I don’t know how many of you would agree, but in the current world that we live in, apart from food, clothing, shelter, another important thing that we cannot live without is the Internet. And the go-to device to access the internet is our smartphones. Our smartphones contain a huge amount of personal data that is enough to not only manipulate but can put our life in danger if it gets into the hands of the wrong person. Let’s face it. We send messages, emails, photos, videos, files, do transactions, shop online, etc. all using our mobile phones.
If with some simple personal information such as name, address, search history, some apps can feed you ads, then imagine what other information about you combined could do? Now, you may ask why would someone want to spy on your phone or monitor your smartphone activities? The answer to this is pretty simple. These days, the data of a person has become more valuable than oil.
So, it is very important to keep ourselves protected from prying eyes. In this post, we will run down through every aspect of how someone can spy on your phone, what are the ways by which you can tell if someone is spying on your phone, and how you can safeguard yourself against spying. With that said, let us jump straight into the article itself:
How Can Someone Hack Your Phone?
Although the best way to hack or spy on a phone is to have physical access to it, there are multiple other ways via which someone can get a hang of your phone.
Spam emails: Well, you have heard about this one, and it still exists and people are continuing to get trapped just like the old days. Spam mails or fishing mails are one of the easiest and most simple ways, one could get access to all your data stored on your phone. Someone can send you a spam link with some attachments, etc., and once you click on the link, bam! Everything stored on your phone is deleted, encrypted, or something suspicious gets installed on your phone.
Suspicious Apps: Just for the sake of getting it for free, we often download apps from untrusted third-party sources. This ultimately is one way where a prey goes directly into the mouth of the hunter. Not only do you download an app that looks like the app that you wanted, but it also includes some malware or virus that is meant to spy on your phone.
Rooted Phone: One disadvantage of rooting your phone is that the security on your phone gets compromised. Meaning that the official protection layer is removed after rooting and if you are not cautious, then hackers can get into your phone, both online or offline.
Phishing websites: You might have come across several websites that boast giving you huge discounts, etc. And you just like a normal human being, to save some bucks, enter the website and during the process give away some of your crucial information such as debit/credit card information. If you did that, then bid adieu to your privacy.
Unexplained charges: Mysterious unwanted billing will hit you the most where it hurts — your bank account. If your device is infected with a virus then you may incur unwanted Billings at unusual rates particularly in SMS.
Heavy Data usage: The first sign that your phone has a virus is the rapid depletion of internet data. The virus generally tries to run in the background to send unanimous send to the attacker resulting in the consumption of your internet data plan.
How To Tell If Someone Is Spying On Your Phone?
Good thing is that there are a few worry signs or warning signs that can help you detect or understand that your data is in danger and you are being spied upon. Note that some signs are tougher to pick while there are others that will give you the indication that something is worth your immediate attention.
Increase Data Usage
Not always an increase in data usage means someone is spying on your phone. But it could be a worrying sign for those who rarely consume a huge amount of data, and recent high data usage has been spotted. Some spying apps tend to send a huge amount of data from the target device. However, as technology is getting better, spyware makers have become intelligent and only look for and send important data back to them.
So, how can you tell if someone is spying on you by your data usage? It is a good practice to keep an eye on your monthly data usage. If you notice a sudden spike in data usage and you don’t know what has caused it, it is an alarming sign. Here’s how you check the data usage on Android:
- Head over to Settings. Then tap on Wi-Fi & Network.
- Tap on the Data usage option.
- Here you will be able to check your cellular as well as Wi-Fi data usage.
Smartphone Showing Signs Of Activity In Standby Mode
Your smartphone is meant to light up or show signs of activity when you are using it or when an incoming call or message comes up. However, if you see your smartphone lighting up the display or showing any other signs of activity, then you should immediately check your phone.
Spyware or viruses continue to work, even if your phone is in standby mode. So, the random screen light up or noises on your phone could be a sign that spyware is active on your phone. Do note that a software bug could also be the reason behind it, but it is better safe to check your phone than being sorry later.
