How to know if the smartphone has been intercepted

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Aina Prat Blasi

The splash screen is just a matrix of numbers. The device discharges quickly or restarts suddenly. Alternatively, you notice outgoing calls that you never made. It is likely that your smartphone has been intercepted. The sad truth is that hackers now have a multitude of ways to get into your phone, without ever touching it.

As our smartphones have become our new wallets, containing a treasure trove of personal and financial information, a breach can put you at serious risk.

The intruder could log into your accounts, spam your contacts with phishing attacks, or otherwise do you another million damage, I talked about that in this article. They could also access any passwords saved on the phone, potentially opening the door to get into your bank accounts.

That's why it's important to be able to recognize when your smartphone has been hacked, especially since some signals can be subtle. Here are some helpful clues:

1. Difference in performance

Is your device running slower, are web pages and apps harder to charge, or does the battery not last as long as it used to? What about your data plan? Are you exceeding your normal limits? These are all signs that you have malware running in the background, which is consuming your phone's resources.

You may have downloaded a malicious app or clicked on a dangerous link in a text message. And malware, like Cryptocurrency Mining, can compromise processing power, sometimes causing your phone to heat up, even when you're not using it.

Mining derives from the English term "to mine" that is to extract, but focused on cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin Mining therefore refers to their extraction process. Mining Bitcoin does not mean creating money, BTCs are generated automatically within the B2B network - term coined to define inter-company commercial relationships - which manages this currency, distributed online in a completely random way. So Mining Bitcoin means getting BTC generated from the network and distributed online.

2. Mysterious apps or data

If you find apps you haven't downloaded or calls, text messages, and emails you haven't sent, a hacker is probably on your system. They may use your device to send premium rate calls or messages or to spread malware to your contacts.

3. Popup on the screensaver page

Malware can also be behind spam pop-ups, home screen changes, or suspicious website bookmarks. In fact, if you see configuration changes that you haven't made yourself, that's another big clue that your smartphone has been hacked.

What to do?

If any of these scenarios seem familiar, it's time to take action. Start by deleting any apps or games you haven't downloaded, deleting risky messages, and running mobile security software, if any. Alert your contacts that your phone has been compromised and ignore any suspicious links or messages from you.

If the problem persists, consider resetting the phone to its original settings. Search online for instructions for your particular phone and operating system to find out how. Now, let's see how to avoid getting hacked in the first place.

Safe smartphone tips

1. Use mobile security software: Nowadays your smartphone is as rich in data as your computer. Make sure you protect your critical information and privacy by using comprehensive mobile security software that not only protects you from online threats, but offers anti-theft protection and privacy.

2. Lock the device and do not remember passwords: make sure you use a passcode or facial ID to lock your device when you're not using it. That way, if you lose your phone, it will make it harder for a stranger to access your information. Also, remember not to save your password or login information for banking apps and other sensitive accounts.

3. Avoid using the Public Wi-Fi: Free Wi-Fi networks, such as those offered in hotels and airports, are often unsafe. This makes it easy for a hacker to potentially see the information you are sending over the network. Also, be wary of using public charging stations, unless you choose a “charge only” cable that cannot access your data.

 4. Never leave your device unattended in public: also if there are a lot of online threats, you still need to be aware of real-world threats, like someone taking your device as soon as you leave it unattended. Keep your smartphone with you at all times, or at least in sight, while in public. If you have enabled the "phone visibility" option, disable it. This setting allows nearby devices to see your phone and exchange data with it.

5. Attention: new mobile threats are emerging all the time. Keep up to date with the latest scams and warning signs, so you know what to look for.

Further Reading:

  • How to know who saved your number using WhatsApp
  • Can WhatsApp messages be decrypted?
  • How to know if my android phone is 64bit or 32bit
  • The new WhatsApp feature lets you know how many times your messages have been forwarded
  • How to share WhatsApp status as a story on Facebook
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