Mobile phone hacked? These are typical signs

by Johannes

Internet crime is a growing problem: mainly because many people don’t recognise the signs that a mobile phone has been hacked. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, we have summarised the typical signs of a hacked mobile phone for you.

Typical signs of a hacked Android phone

Hackers often have an easy time on mobile phones with the Android operating system. The operating system is open and unauthorised apps from dubious sources quickly end up on the phone. But even apps from the controlled Google Play Store are not always safe.

  • First of all, lock your device for apps from unknown sources. You can do this in the settings under “Security”. Only download apps from the Google Play Store or known and safe sites.
  • If it’s already too late and you feel you’ve been hacked, the first thing you should do is take a look at your mobile phone bill. Often malicious apps send expensive text messages or make unnoticed calls to premium numbers. You can block access by third-party providers via your mobile phone provider.
  • Control the data usage of your apps. If you find apps in the settings under “Mobile data” or “Data usage” that consume a particularly large amount of data without there being a recognisable reason for this, you should be alert. Data could be sent on to hackers here.
  • You should also check your money and mail account on your mobile phone. If you notice unauthorised access or unusual movements, change the passwords and have an anti-virus programme check your mobile phone. If in doubt, even block bank accounts.
  • A noticeably slower performance can also be a sign of a hack. Malware often runs as an invisible process in the background, but gnaws away at the overall performance of the phone.
  • As mentioned in the previous point, malware affects performance – this also applies to the battery. If it suddenly runs out much faster or gets particularly warm, your phone could be infected by a virus.
  • Even when you’re on the phone, you might recognise a hack – if phone calls simply drop more often or strange noises are heard on the line.
  • If you find apps on your phone that you did not download yourself, you should also consider a hack. Adware or other malicious apps are often downloaded.
  • When you are surfing, do many websites suddenly look completely different than usual? This could also be a sign of a virus that is affecting the exchange of data between a website’s servers and your mobile phone.
  • Probably the clearest indication of a virus or hack: pop-ups. If windows suddenly open that do not appear to be from a specific and reputable app, you should become cautious.
  • With antivirus programmes, it is easy to detect malicious apps and, if necessary, to free your mobile phone from the clutches of hackers. One recommendation from our editorial team is the reliable service “Trend Micro Mobile Security”. Here you can find the complete test report on antivirus apps for Android.

Can iPhones also be hacked? You need to know

In principle, the same applies to iPhones as to Android phones: Only download apps from secure sources, use antivirus programmes and regularly check your accounts for unusual movements.

  • Apple, however, makes it extremely difficult for hackers to gain control of your phone. The App Store is well secured and every app is hand-checked by Apple.
  • Unless you have a jailbroken iPhone, there is no need to worry. If you have jailbroken your iPhone, you should follow the steps above.

Keyword Prevention: How to make sure your phone doesn’t get hacked

You can protect yourself from a hacker attack by taking the following measures:

  • Turn off the Bluetooth on your device when you are not using it. This will make it harder for potential hackers to access your phone.
  • Do you have the latest software updates installed? Regularly update your apps and operating system.
  • Set up a third-party block to avoid hidden subscriptions.
  • Don’t open phishing emails or messages that seem dubious.
  • Install an antivirus programme on your smartphone. This will detect harmful apps in time and prevent them from being installed.

You’ve already been hacked? How to react correctly now

If you fear your smartphone has been hacked, here’s how you should respond:

  • If you can no longer navigate your Android device normally, start it in safe mode. This will prevent third-party applications from loading in the first place.
  • On an Android device, first navigate to the security settings and remove all device administrators. This will prevent apps from uninstalling. Then use antivirus protection to check the installed apps and files on your device. Uninstall malicious apps and delete questionable files. Then manually check the list of installed apps and remove any apps that are unknown to you. If you are unsure, tap on an app and see if you can uninstall it. Otherwise, it is most likely a system app.
  • Use the system settings to remove permissions from all installed apps that you do not need. This can be done on Android devices as well as on iOS. On the former, also deactivate the display via other apps.
  • If this step is not too much work for you, reset your smartphone to factory settings or, at best, completely reinstall the system software using a PC application from your device manufacturer. If desired, also format the SD card if one is available.
  • Change any passwords you have recently entered on your machine. If necessary, contact your network provider to object to unauthorised debits …
  • If you still notice questionable activity on your device after following these steps, it is best to contact a specialist. If you are a professional yourself, try analysing the network traffic with tools like Wireshark beforehand to gain insight into suspicious communication.

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