect their phone or use it as part of a bot net.
- Your Phone Sends Messages
If your phone is sending messages to people on your contact list or even phone numbers that you don’t recognize, that’s a sign that your phone has been hacked . Although hackers are out to make money, they may first try to use and hacked phone to infect as many other devices as possible. Once the phone is hacked, it can be used to attempt to infect even more phones, tablets, or laptops. If you’re phone is sending messages that you did not initiate, then this is a sure sign that your Phone is compromised.
- Websites and Apps Look Different or Strange
If a hacker installed malware on your phone and is intercepting messages, calls, recording information, or using data, it may be affecting how things look. Apps and websites may look strange. The colors and resolution on the screen may look different than they did before. If your phone just doesn’t look the same and it has not received a major operating system update recently, your phone might be hacked.
- Pop-up Windows or Notifications Appear on Your Phone
We’re all familiar with annoying pop-up windows, advertisements, or notifications that appear on websites or from apps. If you haven’t installed anything new or made any settings changes and pop-up windows or other notifications start appearing on your phone, then that’s a sign that your phone is hacked by malware or adware. Look for new icons on your phone’s screen. Go into your phone’s settings and look at the list of apps to see if there’s anything suspicious or new. You may need antivirus software to help remove it.
- Apps Stop Working Properly
When your phone is hacked, some apps may stop working properly or not function altogether. This includes apps that won’t open or are very slow to function. You may not be able to shut down apps or close web browsers. Malware is often programmed to resist being closed or uninstalled. If the user manages to close the app, it simply starts up again. if some apps are not working properly try to locate the malware and uninstall it. If you can’t, then get a good antivirus software with mobile device protection.
- Your Wireless Service Provider Bill Has Unexpected Charge
Hacked phones often run constantly sending data back and forth in the background without your knowledge. If you notice that your phone is using a lot of data or see on your cell phone bill that there are high data charges, this is a sure sign that your phone is hacked. Although it’s possible there just may be a rogue app that has given itself permission to run in the background all the time excessively high data charges, a hot phone case, and a short battery life are often the sign of a hacked phone. If you cannot remove the malicious app, then install antivirus software to clean up your phone. It’s best to have antivirus software installed on the phone before you ever need them.
- Your Email from The Device Is Getting Blocked by Spam Filters
If you find that your email from your phone was blocked by spam filters or friends are saying they never received your email, it may be because your email address is associated with spamming. When your phone is hacked, a spammer might use your text messages or email accounts to infect more phones. This may result in your email being blocked by email services and their spam filters.
My Phone Is Hacked – What Do I Do?
Verify that there is no money missing form your bank account, fraudulent transaction on your credit card, or app store purchases that you don’t recognize. Notify your bank and credit cards that you’ve been hacked. You can also get identity protection and antivirus software for your phone. Change all of your passwords and use two-factor authentication (2FA) and including biometrics if your phone or apps use them.
How to Prevent Your Phone from Being Hacked
- Use A Mobile Security App
- Do not “Root” or “Jailbreaking” Your Phone
- Keep Your Accounts Secure by Using Unique and Complex Passwords for Every Account
- Don’t Use Public WiFi for anything except web browsing
- Never Click on a Link in a Text, Message, or Email from an Unknown Number
Michelle writes about cyber security, data privacy focusing on social media privacy as well as how to protect your IoT devices. She has worked in internet technology for over 20 years and owns METRONY, LLC. Michelle earned a B.S. in Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Michelle published a guide to Cyber Security for Business Travelers