Has My Phone Been Hacked? Or Are These Just Glitches?

Photo by Tyler Lastovich on Unsplash

We bet you’ve asked yourself these questions at least once. Haven’t you? We have, numerous times, and sometimes these are really just glitches interfering with the proper functioning of your smartphone. But sometimes there is some malware seeking out confidential information or a spy app … well, spying on you. How can you tell the difference? What are the threats? Most importantly, what can you do about it? Alright, let’s not panic, but, rather, figure it out step by step.

Potential Threats

Public Wi-Fi networks have been notoriously easy to hack. Public hotspots can be taken over, and you’ll be presented with a fake site prompting you to sign in with sensitive personal information.

  • Tip: If you see two very similar network names, alerts the network owner.
  • Tip: Always sign out after using public Wi-Fi.

Phishing is a very varied – and very successful – hacking tool. Involves hackers pretending to be a trusted company in order to obtain personal data. Often presents via suspicious e-mails.

  • Tip: never click on links from e-mails unless you’re absolutely sure that it’s legitimate.

Bluetooth attacks are getting increasingly widespread. All that’s needed is for the Bluetooth on your phone to be on – and the hacker can gain access to pretty much anything on your device.

  • Tip: always keep your Bluetooth off, unless you’ve a specific reason to turn it on.

Third-party software, especially downloaded from sources other than the official ones, like Apple AppStore and Google PlayMarket, should be subject to close scrutiny. Apple, being a closed-source operating system, is generally less prone to hacking attacks than Android, yet don’t give in to a feeling of false security.

Spy apps – these need to be directly installed on your device by someone who specifically wants to spy on your online activity, phone calls and chats, so think about whether there’s someone like that with access to your phone.

Warning signs

OK, with the threats outlined, let us proceed to the warning signs and see what should alert you in your phone’s behavior.

  • Temperature of the battery.
  • If you phone warms up unreasonably, regardless of the number of applications you’re running on it, it may be a warning sign that there is something going on behind the scenes.
    Phone does not hold the charge.
  • Another warning sin is quick battery drainage. With regular use, you should know approximately how long your battery should hold, and when you notice spikes in power usage, scan your device just in case. If you’re a game addict, this may just mean that you’ve been playing too much.
  • Applications stop working abruptly. This may or may not be a warning sign, but in combination with other alerts it should make you consider the option that you’ve been hacked.
    Echoes during voice calls. Whether on Skype, Viber, WhatsApp or regular phone calls, echoing sounds that are new to your ear are a sign that someone may be listening in on your conversations.
  • Delays in processes like shutdown or powering up, general sluggishness. These may mean that there is extra activity going on, which you are unaware of – i.e., spy apps going to sleep or waking up, or they may just be a glitch in either the software or hardware.
  • Charges for texts you haven’t sent.

Stay safe

How do you deal with these mounting threats? Well, there aren’t any sure-fire remedies, but you can do the following:

  • Run regular anti-virus scans
  • Run regular application monitoring scans and look for apps and processes that do not look familiar
  • Keep your eyes open for the warning signs we’ve described above
  • Install anti-spyware apps (from trusted sources, so as not to install spyware instead – that would be ironic and unfortunate, right?)