10 signs your smartphone has been hacked

May 9, 2018 9:41 am Roisin Mooney

Our smartphones often contain an enormous amount of highly sensitive and personal information. Bearing this, and the fact that there are 2.53 billon smartphone users in the world in mind, it’s not surprising that smartphones are increasingly becoming a prime target for hackers.

Have you ever noticed your smartphone acting a bit strange but thought nothing of it? Sometimes there may be genuine reasons for your phone acting up slightly, but to proceed on the side of caution here are some signs you should look out for if you think your smartphone may have been hacked.

Your smartphone is receiving and sending odd messages

Be wary of strange messages that your phone is receiving and sending. If this occurs it could be a possible breach.

Your smartphone is slower than usual

There could be a couple of reasons for your device slowing down, but one potential cause could be malware running in the background, resulting in poor performance of legitimate apps on your device. An update to your device’s operating system may also cause it to slow down – in this case, you do not need to worry.

There are new apps installed – that you didn’t install

With the average smartphone owner having 80 apps on their phone, it can be hard to keep track of what apps are there. In addition, many smartphones will come with apps pre-installed when bought and when an update occurs. Keep an eye out for apps that suddenly appear beyond these exceptions. If you are not sure where the app came from or if it is secure, do a search about the app to find out if it is legitimate or not.

Some apps stop working properly

If you notice an app not working properly or stop working altogether it could be a sign of malware interfering with the app’s functionality.

Your phone is hotter than before

Extra code could be running in the background that not only makes your phone feel physically hotter, but will also drain the battery.

Increased data use

A hacked phone may have installed apps running in the background, all whilst using your data.

You are not able to access your information

Hackers can encrypt your data making it inaccessible.

Your smartphone runs out of memory

Not being able to access information or getting alerts of ‘no memory’ is another warning sign to look out for.

Unexpected charges on your bill

Infected devices mean hackers can rack up huge phone bills by making phone calls on behalf of a remote party proxying through your device. They can also send messages to premium services.

Your smartphone attempts to visit ‘bad’ sites

If your device is connected to a network that blocks access to problematic or inappropriate sites, a sign your smartphone could be hacked is finding out your device was trying to access these sites without your knowledge.

Now you know what signs to look out for, if you fear your device has been infected you should:

Remove any apps that you don’t recognise

Run anti-malware software on your device

If possible, wipe the device and restore factory settings

If you are not sure what to do, get it seen by a professional

Tips for the future

Be cautious when using public Wi-Fi

Update your phone when requested to do so

Avoid downloading apps from third-party sources

Keep an eye on your phone bill