Nowadays, it’s extremely important to pay attention to your mobile security. Just imagine for a second if all the data stored on your smartphone was suddenly available to an anonymous hacker who has managed to break into your device.
That means every website you’ve visited, every picture you’ve taken, every password you’ve entered – the whole lot.
Yep. Now you can see why security is something you should be taking seriously.
If you know or suspect that your phone has been hacked, then there are some steps that you need to follow; not only to find out who hacked your phone, but also to stop the flow of information from your device to this unknown third-party.
In this article, we explore ways to detect malicious activity, how to trace a phone hacker, as well as steps you can take to prevent and remove any threats.
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How do I know if my phone has been hacked?
There are a few symptoms that might lead you to be suspicious of whether your phone’s security has been compromised. Let’s cover these now:
1. High battery temperature
If you’ve noticed that your phone is running a lot warmer than usual, this is potentially a sign of hacking. Because intruders usually use software on your device to help them track all of your data, this requires your device’s processor to work harder, in turn generating more heat. Which leads us to our next point…
2. Battery draining faster than usual
Again, if a hacker has installed malicious software onto your device, this is going to need more processing power to run, in addition to your phone’s operating system and any apps you use. This will inevitably cause your battery to drain a lot faster than usual, and could be a good indicator that you’ve been hacked, especially if your device is fairly new!
3. Background noise
If you’re hearing background noises coming from your phone such as echoes, static or clicking sounds, this may be a hint that your phone has been hacked. Background noise like this is usually most audible when you’re on a phone call and is a potential sign that someone is listening in. So, it’s probably a good idea to not share anything too personal if you’re hearing R2-D2 on the other end of the line.
4. Pop-ups or changes to your screen
Malware can also be behind suspicious pop-ups or changes to your home screen or apps. Any significant changes you didn’t personally make are a big clue that your smartphone has been hacked.
Have you experienced weird appointments or reminders in your phone’s calendar app? This is likely the result of phishing, allowing hackers to gain access to your personal and business calendars in order to steal information.
5. Distortion (similar to when you are on a call)
If you’ve ever used your phone near another electronic device (such as a TV) and noticed a distortion in the audio, even though you aren’t on a phone call, this might be a symptom that someone has hacked your device or maybe even installed hardware (a physical component) onto your phone.
6. Presence of unknown application
A hacker may install spy apps to your device which are designed to monitor every activity. These apps run in the background and unlike traditional apps, don’t show a visible icon on your screen.
You may be able to identify any suspicious apps by looking at your active hours, battery health, memory, and data usage. However, smartphones tend to have a number of hidden system apps that we don’t know anything about, making it hard to distinguish between what is needed for your phone to run, and anything that may be monitoring your activity.
7. Certo has detected spyware on your phone
If you suspect that your phone might be hacked and you’ve performed a scan with Certo, you will quickly know whether your suspicions are correct or not. Once you’ve found out for sure, the next step is to discover exactly who has hacked your phone. Is it an anonymous third-party? Or even more worrying, is it someone you know?
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Who can hack my phone?
One really common misconception is that hacking a phone requires some mysterious computing superpowers.
Well, that’s definitely not true. This isn’t the ‘90s anymore, there’s no need to hack into the mainframe.
Nowadays, with enough of the right knowledge, anybody could potentially hack your device if they wanted to, it’s not rocket science. In fact, there are thousands of people working in black market operations across the globe constantly trying to find a way to hack the smartphones of people like you in order to obtain sensitive data.
How to trace a phone hacker: who is spying on my phone?
If you suspect that someone has forced their way into your cell phone, then there are a few things you need to do. Here are three methods that explain how to trace a phone hacker:
1. Find out who has installed spyware on your phone
Spyware is malicious software designed to track everything you do on your device. A common method of installing spyware is for someone to plant a hidden spy app on your smartphone. This is most likely to happen if someone has physical access to your device, even if it’s just for a short amount of time. It could also happen (although it’s less likely) if you click on a suspicious link and download a piece of malicious software disguised as an innocent app.
