Your beloved cell phone is acting up. It throws temper tantrums by excessively overheating, or it goes to sleep right when you need it most. It puts you in awkward situations by sending messages you are certain you never sent. After cracking your last phone’s screen beyond repair and dropping the one before that in the water, you have diligently taken care of your current device. So, why is your precious phone misbehaving? Chances are, your phone was hacked.
While your phone is precious, what it holds is often even more precious. If you were hacked, your bank account information, PIN and credit card data, contact and personal information could be compromised. If the hacker goes undetected, they can take advantage of your finances and rack up enormous charges. In this case, time really is money.
Below are a few telltale signs your phone has been hacked, what to do after and steps to take to prevent it from happening again.
Signs your phone was hacked.
Are those annoying pop-ups popping up an excessive amount?
Have your backgrounds or browsers gotten a makeover?
Does your cell phone suddenly have apps you don’t recognize or remember downloading?
These are big clues that your phone was hacked. Check your settings to see if any changes have been made, especially those related to privacy and security. These changes can give hackers access to spy on you or infiltrate your personal information
Your Phone Constantly Seems to be on the Brink of Death
Has your phone overheated recently ?
Short battery life, overheating and overall phone lag can seem normal for an old phone, but don’t overlook it. If apps constantly lag, crash or glitch, do not just write it off as a fluke. Pay attention to call failures that occur when your signal is strong. One little glitch may be written off as a fluke, but if these occurrences become regular, your phone was most likely hacked into.
Paranormal Phone Activity
Has your phone gone into ghost mode?
It powers on and off on its own, sends calls, texts or emails you don’t recall sending or even makes strange noises?
Someone could be listening and recording you or operating your device remotely. Another major clue is that your phone bill is unusually high, an unnatural amount of money. If your call and data usage have increased an excessive amount, the hacker is probably racking up your phone bill to make long distance calls.
Learn more about phone hacking: Can Hackers Really Find Your Phone
How to “Unhack” Your Phone
If you have come to the conclusion that your phone was hacked, take measures to fix it. Run anti-virus software to clear your device of any viruses or malware. Uninstall any suspicious or unwanted apps. This includes the apps that you never downloaded, as well as those that were continuously glitching. If, after taking these steps, your phone is still exhibiting signs that it is not clean, factory reset and erase your device completely. Only do this if necessary, as this will result in losing all the data on your phone.
How to Prevent Yourself from Being Hacked Again
Don’t Poke the Bear
This is common sense but a good reminder nonetheless. Do not click pop-ups that appear on your screen, and never click links in messages or emails from unknown senders, especially if you cannot see the full URL. Many devices are hacked or infiltrated by viruses and malware because the user “poked” the wrong thing on their screen.
Keep Your Guard Up
Avoid charging your phone on unknown devices, and if you must, do not trust the device unless it is your own. When you click “Trust this computer?” you are giving it access to the information on your phone. Password protect your phone and never let devices remember your passwords. Remembered passwords let hackers enter your accounts all that much easier. Additionally, be wary if a website requests too much personal information. As a final tip, backup your data frequently to protect your data from issues that may arise, hacking or otherwise.
Protect your Phone
While you need to stay diligent about protecting your passwords and personal information, you can set up a sort of guard dog to protect your device as well. Firstly, regularly update your phone because each new update works to get rid of bugs and fix any issues. You should also install reliable antivirus software to scan for viruses and malware on your device. Make sure to do your research and download the software from a trusted source.
With cell phone use growing more and more and falling into younger and younger hands, people need to know how to protect their devices from threats. Parents, check your children’s devices because they are less likely to spot issues and take note of them as any more than “my stupid phone is being weird.”
However, those issues could very likely be the result of a hack, putting your children in danger. If your phone was hacked, it’s no joke. Take those steps to spot, stop and prevent your devices from being hacked to ensure yours and your loved ones’ safety and security.