How to Tell if Your Android Phone Is Hacked

Olivia Roberts

By Olivia Roberts


One of the biggest reasons people hesitate when it comes to buying an Android phone is because they are concerned that Android devices are easier to hack than iPhones. And for the most part, this is true. While that doesn’t mean Android devices can’t be secured, it does mean that there are a few risks Android users need to keep an eye out for.

In this article, we’ll help you to find out whether or not your Android phone has been hacked by looking at nine different problems that you might be experiencing. We’ll also give you some advice on how to solve them.

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How to Tell If Your Android Phone Is Hacked

1. Battery draining too quickly or getting hot

Noticed that your battery is not lasting as long as it should? Has your battery life become significantly worse over the last few weeks or months? High battery usage might be a sign of phone hacking on your Android device.

Malicious software or spyware that may be installed on your device requires more processing power to run. This is because it is always working in the background, sending information from your phone to the hacker.

If your phone is hot to the touch this could also be a sign of phone hacking, as the phone heats up due to the spyware making it work harder.

It’s important to remember that there may be other reasons for fast battery drain or your phone heating up. For example, phone batteries inevitably deteriorate over time, so if your phone is a couple of years old this could be the reason.

2. Your device is rooted (but you didn’t do it yourself)

Rooting a device is a way of gaining access to deeper levels of authority over the device, and it is not usually allowed by the hardware or software developers.

Android rooting requires some basic technical knowledge. While it’s easy enough to do for someone with the right ability, it’s not something you can do to your own device by accident.

Hackers may seek to root your device to get easier access to certain functions on your cell phone and facilitate advanced spyware use.

If your device is rooted and it wasn’t you or someone you authorized that rooted it, your phone is likely hacked.

3. Background noise / electronic interference

A common report from people who have later discovered spyware or malware on their device is background noise or electronic interference.

This issue is most prevalent with cell phones, as users often notice the interference while they are on calls.

Keep an eye out for clicks, static, or echoing noises, as these can be direct signs that someone is interfering with your communications and possibly other aspects of your device.

4. Suspicious activity

If your phone has been behaving strangely, it could be a sign of phone hacking. For example, it’s not uncommon for an infected device to receive strange text messages with garbled words or text (a sign that the device is potentially connecting to or communicating remotely with a third party).

Pop-ups when you’re using your phone to browse the Internet may suggest that your phone is infected with malware. These pop-ups often tell you that your phone has a virus, and there might be a button to “Remove it now.” If you click on the button, you risk causing more damage by unwittingly downloading spyware or malware.

Instead of falling into this trap, install Certo Mobile Security to identify and safely remove threats from your phone.

5. Unusually high data usage

If you’ve been experiencing exceptionally high data usage, it could be a sign that your device has something running in the background that is communicating via the Internet.

This could be as innocent as an app that is constantly updating or downloading something (i.e., a podcast app downloading new episodes). This is often the case and can be easily resolved.

However, if you’ve checked your apps and settings and you’re still experiencing high data usage, it could well be the case that your device is hacked and is communicating data back to a third party.

6. Suspicious apps

Suspicious app on Android

Chances are you’ve got several apps installed on your phone — some of which you use daily, and others that you hardly open at all. If you think your phone is hacked, look out for suspicious apps that you don’t remember downloading.

Most spyware or malicious software requires an app to be installed onto the phone to collect your personal data. Hackers only need physical access to the phone for a couple of minutes to install spyware, and if you’re not vigilant about the apps on your phone you probably won’t even notice it.

It’s important to note that most Android phones come with some pre-installed apps and software. Although they won’t be apps you have installed, these apps aren’t malicious and don’t present a threat.

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7. “Apps from unknown sources” are allowed (for devices running older than Android 8.0)

There is a setting in the Android preferences that allows apps from unknown sources to be installed on the device. Although this setting can be enabled for innocent reasons (installing third-party apps such as games, etc.) it can also be used to install malicious software such as spyware and malware.

If you want to check if this setting is enabled on your Android phone (and this may be different depending on your device) you can follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to Settings > Security.
  2. Check the option Unknown sources.
  3. If this option is ticked or set to enabled, this means your phone is able to install apps that aren’t from the Google Play Store.

