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How to Tell if Your Android Phone is Hacked

Nowadays, smartphones have become a need of everyone as we perform most of our tasks using our phones, including online tasks. But when we connect our devices online, our privacy and data are at risk. Hackers and fraudsters can compromise your phone's security to track your online activities and may get confidential data from your phone.

How to Tell if Your Android Phone is Hacked

However, one big point why people hesitate to buy Android smartphones is that they find Android phones easier to hack than iPhones. And this reason is mostly true. But it does not mean Android phones can never be secured. Instead, the meaning is that Android users need to watch for certain risks.

This article will illustrate whether or not Android phone has been hacked by experiencing some of the phenomena on the phone. Later, we will also discuss some key points for solving them.

Here's how to know if your phone is hacked

  1. Mysterious and inappropriate pop-ups: If you constantly see a red flag or inappropriate or X-rated advertisement pop-ups on your mobile phone, it could suggest that the malware on your phone is trying to steal and compromise your information.
  2. Calls or messages you didn't make: If you have seen any unknown calls and messages delivered from your Android phone that you don't make, it could indicate that your phone has been hacked. Sometimes, you may not be able to receive calls and messages on your device.
  3. Exponentially high data usage: If you find a sudden increase in the data used without increasing your calling durations or online activities. Such a phenomenon is also a sign of a phone being hacked and a fraudster using your device's data to run apps in the background or upload content to the server.
  4. Poor performance: If your phone suddenly gets running slower, apps start crashing frequently or get screen freezing, or an unexpected restart of the device is a sign of a malware attack, or your phone is hacked.
  5. Rapidly draining of battery: A hacked phone runs several processes in the background, which decreases the life of the device battery. Focus on the battery draining rate because infected devices consume more battery power. High-rate battery drains also lead to the device getting hot.
  6. Unrecognized apps: If you see any unrecognized apps on your Android device that get downloaded from any third-party sources, it may help hackers to hack your device.
  7. Unusual activity on social accounts: If you notice any unrecognized activities on your email Account or any social media account running on your phone, it might be the work of hackers who gain access to your device.
  8. Apps and Phone Keep Crashing: Another sign of a phone that gets hacked is regular apps crashing on your phone. You may see unusual activity on your phone, as apps open for no reason, or your phone works slowly or constantly crashes. Sometimes, it may happen due to a virus attack.

Possible ways your phone can get hacked

There are several means through which hackers can hack your Android phone. They don't even need your phone to steal your information. Below, we have listed some possible loopholes, and you need to add security to your phone.

  • USB charger: Connecting your phone to your computer using a USB cable may receive data while performing online activities. Hackers could program malware to inject it into your phone through a computer when connected online.
  • Interception over free Wi-Fi. A hacker can easily create a hotspot, presenting it as an authorized free Wi-Fi network, but in reality, it is used to take data from your phone. When you connect your phone to such fake free public Wi-Fi network, they use it differently to get data from it or redirect you to malicious sites.
  • Phishing. A hacker makes a fake website version and convinces you to fill in your credentials (information).
  • Spyware. A hacker could install a keylogger app to receive all you write. It can be done physically, or you could inadvertently download it online.
  • SIM swaps: Hackers are transferring your phone number to their device and gaining access to the phone's Account you have.
  • Signaling System 7 (SS7). A hacker only requires your mobile number to perform an SS7 attack. This attack allows them to track your phone and stop or sometimes catch your calls and texts.
  • Phishing emails or texts: Hackers send you a harmful link and try to convince you to click on it with attractive messages. Such text messages or emails look very much real, and it could be difficult to determine which is a malicious site and which is a legitimate one.

How to know if your phone's camera gets hacked

If you doubt your phone camera is hacked, you will see some unexpected signs on your phone camera and gallery. This sign indicates that someone is using your phone's camera remotely. Some of the factors indicating your phone camera is hacked are:

  • You may notice photos and videos you never took in your phone's gallery.
  • Camera flashlight keeps on when you are not using anything related to the camera feature.
  • If anyone remotely controls your phone, you will notice that the device gets hot even when you are not using it.
  • Cameras and flashlights consume battery power faster.
  • Your phone might run slower than usual.
  • Your phone heats up faster than usual if they are used excessively.
  • While using apps, they randomly crash.
  • If you notice outgoing calls and SMS you don't recognize, or your contacts receive calls and SMS, your phone might be hacked.

What to do if your Android phone has been hacked?

Once you recognize and find that your phone has been hacked, immediately take prevention measures. You must perform several steps and actions on your device, such as deleting suspicious apps, running antivirus, etc., to fix a hacked Android phone. Some of the major actions are illustrated below:

Delete suspicious apps

Go to your apps list and find the app you haven't downloaded; it does not come pre-installed but looks suspicious. Once you find any such app, delete it from your phone.

  1. Visit the device Settings screen.
  2. Apps management or Apps.
  3. Go to the App list and find the suspicious app you wish to delete.
  4. Tap on the app and choose Uninstall.

Clear the device Cache

Tons of pop-up ads that are related to apps may also degrade the device's performance, which is one of the signs of a phone hacked. It also happens due to low storage space due to unwanted files and apps on your phone. Cleaning of phone cache may help to fix Android phone hacked:

  1. Open the device's Settings
  2. Tap on the Storage Memory or Storage
  3. Now, tap on Cached data, it will show you the total cache data of your phone.
  4. A pop-up will appear that asks whether you want to Clear cache data.
  5. Click OK to confirm your action to clean all the Cache of the device.

