How to Fix a Hacked Android Phone
By Olivia Roberts
In recent research, it was found that 98% of all smartphone malware attacks, which include phone hacking, targeted Android devices.
If you have recently discovered that your Android phone has been hacked, we can only imagine how creeped out and worried you must be.
Knowing that someone has had access to your text messages, phone calls, and even your banking details is a scary thought which is enough to send shivers down your spine.
If you are dealing with a hacked Android phone, there are some steps you can follow to fix it. These steps are quite simple to follow, so you should regain control of your phone in no time.
Let’s get started on how to fix a hacked Android phone.
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Signs your Android phone has been hacked
If you’re not entirely sure whether your Android phone is hacked, here are some signs to look out for:
🔋 Your battery drains faster than usual: When there are suspicious apps like spyware on your phone, the device has to run more tasks than ever before. Running all these tasks could cause your battery to drain very quickly.
🔥 Your phone is getting hot: All the extra processes an Android phone must run if it’s been hacked will put your phone under pressure. This can cause it to heat up more than normal.
📈 Your data usage increases: If someone has hacked your phone, much of your private data will be transferred from your Android phone to the hacker. This transfer can affect your data usage. If you notice that your data usage has suddenly increased, you may have been hacked.
📲 You start noticing performance issues: If your smartphone is taking a long time to shut down or is unusually slow, this could be a sign that you’ve been hacked. All the extra processes that run in the background of a hacked phone can slow it down and make the shutdown process longer.
💀 Your phone is rooted, but you didn’t do it: Rooting an Android phone means removing the phone manufacturer restrictions. If you discover that your phone has been rooted and you didn’t do it yourself, it’s likely someone has hacked your Android device.
It’s worth noting that these aren’t all necessarily signs that your phone is hacked. They could be due to other reasons, such as a technical fault or due to the age of your device.
What does Android hacking mean?
A hacked phone means that someone is accessing your device remotely and “listening in” on all your activities. Phone hacking is not a new phenomenon. However, it has become more sophisticated over the years.
From monitoring your internet browsing and social media activity to stealing your online account passwords, Android hacking gives someone full access to all your personal or sensitive information.
Hackers may even be able to track your location to find out where you are or get hold of your banking details to drain your account.
How an Android phone can be hacked
It is important to understand the various methods by which Android phones can be hacked in order to protect ourselves from these threats. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most commonly used techniques for hacking Android phones.
Installing spyware and other malicious software
Although a hacker would likely need physical access to your phone to do this, they could install apps onto your Android device that spy on you and track your activity.
Through spyware, a hacker can:
➡️ Monitor and record your calls.
➡️ Read your text messages.
➡️ See your photos and videos.
➡️ Access your location.
➡️ View your browsing history.
A Dangerous Spyware Threat
SpyToMobile is an example of spyware that is disguised as a legitimate Android utility app, which can allow a hacker to gain access to all your personal data.
This type of spyware gives a hacker the ability to remotely control your smartphone, monitor your activity, and steal your information.
What could look like an innocent utility app or system app could actually be the door hackers are using to access your phone.
Sometimes, spyware is so sophisticated that you cannot detect it simply by visually checking for suspicious apps.
Instead, you may want to use a spyware detection app, like Certo Mobile Security, that uses award-winning technology to detect and remove spyware on Android phones.
Free anti-spyware for Android
Certo Mobile Security crushes spyware, stops intruders and keeps you safe online.
Social engineering and phishing
How would a hacker install spyware on your phone without accessing it physically? Through social engineering or phishing scams.
These types of scams typically involve a hacker sending you a text message or email that encourages you to follow a link.
Once you visit this link, you may be prompted to enter your personal information into a website or to download an attachment.
By following a link and entering your login information, you could be giving a hacker all they need to get into your phone.
And by downloading an unknown attachment, you could be installing malware onto your phone that hackers can use to get inside your phone without physically touching it.
If you are aware of what phishing emails and texts may look like, you might be amused at what is being sent your way.
Check out this questionable phishing email trying to convince the recipient that Mark Zuckerberg wants to give them money:
Accessing your Android device via an unsecured public Wi-Fi network
If you are using an Android phone over an unsecured Wi-Fi network like the type you would find in a public space, hackers could access data from your phone this way.
Hackers can intercept the communication between your phone and the public Wi-Fi network to access and steal your usernames and passwords, which they can use to get into your device or accounts.
In just 16 minutes, a man was able to hack a public Wi-Fi hotspot and could’ve stolen data from those who were connected to it.
However, while this wasn’t a malicious attempt—he was trying to raise awareness—it shows just how easy it would be for a hacker to access your Android via an unsecured public Wi-Fi network.
5 ways to fix a hacked Android phone
If you’re convinced that someone has hacked your Android phone, there are some simple ways to fix it and ensure that no one has access to your personal or sensitive information.
1. Run a security scan with an anti-malware app
Scanning your phone for suspicious apps and files is simple with the Certo Mobile Security app, which can help you uncover and remove spyware apps for good. All you need to do is download the free app from the Google Play Store and tap the “Scan” button.
The app will scan all your apps and files to look for malicious software that could be used to hack and spy on your phone.
