Something’s not right. Maybe your phone is losing its charge way too quickly. Or one day it suddenly starts turning itself off and on again. Perhaps it’s running hot--so hot it’s hard to hold. Likewise, you might see outgoing calls that you never dialled or strange spikes in your data usage.
Signs like these could mean that your smartphone’s been hacked.
Several signs of a potential smartphone hack can look like a technical issue, at least on the surface. Yet the fact is that these issues may be a symptom of a deeper problem, such as malware installed on your smartphone. Malware can eat up system resources or conflict with other apps and your operating system, all of which can cause your phone to act sluggish or erratically.
Yet, in a way, that’s good news. Because malware can run inefficiently on your phone and create hiccups both large and small, it can tip you off to its presence. And with all the important information we carry in the palms of our hands nowadays, that’s good news twice over. Knowing the signs, subtle or otherwise can alert you to an otherwise largely invisible problem.
Hacking software and their symptoms
Whether hackers physically sneak it onto your phone or by tricking you into installing it via a phoney app, a sketchy website, or a phishing attack, hacking software can create problems for you in a couple of ways:
Some possible signs of hacking software on your phone include:
Maybe you’ve seen some of the signs we mentioned earlier. Is your device operating slower, are web pages and apps harder to load, or does your battery never seem to keep a charge? These are all signs that you could have malware running in the background, sapping your phone’s resources.
Your phone feels like it’s running hot
Like the performance issues above, malware or mining apps running in the background can burn extra computing power (and data). Aside from sapping performance, malware and mining apps can cause your phone to run hot or even overheat.
Mystery apps or data
If you find apps you haven’t downloaded, or calls, texts, and emails that you didn’t send, that’s a red flag. A hacker may have hijacked your phone to send premium-rate calls or messages or to spread malware to your contacts. Similarly, if you see spikes in your data usage, that could be a sign of a hack as well.
Pop-ups or changes to your screen
Malware can also be behind spammy pop-ups, changes to your home screen, or bookmarks to suspicious websites. In fact, if you see any configuration changes you didn’t personally make, this is another big clue that your smartphone has been hacked.
What to do if you’re worried that your phone has been hacked?
10 tips to prevent your phone from being hacked
While there are several ways a hacker can get into your phone and steal personal and critical information, here are a few tips to keep that from happening:
— Pratim Mukherjee is Director, Software Engineering, at McAfee. Views expressed are personal.
(Edited by : Vijay Anand)
First Published: IST