Factory reset the device

Performing a factory reset of the smartphone is the most reliable way to fix a phone getting hacked and stop hackers from accessing your phone. A backup of all your essential data and files is recommended because a factory reset will wipe everything clean. However, before you start the factory reset process, ensure that your phone is sufficiently charged and never gets stopped.

  1. Open the Settings app of your Android device.
  2. Expand the options of the Additional (Advanced) setting by selecting it.
  3. Go to the Backup and Reset
  4. Now, click on Erase all data (factory reset).
  5. Click on Erase all data. It will delete all the apps you installed, files, and data saved on your phone.
  6. Enter your PIN if prompted.
  7. Select Erase all data and let the phone do its task.

The above steps reset your phone apps and software to initial stats when it was brand new.

Disable call diversion/forwarding:

In the case of a phone hacked, it is suggested to turn off call diversion or call forwarding. In the call forwarding feature, some risks are associated with Android phones. Phone hacker can misuse the call diversion feature to get any data for their benefit. To protect yourself from such risk, turn off the call forwarding feature in your phone.

Following are the key steps to turn off call forwarding that works on most Android smartphones:

  1. Go to the phone's dialer
  2. Tap on the menu icon (vertical dots).
  3. Select the Call settings
  4. Now, choose Call forwarding
  5. Finally, turn off all call forwarding options (always forward when busy, when unanswered, and unreachable).

Disable Spam Notifications

Spam notifications from third-party applications and web browsers sometimes cause serious issues on your Android phone. So, it is suggested to turn off spam notifications even if your phone is not hacked. Following are how you block spam notifications from non-trusted sources on your Android device.

When a notification comes from untrusted apps/sources that you find not useful, then long-press on it, which opens a page where you can disable the spam notifications. Also, you can block the notifications from websites by following the below-mentioned procedure:

  1. Open the mobile browser app on your phone
  2. Go to its Settings option
  3. Choose Site settings
  4. Go to the Notifications section
  5. In this section, you can turn off the complete notifications or from a specific source.

Now, websites ask for your permission before sending notifications to you.

Other activities that you could perform when your phone gets hacked

  • Run anti-malware application: You can run reliable anti-malware apps that help detect and eliminate malware.
  • Delete unrecognized applications: Look at your app drawer (or list) and delete if any suspicious apps are present on your phone.
  • Reset your phone's password: Change the password associated with your Account on your phone to prevent hackers from getting your personal information.
  • Reset your phone: It is the simplest way to eliminate hackers and malware.
  • Inform your contacts: When your phone gets hacked, inform your contacts list about it and tell them not to click any suspicious messages received from your number.
  • Contact service provider: If you are not receiving any calls and messages on your device, it might be possible that hackers are using a cloned SIM card. Immediately contact your service provider and tell them to resolve this issue.

Also, avoid connecting to an unknown public Wi-Fi connection, clicking on pop-ups you don't know about, or suspicious ads to prevent your phone from getting hacked.

How to stop hackers from hacking your phone

There is no single technique to protect your phone from being hacked. It is because the hacking could be done via connecting to different networks, downloading programs from non-trusted sources, and lots more. However, you may take some safety measures to reduce the chance of getting hacked:

  • Keep yourself away from using public Wi-Fi without a VPN app
  • Don't download unreputable apps, especially from an unknown source
  • Use the Two-Factor Authentication system in your Account to securely use your Account
  • Regularly clear your web history so hackers have no clue what websites you frequently visit
  • Don't save your password on your smartphone
  • Careful in downloading apps on your phone
  • Update your phone to the newest supported OS versions
  • Updates your apps on a regular basic
  • Turn off the Bluetooth function when it is not in use

It can be hard to remember all these above steps, so one option is to use software that will protect you when you are online. Use good malware or antivirus apps on your device. Also, keep your device updated, and don't download unofficial applications on your phone.

How to block hackers from hacking your phone

Taking one or two precautions might not prevent your phone from being hacked. Hacker finds and uses several loopholes to hack Android phone. So, try to follow the maximum methods and techniques to protect your phone. We have listed some points that help you block hackers from hacking your phone.

  • Turn off hotspot: When you are in public, then prefer to turn off your hotspot. If you need to turn it on, do the proper settings to secure your device.
  • Don't use strange Wi-Fi or charging ports: Avoid using Wi-Fi or charging ports you do not trust. Whenever you need to use any public Wi-Fi network, use a VPN for it. Remember to disconnect the public Wi-Fi when you finish your task.
  • Keep Bluetooth off: When you are not using your Bluetooth, switch it off, as it could be one of the access points of the phone for hackers.
  • Use password: Lock your phone and apps with a password.
  • Don't offer your phone to other people you do not know.
  • Use updated OS and apps: Prefer to use updated operating systems and apps to ensure they have the latest security system.
  • Ensure no such app is available on your device you don't recognize.
  • Avoid spam messages: Don't click or open suspicious messages, links, or files; they may contain malware or spyware.
  • Please don't visit the websites you do not trust: Do not visit untrusted websites, as they are a big source of malware.

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