How to Detect Spyware on Android

Catherine Harris

By Catherine Harris


Spyware is a form of malicious software designed to get access to and collect important information from a victim’s device. This can be photos, messages, account login details and a whole lot more.

Another thing that might shock you is just how easy it is to install spyware onto an Android device. It can be done as quickly as 2 minutes and the software can be bought for as little as $29. Unlike iOS, Android attacks don’t require any complex software skills and it can be as simple as downloading an app onto a device.

This unfortunately means that hacking is a much more common occurrence on Android than it is on Apple devices. But, that doesn’t mean that Android can’t be safe – over 124 million people in 2019 use Android!

Free anti-spyware for Android

Download Certo Mobile Security from the Play Store now to find and remove spyware from your device.

The most important thing is to remain vigilant and take the appropriate measures to ensure that your device security is top notch.

Here are some of the signs you should look for that will hint towards spyware being installed on your Android device:

  1. Poor battery life
  2. Battery overheating
  3. Increased data usage
  4. Apps slow to load
  5. Someone knows something you have only discussed via your phone

If you want to detect spyware on your Samsung, Huawei, LG, Google, Motorola or any other Android phone device, then you can scan your device for FREE with our Certo Mobile Security app.

What types of spyware exist for Android?

One of the best ways to stay safe when it comes to protecting your data and your device from cyber attacks is educating yourself. There are basic things that you should be aware of when it comes to spyware for Android devices. Perhaps most importantly, you should know what the different types of spyware you need to look out for are:

1. Consumer spyware

This type of spyware software is often marketed as “Catch a cheating spouse” or “Protect your children” software. Simply put, this is software that a “hacker” could install on your phone in just a matter of minutes if they have physical access.

The scariest thing about this type of software is that it could give the hacker access to everything on the phone such as: photos; messages and real-time location tracking, as well as giving them the ability to record phone conversations. It’s bad enough if someone is using this type of software to spy on a partner/ex-partner, but it’s even worse if someone is using it maliciously in order to gain access to sensitive information. The damage could potentially be life-changing.

2. ‘Family Monitoring’ apps

These types of apps are widely available on the official Google Play Store, as well as on third-party app stores. These are usually marketed at parents who are trying to monitor their child’s device in order to track their location when they are out on their own or with friends. Some variations of this type of app will allow parents to control their child’s phone as well as block certain apps, etc.

However, much like consumer spyware, these apps are also available to anyone. So, someone could use this type of app maliciously to gain access to a victim’s device.

3. Malicious/Trojan apps

These are apps that have made it onto the official Google Play Store and appear to be genuine, but are in fact designed to run malicious software and steal your private information. In August 2019, it was discovered that a radio app that was downloaded by over 8 million users turned out to be infested with adware and spyware, that infected the victims’ devices and collected their personal data.

Signs that spyware may be installed

If this is the first you’re learning about these types of spyware, then it can certainly seem scary! Luckily, there are a few tell-tale signs that point to your device’s security being compromised and needing some attention:

1. Is your battery life not as good as it used to be?

Yes, batteries naturally decline in performance over time. But, if your phone’s battery life has been drastically worse recently, then that may be a sign that you’ve got a bad case of spyware. The extra background processes created by the spyware cause additional drain on the battery and decrease performance.

2. Does your phone get hot?

Another sign that your phone is running extra background processes is if your device gets hotter than it used to, even when just doing simple things such as checking emails, or surfing the web.

3. Does your data run out too fast?

If you think that your data is running out faster than it should do, or you’re just generally using more data than usual, this again could be a sign of software installed on your phone that’s connecting to the internet and transferring information without your knowledge.

4. Apps taking too long to load?

If your phone is running slower than normal, then this could mean that you’ve got spyware installed. This is usually what people will notice first with their device since it can become increasingly frustrating!

5. People know things you’ve never spoken about out loud.

If you’re hearing things that you’ve never told anyone in the flesh, then that’s a really good insight that someone might be hacking your device and getting access to personal data or tapping into your phone calls!

Detecting and removing Spyware on your Android device

Whilst the above can certainly be good indicators of spyware on your phone, the signs are not always so obvious, as some spyware can actually be very good at hiding itself. So to overcome that nagging feeling, you can easily and quickly scan all of your Android devices for free by using the Certo Mobile Security app.

Detect and destroy spyware

Certo Mobile Security finds and removes hidden spyware fast! Get it for FREE from the Play Store now.

If you find any threats on your phone using the app, you can easily remove them by simply tapping the “Remove threat” button

With our simple-to-use app you can also:

  • Audit your privacy settings so you know which apps have access to which features on your phone (such as the microphone, camera, etc).
  • Analyse your device to check that security settings are setup correctly.
  • Setup an auto-scan to check your device for Spyware at regular intervals and ensure your data is secure.
  • Setup an alarm which triggers if intruders try to gain access or tamper with your device.
  • Check if your important details, such as email addresses and passwords, were released in mass security breaches from big online companies (such as T-mobile, who just recently announced that over 1 million of their customers are at risk from a recent breach in their security).
  • And much more, with features constantly being added and updated.

Tips to protect against spyware

It’s not always easy to keep yourself safe online, and once you’ve been hacked it’s a lot of effort to get things completely back to normal. Prevention is always better than cure.

So here are 5 quick tips to help you avoid running into problems with Spyware on your Android device:

1. Invest in a robust security system

An app such as Certo Mobile Security can help protect all your important information from prying eyes and data thieves.

2. Keep your device updated

Whenever a new operating system update is released for your device, make sure that you actually download and install it. This is extremely important to ensure that you are getting all the latest security updates and features from the OS developers.

3. Don’t click on suspicious links!

This is one of the biggest problems faced by users of any device connected to the internet – it’s way too easy to click on these links that can appear genuine, but in reality are fishing for a way to gain access to your personal info. If you smell a rat, whether online or in your email inbox, steer well clear!

4. Use strong passwords

This should be obvious by now! The stronger your password is, the harder it is for a hacker to force entry into your various accounts. Use a variety of alphanumeric characters and symbols to create your password, and make sure it isn’t anything that could be easily guessed. Some apps actually allow you to generate random passwords and these can often be the strongest of all.

5. Only install apps from trusted sources

If you own an Android phone, only download from the official Google Play Store. Don’t download from third-party suppliers. It’s not a guarantee that you’ll get infected with some form of malware, but the chances are much higher via a third-party than via the official app store. Likewise for iOS devices.