Signs Your Smartphone Has Been Hacked
Smartphones. iPhone, Android, Windows, Google Pixel, etc. Everyone has one these days. Their biggest appeal is the fact that they connect to the Internet from practically anywhere you are. While smartphones have become such a pillar of our daily lives to search online, scroll social media, send emails, and communicate through text and calling, sometimes we take for granted the safety and security of our handy devices. Security is often one of the last things people think about when using their phone, after shattering the screen or dropping it in water. Unfortunately, this lack of consciousness often hinders on knowing whether or not your phone is indeed hacked.
There’s no magic light or notification that goes off when your smartphone has been hacked. But there are signs alluding to the fact that your phone has been compromised. They may not be very blunt or clear, but when you’re able to put two and two together, you may realize that you need to take some action.
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There are several signs to indicate a smartphone hack. These signs include mysterious apps, decreasing battery life, slower speeds, difference in website appearance, increase in data usage, “pop-ups”, and email getting blocked by spam filters. If any of these signs seem all too familiar to you, pay attention because you may be hacked.
1. Mysterious Apps
We use apps every day for almost everything, so you probably have a pretty good idea of the apps that are on your phone, because they should be there for one reason or another. Our phones often come with pre-installed apps courtesy of our manufacturer, or our service provider may install apps due to system updates. When these updates happen, it’s a good idea to just confirm the app by doing a simple Google search to make sure it’s legitimate before panicking. Otherwise, if a new app finds its way onto your smartphone and you have no clue how it got there or why it’s there, this may be a sign that you’ve been hacked.
2. Decrease In Battery Life
Smartphones work hard to support everything you throw their way on a day to day basis, so it’s no surprise that all those apps you like to use, like YouTube, Gmail, Facebook, Waze, etc., can all drain your battery if you leave them running in the background and forget to close out of them after using them. But, if you notice your battery life draining more rapidly than usual, this may be another sign of a hack. Your phone will be working extra hard to support the data that’s potentially leaking, as well as the data you know you’re using and transferring. Because there are extra code and data running in the background, such as malware, that is constantly capturing your activity and giving it away to hackers, your smartphone will also feel extremely hot.
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3. Slower Speeds
Because there may be malware running in the background of your smartphone, you may notice that your phone doesn’t perform as fast as it has been. Malware can slow down network connection, making your phone slower when connecting to the Internet or even opening some apps. Though this may not always be the case. Sometimes new updates in the operating system can also slow down the performance of smartphones. Maybe your memory is nearly full, or you have too many intense apps installed. Those are also factors of slower performance speeds as opposed to a hack.
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4. Difference in Website Appearance
While many companies like to change up their website to the surprise of their visitors, with a new image, design, or user interface, you should take note of these changes when you notice them. If you notice that a website looks one way when you first visit it, and then looks a completely different way once you open another link on the site, odds are, there may be a hacker on the other end. If there is malware on your phone that is “proxying”, or sitting in between the Internet and your browser, sending data and information while potentially inserting instructions of its own, which will affect how the website appears.
5. Increase In Data Usage
You get a bill from your service provider every month, detailing the data usage on your device from the last 4 weeks according to your plan. You usually have a good idea of what that bill will look like from month to month. But if you get a bill one month that is astronomically higher than previous bills, this could be a red flag that something is not right. If this happens, check out the data usage per app installed on your phone. If one app’s data usage doesn’t match what it is providing, something could be wrong. Even if you delete the app, this may not always solve the issue, especially if your device carries malware.
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Often on computers, you will see the occasional pop-up when you click on a link. These pop-ups usually come with directions or requests for you to perform some type of action. These are produced by malware on the device and can also happen on your smartphone. If you experience these pop-ups, be careful and make sure to not entertain their requests.
7. Email Blocked by Spam Filter
One of the most convenient aspects of smartphones is the ability to send and receive emails from your mail app. If you have ever sent an email that was blocked by a spam filter, this could be a sign that your phone is hacked. If your emails are going right to spam, your email configuration may have been changed and is being relayed by some unwarranted server, allowing a third party to read your email.