Spyware is often invisible to you as the device owner, and could potentially give the attacker complete access to your data. Additionally, most spy apps are designed to protect the identity of the hacker who installed it and work by sending captured information to the spyware provider, not directly to the hacker. The hacker then logs into the spyware provider’s website to retrieve information stolen from the infected device. This means details of who installed the spyware are not stored anywhere on the infected device, giving the hacker a layer of anonymity. This can make finding out who installed spyware on your phone somewhat difficult.
However, A great way to combat this is to use Certo AntiSpy (for iOS) or Certo Mobile Security (for Android). Our state-of-the-art tools will help identify the name of the spyware that is installed on your phone, allowing you to track down the manufacturer of the spyware software. You can then inform them that someone has installed the software without your permission and request details of the person who originally purchased the software license.
Here is a sample email you can send to the software developer in order to get the required information:
I have performed a malware scan on my phone and found that <spyware name> is installed on my device. I did not authorize for this software to be installed on my phone and it has been done so completely without my permission.
I therefore need to find out who installed this spyware on my device, so please can you provide this information as soon as possible? My phone number is <phone number> and my device serial number is <serial number>.
I trust this is all the information you require to retrieve the information from your systems, but please let me know if you need anything else to do this.
2. Finding out who hacked your iCloud account (iOS devices only)
iCloud is a great solution for backing up your Apple device and keeping photos, contacts and other data stored in the cloud. You can stash everything from custom app settings and messages to videos you’ve taken with your phone.
Unfortunately, as good as Apple claim their security may be, there are still ways for a hacker to break their way into your account.
The main difference between having your phone hacked and your iCloud account hacked is that intruders don’t need to install any software on your phone.
A different method of investigation is required in order to find out who has hacked your iCloud account. Firstly, you will need to contact Apple and ask them to provide you with all the details of access to your account. This will usually include IP addresses that can be used to identify the attacker.
If you would like Certo to help you with this, you can email the information you receive from Apple to: [email protected].
3. Setting a trap for a hacker
Another method you can use is to booby-trap your phone if you suspect that someone might want to infiltrate. This doesn’t guarantee protection from them installing anything onto your phone, or them viewing your information, but will instead help you catch them red-handed or can act as a deterrent – much the same as a home alarm system.
The Certo Mobile Security app for Android allows users to take a silent photo of anyone who might be trying to hack your phone. Along with an alarm, this feature can be setup to trigger whenever someone moves your phone or enters an incorrect password multiple times. This feature is also coming to Certo Mobile Security for iOS in the near future.
So what should I do if I suspect my phone has been hacked?
1. Run a spyware scan immediately
Certo has the ability to instantly scan your phone and inform you of any potential threats it finds on your device. If spyware is detected then you can refer to the information above to find out exactly who hacked your phone.
2. Take steps to remove those threats
For Android phones, this is relatively easy. Most security apps (including Certo) have the ability to scan your device for malware and remove any threats that are found.
If you have an iPhone, removing threats is more of a manual process, as Apple do not allow security apps to access areas of the filesystem where malware usually hides. However, you can remove most threats from your iOS device by updating your iOS. Or, if you want to be really sure then perform a factory reset – just make sure to backup your data first.
3. Change your passwords
This is a very important step. You should change your passwords as soon as possible, once the threat has been removed. This will prevent anyone from unauthorized access to your private accounts. Make sure to use a strong password, ideally with a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols.
4. Find the identity of the hacker
Once you know who has hacked your phone and potentially how they did it, you can prevent it from happening again in the future. Certo can help with this.
5. Protect yourself against future attacks
Install the free Certo Mobile Security app on your iOS or Android device to protect yourself against future hacks. The app checks your device configuration and helps protect against unauthorized access.
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