Unwanted Apps On Your Phone
If out of nowhere, you see some unknown apps installed on your phone, then these are some worrying signs that your device is compromised. Do note that hackers have become more intelligent these days, and once they get into your phone, they can infuse an app that quietly runs in the background without ever showing up on the app drawer. So, it is advised that you check for any unwanted app on your phone. You can do that by following the steps below:
- Head over to Settings.
- Then tap on Apps & notifications.
- Hit See all apps button.
- Here you will find the entire list of apps that are currently installed on your phone along with services that run in the background.
- If you find any app that is not installed by you or any services with the “spy” or “monitor” word used in it, then just uninstall it.
Phone Shutdown Taking Too Much Time
We hardly turn off our phones these days. Our phones are always in our hands or go straight to charging. You should check if your phone takes a long time to switch on. If yes, then this could be because of some spy apps. Try a few times to be sure.
Interference While On Calls
When you come close to another electronic device, your phone may interfere or some hissy noise when you are on call. However, if you are away from other electronic gadgets and still you experience such interferences, then this could be a sign of some app sending information to the hacker.
Text messaging is something that is a gone case now. We all make use of apps such as WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal. to connect with each other. But if you receive any unwanted or gibberish texts, it could be a sign of a spy app trying to communicate with the one spying on your phone. Take notice of this.
Deteriorating Battery Life
Out of the blue, if you see your phone’s battery life deteriorating, then this could be a sign that your phone is infected by spyware or malware. Spyware apps run in the background and monitor all of your activities. It also sends back the information to the person spying on your phone. This can lead to an increased usage of the battery on your phone. So, always keep a check on the battery status of your phone.
Remove Administrator Access to Uninstall Harmful Apps
Knowingly or unknowingly you may have granted any dangerous app Device administration access. The app may hand over device access to any hacker. Also, this app doesn’t get uninstalled until you revoke its administrative access.
Step 1. Go to ‘Settings’ of your Android.
Step 2. Here look for the option named ‘Security’.
Step 3. Now under security, look for ‘Device Administrators’
Step 4. If you find any malicious apps having access then Deactivate it.
Step 5. Now uninstall the dangerous App.
Once the administrator access is revoked you can uninstall the harmful app and eject the rouge from your device. Just reboot your phone after you have uninstalled the Apps.
How To Keep Yourself Protected?
There isn’t any hard and fast rule that can be followed to keep yourself away from the prying eyes of hackers. But there are a few tips you should always follow to keep yourself protected for as long as possible.
- Keep your phone updated: It is very important that you keep your smartphone up to date with the latest firmware or security updates. Smartphone OEMs often send fixes to keep your data from prying eyes and also fix vulnerabilities due to the previous update. Not only should you keep your smartphone updated, but also make sure that all the apps installed on your phone are up to date.
- Don’t download apps from untrusted sources: One of the common reasons that a user falls prey to malware or spyware is because they download apps from third-party sources. Sure, you will get the app for free, but at the risk of compromising your data. If you trust the source, it’s fine. One thing you can do is thoroughly check for the credibility of that source. If you feel it is not worth trusting, then the website will get you in danger.
- Don’t visit shady websites: You should keep your eyes open when you browse websites online. You can make use of a VPN app for hiding your internet presence and keep yourself away from using public Wi-Fi. Public Wi-Fi should only be used when you need it for emergencies.
- Keep your phone secured: These days, we have a lot of advanced security features embedded in our smartphones. We’ve got fingerprint scanners, facial recognition, password, etc. Make use of these security features to secure your phones. It will keep your phone safe when you leave it unattended.
- Use Antivirus Apps: Due to Android’s open-source policy, it is easy for manipulators to infect any Android device. There are plenty of Antivirus apps available on the Google Play Store. No antivirus app can provide 100% protection but they are powerful enough to eliminate all major threats and viruses from the smartphone.
- Clean Up Junk Files from Android: The build-up of useless, obsolete, and junk files can cause the phone to slow down at large. Using an app with the ability to clean junk and cache can help clear up some space and also help the device to run more efficiently.
So, there you have it from my side in this post. Note that you should always provide the bare minimum information to apps requiring it. Moreover, you should always keep a check on the points we have mentioned above in order to keep yourself secure. Let us know in the comments below if you liked this post. For more such awesome coverage, you can follow us on the DigitBin YouTube channel. Until the next post…Cheers!