Smartphones leave a digital footprint of all that we do when online and also as we move around. Data is building up and being transmitted, even if we are unaware of these actions. Our phones are a treasure trove to criminals should they hack your phone.
Phone hacking involves the downloading of spyware which then transmits real-time information about your activities. Such details could include login in details and passwords for social media or your online banking details.
The easiest way for this to happen is when your device is infected with malware.
The issue here for many users is how can you tell your phone has been hacked and what you can do to protect your phone in the future.
In our guide, you can learn what to know about if your phone has been hacked and how you can keep your phone safe moving forward. (Read Can Your Phone Provider See Your Internet History)
How to Tell if Your Android Phone Has Been Hacked
Although much of this information is regarding Android, it doesn’t mean iOS and iPhone users are free from the risks. There are far more Android devices globally, and it is where hackers push most of their focus.
The question is, what are the signs your phone has been hacked? Here are several warning signs your phone is hacked.
Phone Won’t Hold a Charge
Smartphones use lots of batteries, although if yours won’t hold a charge, it can be a sign, things are running in the background. Even if you think your phone is off, some spyware or malware can be active without you knowing.
High Data Usage
If you have a data plan, you’ll need to keep an eye on your usage. If the user is higher than it used to be, and you are not doing anything different, it could be a potential hack.
While bugs in apps can have the same effect, it is more likely spyware or apps a hacker has installed on your phone.
Strange Text Messages
Even if you get random sales texts, there are ones that appear strange all the way through. You can receive them in a foreign language, full of numbers and symbols, and more. You may find this is the first sign someone else has got use your phone. (Learn How to Watch On My Block Episodes)
If you have a new phone, then there are lots of apps that are pre-installed. However, if you start to see suspicious-looking apps that are new, it is a sign your phone is compromised.
If you see this, never open or run such an app to find out what it is. If it is baked into the phone, then you can’t uninstall it, so it’s not possible to do any damage.
Your Phone Turns On Automatically
You may spot things happening when using your phone, yet they can do things when turned off. If your screen lights up when your phone is off, it is a clear indication you are a victim of a hacking job. (Learn How To Deactivate Facebook On iPhone)
Codes to Check if Phone is Hacked
Android phones have a built-in code to check if phone is hacked to help determine what is happening with your phone. There are different codes, and some could be useful when suspecting hackers on your phone.
*#62*: When you dial this number, it gives you phone numbers that have received calls, text messages, or any other redirected data. Typically, this should be blank. If messages or data have been redirected to an unknown phone number, you’ll find this a sign phone has been hacked.
##002#: Dialing this number overrules previous redirection commands and stops any more from happening. However, hackers rarely rely on one means to get data.
*#21#: If you call this number, you get a list of diverted calls and are nearly always a result of someone tampering with your phone.
Apps to Check if Your Phone Has Been Hacked
It is possible to use apps to help you understand if there is malicious software on your mobile device, and it’s been hacked. You can find many reliable security software apps to use on your smartphone to find and possibly remove any phone tapping app it finds.
You can try these reliable antivirus apps and try each one in turn from the Google Play Store.
Avast protects personal data for users worldwide and is the number one rated Android malware scanner.
With a single tap, your antivirus engine scans for dangerous, malicious apps and Trojans to protect your smartphone against spyware and viruses. (Find the Best Free Anti-Virus)
Norton Mobile Security
Norton’s free antivirus software offers impressive Android security features. The app offers a nearly 100% detection rate of suspicious apps to keep your device safe and can remove malware, spyware, even if you don’t notice it yourself.
Sophos Intercept X
Sophos is an independent security company, which has been offering award-winning apps. It is effective against malware, and there are many other settings to lock down your phone using the free version.
Kaspersky Internet Security is a great way to secure personal information on your smartphone. It is currently one of the best antivirus apps for Android devices. In the free version, you will find your sensitive data is cared for, even if it does need manual scanning for malware and viruses.
How to Fix a Hacked Android Phone?
Here are a few ways you can protect your phone, be it Android or an Apple iPhone.
- Activate find my Phone: To avoid a mobile hack is activate Find my iPhone. If you lost your phone, you can log on to find My iPhone from another device and remotely wipe personal data. It is also possible to have the phone wipe the data after 10 incorrect guesses of entering a passcode.
- Run Mobile Anti-Virus Software: Above, we gave you examples of device mobile security software that can be used on Android and iOS.
- Keep your phone Updated: Make sure all your apps and your device are updated with the latest versions.
- Check credit card statements: Keep an eye on your credit card statements. If you notice any unusual activity, it means your phone could be hacked.
Remove a Hacker from My Phone
Android: It’s effortless to remove malware if you have the right software solution. Use one of the above that offers real-time monitoring or run manual scans regularly.
iPhone: Many people think their iPhone is acting weird, yet this doesn’t always mean it’s malware. It could be something like pop-ups. You can try this to see if it helps.
- Head to settings
- Toggle Safari ‘Block Pop-ups On’
- Clear history and website data
- Head to Advanced – Website Data. You can see here top websites. With a clean history, you’ll see it populating. If you spot an unfamiliar website you have visited, you can swipe left and delete the site.
Generally, when you download apps from Apple App Store or Google Play Store, you know these are safe and secure.
One of the best ways to get rid of a hacker from your phone is to carry out a factory reset. You will find this effective, yet it is also extreme to do so as you can lose everything on your phone. Carrying out a factory reset returns your phone to the original settings and apps. Make sure you back up personal information before doing this.
It is straightforward to do this on Android, yet a little more in-depth on an Apple device.
Here’s how you erase all the settings and content from an iPhone.
- Go to Settings – General – Reset.
- You may need to enter your passcode here. You may also be asked to enter your Apple ID password
- Tap Erase All Content and Settings.
- When your iPhone restarts and has erased all the content and settings, you can set up the iPhone as a new one or restore your detailed information from your backup.
One important thing to do is stop a hacker from getting access to your phone in the first place. Besides this, you need to maintain your privacy in the process.
Here are a couple of ways you can do this after you get rid of any current threats.
Use strong passwords and 2FA
Hard to break passwords are required, as is two-factor authentication where it can be used. This makes it more of a challenge for hackers to do anything on your device.
Using a password will stop anyone from accessing your phone if you leave it lying around unattended.
Use a VPN
You tend to find any malicious software installed on phones that might come from open networks, such as public Wi-Fi in coffee shops. Hackers frequent these areas in the hope to find someone who has weak security, and this they can find online activities of use to them.
A VPN will mask your IP address and thus make you appear in another location. It can be much harder for someone to install malware if they think you’re in another country. (Find the Cheapest VPN Australia)
There are countless threats on the internet, and a VPN is quickly becoming the best way to protect you online besides using one of the antivirus packages mentioned earlier.
You can download a VPN and start trying it for free while using the money-back guarantee