In addition to making calls and texting, we use our phones to do more and more things in our daily lives. Which makes them lucrative targets for attacks because they contain a lot of data stored in one place, like private or financial information.
Today, countless threats hang over your mobile device. Pirates have evolved their techniques. Malware is used by hackers to infect devices and find information on them. This malware is usually sent to you via emails, SMS or social media as a link with extremely convincing information that tricks you into clicking on it or downloading malware. Giving an app permission to access sensitive information like your location, photos, and microphone can also put your data at risk if it shares your information with insecure third-party services.
There are different ways to hack a phone. First, we have fake advertisements: if a mobile phone user clicks on a link in a fake advertisement, they may be prompted to download malware that infects their device and steals sensitive information. Then we have malware: these suspicious apps stealthily infect your device in the background and gain access to your passwords, text messages and other data. Public Wi-Fi could also be dangerous. Hackers can access your phone through public connections and gain access to data. That’s why some mobile users use a virtual private network (VPN) instead, which is a personal network that protects you from the unsecured network of the Wi-Fi you’re connected to. And finally Bluetooth: hackers only have to be physically close to you to access your phone without you having to click a button.
If you’re in doubt that your phone has been hacked, there are a few key signs to look out for:
- It is slower than usual: When malicious programs are downloaded to your phone, they can steal storage space and processing power, slowing everything else down.
- Pop-up ads appear: Malicious advertisements may appear when you visit a trusted site. If you notice more pop-ups than usual, it may be a sign of a virus.
- Your battery drains faster: Malware and spyware run in the background, which can quickly drain your battery life. If you are an iPhone or Android user, you can check your battery usage in your settings to see how it is distributed.
- Unusual activity on phone-linked accounts: Unusual activity can include hackers using your social media accounts to send strange messages or make posts with malicious links.
- You notice duplicate apps: Fake apps can look almost identical to the real ones, so be careful and don’t open any duplicate apps you notice.
That’s not all. There are other signs of a hacked phone, such as reduced quality of screenshots, abnormally high data usage, and random app crashes…
Here are some prevention tips to avoid phone hackers:
- Use anti-malware software: a great way to add an extra layer of defense against attackers and alert you when malware is installed on your phone.
- Manage Wi-Fi and Bluetooth : As a general rule, turn off your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth access when not in use.
- Update your phone frequently: Phone and app updates often patch weak spots that hackers use to hack into mobile devices.
- Password manager: Using a secure password manager is a great way to use several different passwords without losing track of them.
Always remember to be careful not to click on strange links or install an app you don’t recognize. If you protect your personal information and your device, you can greatly reduce the risk of losing sensitive information so that you can use and enjoy your phone safely.
Bastien Bobe (Lookout)
Photo credit: DR
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