We use our smartphones for almost everything—from paying bills to sending emails. Therefore they contain highly sensitive information about our lives. And if that data falls into the wrong hands, that could lead to quite disastrous consequences.
Here’s how your phone can get hacked remotely and what to do about it.
How Can Someone Hack My Phone Remotely?
It’s not a secret that hackers don’t need to have your phone in their hands to steal your personal information. They can target any of the data stored there remotely. Passwords, SSNs, bank account details, text messages, photos—almost anything can get into the hands of the bad guys if you aren’t careful enough and well-protected.
Cybercriminals come up with unique ways to access people’s smartphones and monitor them. Usually, they look for some vulnerabilities in the phone’s operating system to hack it or trick people into downloading malicious software onto their devices.
The scariest part in all this is that with technology constantly evolving, the process of hacking someone’s phone remotely is turning into a child’s play. There are various apps out there that can be used to get access to a smartphone with just a phone number. Unfortunately, it’s even possible to hack a phone’s camera.
Some other ways a hacker can get into your phone include:
- Through public Wi-Fi networks. Cybercriminals create fake Wi-Fi networks, and when you connect to it with your phone, they redirect you to malicious sites.
- SIM swaps. Hackers transfer your phone number to their device and gain access to your account.
- Phishing emails or texts. Hackers send you an email with a malicious link and try to trick you into clicking it. Such emails or texts may look very real, and sometimes it may be complicated to distinguish between a malicious site and a legitimate one.
How to Know That Your Phone Is Hacked?
Whether you have an iPhone or Android smartphone, there are some signs that can indicate that your device has been hacked. If you notice such things on your smartphone, there might be a chance that a cybercriminal has targeted you:
- Unusual data usage spikes.
- Excessive battery drainage.
- Takes forever to launch apps.
- Restarts for no reason.
- Weird popups.
- Background noise.
- Apps that you don’t remember installing.
- Strange phone calls.
- Unusual activity on the accounts connected to your phone.
However, there is no need to panic right away. Not all cases like this are linked with hacking. For example, if it’s taking a long time to load an app, maybe there’s just something wrong with the phone’s performance, or you’re running an older version of the app and need to upgrade it.
But if you notice strange activity on your bank account or any other accounts that you have access to from your phone, then there is a chance that you’ve become a cybercrime victim.
Another way you can find out whether your device has been hacked or not is to use antivirus software to run a security scan on your phone. If there is anything suspicious, it will detect it.
How to Remove a Hacker From My Phone?
Do you have reasons to believe that your smartphone has been hacked? Then the first thing that you should do is factory reset your device. If you’ve never done it, be sure to check out our guides to learn about how to factory reset an Android device and how to factory reset an iPhone. But keep in mind that this will not just help you to get rid of the hacker but also delete every file stored from your device.
If you don’t want to run a factory reset on your smartphone, there are some other things that you can try:
- Get rid of suspicious apps. Search for applications that you haven’t installed by yourself on your phone and delete them. However, there are no guarantees that this will help for sure.
- Install an antivirus application. It can detect any malicious software or processes on your device and help you protect your smartphone from future possible hacker attacks.
- Tell your contacts that you’ve been hacked. It’s best to let them know that they shouldn’t open any suspicious messages coming from your phone number so that they won’t get into any trouble.
After you’ve done everything you could to remove the hacker from your phone, it is also recommended to change your account passwords, such as the device’s passcode, all social media, Apple ID or Google account, email, and internet banking. Make sure that you choose strong passwords for your accounts.
How to Prevent Hackers From Getting Into Your Phone
There are a few actions that you can take to protect your smartphone and any personal information stored there from hackers. Here’s what you can do:
- Lock your smartphone. Create a strong password for locking your device’s screen. If your phone also has such features as Touch ID or Face ID, then set it up as well.
- Don’t turn on mobile data or Wi-Fi unless you need to use them. This can prevent malicious software from using your data.
- Turn off your hotspot in crowded places. It makes it easier for the hacker to get access to your device when it is turned on. And if you’re using this feature, then make sure you have a strong password set.
- From time to time, check the list of apps installed on your smartphone. If you notice any suspicious apps, uninstall them immediately.
- Never click on suspicious links. If you’ve received a strange text message from your friend telling you to click on a link to open some random site, think twice before you do it. There can be malware in disguise.
- Make sure that your device and the apps installed on it are up-to-date.
- Don’t jailbreak your phone. This can increase the chances of your smartphone getting hacked later on.
- Use two-factor authentication. An extra layer of security for your apps will ensure that you’re the only one who can access them.
Of course, installing an antivirus application is always a good option. But using it and remembering the tips mentioned above can give your iPhone or Android device even more protection from hackers.
There’s Nothing Wrong in Being Cautious
The risk of getting hacked is extremely high these days. And since it’s that easy to do it, it’s best to be protected from such a possibility.
Not only a phone can be hacked. Your social media accounts, computers, email, almost anything is at risk, which is why you should always be careful.