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How to tell if your phone has been hacked and what to do if fears were confirmed

Submitted on 04/03/2019

Have you noticed that your smartphone operates in a strange way? Battery power runs out incredibly fast, new apps appear on the screen and your device heats up rapidly, even if you haven't used it for several hours, doesn't it?

All of the mentioned above plus many other less noticeable signs can indicate that your gadget has been hacked. In order to find out whether your personal data, including photos, pics, contacts, messages, as well as passwords to social nets and payment apps are protected, check your phone according to the list of the signs indicating that your device has been hacked. Even one positive answer can be a cause to be concerned with the security of your privacy and wallet.

The signs of hacking

  • Your phone discharges too fast. If the battery of your mobile device is rapidly draining, reducing the device operating time by several hours (compared to normal use), it's likely that malware operates in background mode;
  • Suspicious apps. If you see in the general list the icons of new apps which you didn't install, it might also mean that your device has been hacked;
  • Weird notifications. If weird messages with unreadable characters, links or notifications about requests execution are shown on the screen and you have nothing to do with it, it also doesn't bode well for you since it might mean that hackers have already gained access to your data;
  • Uncontrolled financial statement. If your mobile account bears charges, although you're pretty sure that you didn't make calls to toll-free numbers, didn't order additional services and you aren't involved in any financial transactions, then your gadget is certainly hacked;
  • Operation failures. Strange signals during a conversation, extraneous noise or even disconnections when you have a good signal level can also show that somebody uses the microphone of your device or even listens to your conversations.

Have you detected anything suspicious? You have to do everything possible in order to regain control over your device and life and not allow hackers to steal your personal data.

How to unhack your phone

  1. Check hacked phone for viruses. Most often data from mobile devices falls into the hands of hackers via malware or to put it simply viruses which transmit information from your device directly to hackers. The easiest way to get a virus on your phone is to download an app from an untrusted source. The easiest way to find out whether your smartphone has viruses is to check it via an antivirus, i.e. a program detecting and removing viruses.
  2. Check the statistics of battery usage. Battery should be discharged in direct proportion to the use of smartphone. You can track which apps consume battery charge (including the ones running in background) in “Power consumption” section of your device.
  3. Get rid of suspicious apps. The presence of a large number of apps is definitely not useful for any gadget when the presence of malware is for sure harmful. Therefore you should remove suspicious apps from your smartphone and in future install them only from the official markets and pay attention to the permissions you provide for their operation.
  4. Check the statistics of your phone mobile traffic usage. If you usually don't toggle off mobile internet, check the statistics of data transfer in order to track the suspicious activity of your device.
  5. Use only reliable Wi-Fi access points. Avoid using public Wi-Fi points for entering payment clients and making bank transfers or any other financial transactions. Public networks are poorly protected and there is a risk of connecting to a network belonging to hackers via which they'll be able to get their hands on your data. It won't do any harm to actually disable automatic connection.
  6. Update your phone to the latest version. You shouldn't ignore the system notifications about the release of a new version of your operating system. This is done in order to improve security level and fight with updated threats. Believe us, you'd rather spend half an hour installing a new version of Android and rebooting your gadget than eliminating the consequences of hacking.
  7. Check your credit card account for any suspicious charges. Using mobile payment systems is very convenient, but by linking a card to your smartphone you're putting yourself at risk. If you don't want to deprive yourself of comfort but the security of your gadget has been violated, you should contact your bank and request the history of transactions. After you detect any suspicious transaction, take actions even if you have to block the old account and open a new one.
  8. The last resort is to perform Hard Reset on your phone, after creating a backup copy of important data. If the methods you've tried are of no use or you're afraid that you've missed some steps while trying to eliminate the threat, you should roll your device back to its factory state by performing a Hard Reset of your smartphone. Hard Reset affects all data, including user data, so you'd better save in advance all important contacts, photos, notes and other information on a third-party storage device. After Hard Reset is done your gadget will look as if it's just been taken "out of the box", i.e. you'll have to configure it for yourself again. This method is the most radical one since it provides an opportunity to completely remove all third-party apps, but it can be of no use, if you don't take care of your accounts protection in advance by changing passwords.

After breaking free of a spy you were carrying in your pocket, make sure to avoid getting in such trouble again:

  • via increased protection. Create a complex password consisting of numbers and letters of different case and keep in mind to change it regularly. Avoid using well-known data like your pet's name, date of birth and etc. Disable memorization and use different passwords for different devices;
  • via reliable sources. Download and install apps only from official websites and markets;
  • by staying one step ahead. Install antivirus software that can protect your data.
  • by regular cleaning. Create additional storage space for important files and delete unnecessary ones, including messages.
  • via entry filter. Avoid following suspicious links or opening messages from strangers when using mobile email client.

By obeying these rules you'll be able to fully protect your data.

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