When most people think of ‘phone tapping’ they usually imagine someone (usually the police or a detective) in a movie listening in on someone else’s phone calls in order to catch them committing a crime.
This is still true – a large part of tapping someone’s phone is accessing their phone calls. However nowadays, there is A LOT more to it than that.
Tapping someone’s device in this day and age has become just another word for hacking. A phone hacker can gain access to not only a victim’s phone calls, but also their text messages, chat messages (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, etc), online browsing activity, emails, photos and videos and even their GPS location.
This means that victims of this tapping are much more vulnerable than they used to be.
And that means you are too.
Instead of the old-school tapping devices we see in a lot of films/TV series, hackers now rely on software known as Spyware – which gives them access to all of the above data.
Is my phone being tapped?
If you’re asking yourself “Has someone tapped my phone?” then here’s a list of things to watch out for that can be tell-tale signs of tapping.
1. Battery running down fast
When a hacker is stealing information from a phone, tracking the GPS location and recording phone calls (or anything that requires your phone to work harder than normal), this will affect how long the battery on the phone can stay charged.
If you notice your phone dying quicker than normal, then this could be a sign you’ve been tapped.
2. Phone getting hot
Like before, if your battery is running down fast, extra processes running on a device can cause the phone to put out a lot of extra heat – even when you aren’t performing intensive tasks.
Keep an eye out for this, but be aware your phone will naturally get hotter in warmer months anyway.
3. Increased data usage
When a tapped phone is sending stolen information back to the hacker’s phone or computer, this can use a lot of data. If you see that your phone is using a lot more data than normal, this could indicate that your device has been tapped.
4. Unusual background noise
If you notice distorted noises when on a phone call, this could be a sign that a hacker has installed spyware that is interfering and potentially recording the call. You should end the call immediately and take steps to remove the spyware.
5. Phone takes a long time to shut down
If your phone is taking longer than normal to shut down, this could be another sign of spyware. When a phone shuts down, it has to complete any tasks that are currently in progress. This could include data being sent remotely to a hacker – which would dramatically extend the time required to shut down.
6. Strange texts
If you’re receiving unusual texts containing unrecognized links then this can be a sign that a hacker is trying to trick you into giving up your details. They will often create fake versions of websites for important accounts such as online banking, etc.
How to check if my phone is tapped
If you are noticing some of the above signs and want to perform a security check on your device, then here’s a couple of options for you, depending on what type of phone you have:
Android: For those using Android devices, download Certo Mobile Security from the Google Play Store. This app allows you to perform a full security scan and malware removal on your device for free.
iOS: If you are using an Apple device, check out Certo AntiSpy. This is software that you can install on your PC/Mac and use to scan your iPhone or iPad for spyware and other forms of hacking/tapping.
Note: Apple doesn’t allow users to install spyware scanning apps directly onto their iOS devices, so you will need a PC/Mac to perform this 2-minute scan.
My phone is tapped. What can I do?
Luckily for you, if you discover that your phone has been tapped then the process to undo this is simple, but differs depending on your device:
Android: You can quickly remove any spyware by tapping “remove” next to any threats detected. This is a very fast process and is complete in seconds.
iOS: Due to the way iOS devices work, the removal process is a bit different, but in most cases performing an iOS update will stop any spyware from functioning (as it disables any Jailbreak which is required to install Spyware on iOS). Or to be extra sure, reset the phone to factory settings, just make sure you take a backup first.