Once the scan is complete, the app will let you know if any suspicious apps or files have been found, and you can remove them with one simple tap.
You can also set the app to run regular scans of your phone, giving you peace of mind that you can identify any hacking in the future before it becomes a problem.
2. Delete suspicious apps
Run through all your installed apps, including those in folders on your Android phone, and look for anything that doesn’t look right.
Uninstall any unknown apps that you didn’t install yourself or that look suspicious.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that there are several system apps on an Android phone that come pre-installed on the device. These apps might have names you don’t recognize, but aren’t necessarily malicious.
Before deleting an app you’re unsure about, check the web to see if it’s actually a legitimate Android app.
You can get to a list of all your apps by following these steps:
- Go to the Settings app on your phone
- Tap Apps
- Run through the list for any suspicious apps
3. Change your Google account password
These days, many of our apps are linked to our Google account. In fact, your Android phone will typically need you to sign in to a Google account when you first set up the phone.
If you suspect someone has hacked your phone, you need to change your Google account password immediately, as this is a common way that hackers could access data from your phone.
You can change your password by following these steps on your Android phone:
- Visit your Settings app
- Tap on Google
- Navigate to Manage Your Google Account
- Visit Security
- Go to Signing in to Google
- Find Password and then change it to something new
When setting any password for online accounts, be sure to use something that would be difficult for a hacker to guess. Don’t use names of family members, pets or memorable dates as your password.
If the hacker is someone close to you, which is often the case, they may be able to guess your password based on what they know about you. Ensure that your password is strong enough to prevent people close to you from getting into your phone.
2-Step Verification is a must for any Google account, protecting your account from unauthorized access even if someone works out your password. Check your Google account settings now and make sure it’s enabled.
4. Remove administrator access
Often, a hacker will install apps with administrator access to gain access to even more data on your phone and make it more difficult to remove the malware.
By deactivating administrator access, you can disable any unknown apps that might be used to spy on your phone.
You can do this by following these steps:
- Open Settings.
- Use the search tool to find Device Admin Apps or Device Administrators.
- If you see any unknown apps that you don’t recognize, toggle administrative access off or select the app and choose the Deactivate function.
- You can then uninstall the app like any other Android app.
5. Do a factory reset
A factory reset restores your Android phone to the state it was in when you first bought the phone.
What’s useful about a factory reset is that it completely removes any malicious apps like spyware.
You may be worried about losing your data in a factory reset, but if you back up your data to Google before the reset, you can restore all your data and settings when the factory reset is done.
Follow these steps to safely perform a factory reset:
- Backup your data and familiarize yourself with the restore process.
- Turn off your phone and hold the Power and Volume Up buttons (or Power and Volume Down on some devices) until you see the Android logo.
- Recovery mode will load, and you can then use the Volume Down button to navigate to Wipe data/factory reset.
- Wait for the factory reset to finish, and your phone will reboot.
How to improve your Android phone’s security
There are some basic security tips that you can follow to ensure your phone doesn’t get hacked.
So, before you start worrying about how to fix a hacked Android phone, prevent your phone from being hacked in the first place with these security measures.
✅ Don’t leave your Android phone unattended in a public space. If someone has physical access to your phone, it’s a lot easier for them to install apps that can be used to monitor your activity.
✅ Use a virtual private network (VPN) when connecting to unsecured public Wi-Fi networks. This will prevent anyone from being able to intercept your communications.
✅ Use a biometric authentication method on your lock screen, which means only your face or fingerprint can unlock your phone. This is much stronger than any password could be.
✅ Use a password manager to store all your passwords in one place while keeping them protected from prying eyes.
✅ Only download apps from the Google Play Store, as it is more likely that these apps are legitimate. Avoid downloading apps from other sources.
✅ Never open links or download attachments if you don’t know exactly what they are or who sent them.
✅ Keep your operating system updated. If there are any software updates available, always be sure to install them. Operating system updates can prevent hacking and will often break any spyware already on your phone.
Final thoughts on how to fix a hacked Android phone
The best way to find out if you have a hacked Android phone and how to fix it is to use a security app that is specially designed to find and remove spyware.
Use a reliable app like Certo Mobile Security to scan your phone for suspicious apps and files and immediately remove any threats. You can also enable the app to do regular scans to protect your phone from hacking.
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Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Can you fix a hacked Android phone?
There are certain steps you can take to protect your Android phone from being hacked, and you can also fix it quite easily if you find that you have been hacked.
Using an app like Certo Mobile Security can help you detect and remove any apps or files that are being used to hack your phone.
You can also fix a hacked Android manually by reviewing app permissions, removing suspicious apps and/or performing a factory reset.
What are the signs of a hacked Android phone?
Some of the signs of a hacked phone include:
- Your phone getting very hot.
- The battery drains faster than usual.
- You have high data usage.
- A phone performance issue, such as the phone being slow or taking a long time to shut down.
- Someone knows something that you have only communicated via your phone.
What happens if your Android phone is hacked?
If your Android device has been hacked, the culprit could obtain access to all your personal and sensitive information, such as login details, your photos and videos, and your Internet and social media activity.
If you notice any signs of a hacked Android phone, it is best to act swiftly to remove any spyware and lock the hacker out of your device.