You can automatically check this and other important device security settings using the free Certo Mobile Security App.

8. Google Play Protect has been disabled (for devices on Android 8.0 and above)

Google Play Protect is a built-in virus and malware/spyware scanner for Android that will scan apps whenever they are installed onto a phone or tablet. Similar to the “Apps from unknown sources” setting, a lot of the time a hacker will need to turn this off to gain access to the phone.

For security, we recommend that you always keep Google Play Protect on. You can check your Google Play Protect settings by doing the following:

  1. Open the Google Play Store app.
  2. Tap the profile icon at the top right of your screen.
  3. Tap Play Protect.
  4. If Play Protect is turned off, this could be a sign that someone has disabled it in order to install a malicious app.

Alternatively, the Certo Mobile Security app can also check this setting for you. Install the app here.

9. Certo Mobile Security finds a threat on your device

The quickest and easiest way to find out if your phone is hacked is to install a security or antivirus app like Certo Mobile Security. This free app will allow you to scan your device and find out for sure if there is malicious software installed on your Android system.

Fight back against cyber criminals with Certo for Android:

  • Uncover hidden spyware and remove it quickly and easily.
  • Run a security audit to find vulnerabilities on your device.
  • Catch someone trying to access your phone when you leave it unattended.
  • Find out if your accounts or passwords have been exposed in a data breach.
  • See what apps on your phone can access your sensitive data.

What Are the Risks of Phone Hacking?

If you think your phone has been hacked, you need to immediately take steps to remove the threat. Here are a few reasons why:

We depend on our phones

Most of us use our phones constantly, to do everything from messaging friends and family, accessing work emails, managing our finances, and more.

If your phone is hacked and the hacker changes your login credentials, you could be left suddenly unable to use your phone.

Hackers can remotely access your device from anywhere

If your Android phone has been compromised a hacker can track, monitor, and listen to calls on your device from anywhere in the world.

Everything on your device is at risk

If an Android phone is hacked, the attacker will have access to every piece of information on it. All of your personal data can be used for nefarious reasons, such as threatening to release private information to the financial gain of the hacker.

Software for phone hacking is inexpensive

Hackers use software that is incredibly cheap and accessible. For just $30, a hacker can get all the tools they need to exploit multiple devices and automatically retrieve whatever personal information they can find.

Phone hacking is relatively easy

If someone has the knowledge and is inclined to do so, hacking isn’t complicated. This means that almost anyone can be a hacker if they want to, such as partners, exes, family members, or even employers.

How to Protect Your Android Phone from Hackers

Although phone hacking represents a serious threat to your privacy, there are a few simple actions you can take to reduce the risk of it happening to you.

1. Install Certo Mobile Security

Certo keeps your Android device safe. This spyware detection app can find hidden spyware on any Android phone. Certo not only checks for malicious software, but also checks that the settings on your device are optimized for highest security. Find out more about the Certo Mobile Security App here.

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Certo Mobile Security crushes spyware, stops intruders and keeps you safe online.

2. Use a virtual private network (VPN)

Virtual private networks encrypt all of the data that you share online so that no one is able to gain access. Whether it’s your social media logins, passwords, or browsing history, VPNs make it much harder for hackers to access your private information. Make sure you research different VPN providers carefully before signing up to one that is safe and secure.

3. Enable two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication is an effective way of protecting your phone from hackers. It works by requesting two different types of authentication when you log in to an online account — for example, your Google account or social media accounts.

To log in, you might be required to enter your email address and password, as well as a verification code or a fingerprint ID.

The extra information required makes it much more difficult for hackers to gain access to your personal data.

Key Takeaways

It can be difficult to tell whether your Android phone has been hacked. Spyware and malicious apps can easily be hidden on your phone, leaving you vulnerable to attack.

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to reduce the risk and block hackers from your phone.

  • Install Certo Mobile Security to scan your Android device for spyware and quickly remove threats.
  • Use a strong passcode and biometrics on your device to stop unauthorized access.
  • Ensure your operating system and apps are kept up-to-date so you always have the latest security patches.
  • Use two-factor authentication for your online accounts to make it harder for hackers to gain access.
  • Never share your passwords with anyone, and change them regularly to reduce the risk of your accounts becoming compromised.