Can Your Smart Phone be Hacked?

Can Your Smart Phone be Hacked?

It seems like everywhere you turn, we hear that someone has some piece of technology they own being hacked. Smart phones seem like an easy and obvious target. You gotta wonder how easy it is and how often it happens? The reality is that any device that can connect to the internet, is hackable. Your smart phone can be hacked and you would be completely unaware.

Can my smart phone hacked? 

It is not difficult to hack a smart phone. With the use of spy apps it is possible for hackers to make overseas calls, send texts and shop online without your knowledge. They don’t care that they’re using extra data because they’re not paying for it; You are.  Smartphones are being hacked through the use of public WiFi.  This is another avenue that cyber criminals exploit.

What is a spy app?

A spy app is also known as cell phone spy software. It is basically a mobile app that monitors activity on a targeted phone. The app can record phone calls, messages and any other sensitive information. Once recorded, it sends the info to the apps server. The app runs in the background and can’t be detected. There are a few different spy apps but they all pretty much work the same way. The app gets installed on the target phone, which means that the hacker needs access to your phone at least once. The hacker enters their license key and the app goes to work. They can now monitor your activity through an online account.

Hacking by WiFi

A favorite of hackers is the use of public WiFi. You put yourself at risk of having your phone hacked if you connect to public WiFi. Usually public WiFi is unencrypted and unsecured. Making it very easy to intercept your information. Another method that hackers use is a rogue hotspot. They will set up a hot spot that looks just like the one you’re trying to connect to. When you mistakenly log in to the rogue WiFi hotspot, you are now in their network and they can gain access to your phone. They can gain access to sensitive info or install malware on your smart phone.

How can I tell if my phone is hacked?

There are a few ways to determine if you smart phone has been hacked.

  1. An unusual increase in data usage; there may be malware running in the background which may be transmitting data to a third party. This may happen if you installed an app from a third party app store. If you think it can be an app, check your data usage per app. If it seems high for what the apps function is, you can try deleting the app and reinstalling from a trusted app store. Just realize that if you do have malware on your phone, doing this may not get rid of your problem
  2. Unusual and unexpected charges on your; Cyber criminals can use your phone to make long distance overseas calls
  3. Your smart phone seems slower; If you have been infected with malware, your phone’s performance will be affected and operate at much slower speeds. But realize, that sometimes system updates sometimes can affect the performance of your device. Filling the memory on your device will also hurt performance.
  4. Your phone may be sending or receiving strange text messages; if you notice that you are receiving unusual texts or emails, or your friends are receiving messages from you that you didn’t send, this may signal a breach on your device
  5. New apps show up on your phone but you didn’t install them; sometimes service providers will install new apps during updates, but if you don’t think that is the case, do a google search on the app and see how legitimate it is
  6. All of a sudden, your phones battery drains a lot faster; Malware that is constantly monitoring your activity and transmitting your information and running in the background uses a lot of battery power.
  7. Your phone seems to get hotter; the malware constantly running can also make your phone run hotter
  8. Some apps stop working properly; some apps suddenly running poorly can mean that malware is affecting their performance.
  9. Email sent from your device, is being diverted to a spam folder; if all of a sudden, sent email is getting blocked by spam filters, that could mean that your email configuration has been changed and is being relayed through an unauthorized server, allowing your emails to be read by a third party
  10. Service Disruptions; you may have been breached if you start getting call drops or you can’t make calls when you can see that you have a strong signal, or you hear strange noises in the background. There can be technical issues that explain these problems, but if you notice these problems after installing an app from an unsecured third party store or maybe clicking on an unfamiliar email, you may have been infected with malware.

What can you do to fix the problem?

If you believe that your phone was infected, then you need to run mobile anti-malware software and remove any apps you don’t recognize. If possible, wipe the phone and reset to factory settings. Reinstall apps from a trusted store. If none of these things help, then it is possible that your phone was rooted. What this means, is that someone has gained root access to the Android operating system code on your phone (this is called jail breaking on Apple phones). This allows someone to modify software and install software that the manufacturer wouldn’t normally allow. If you think this may be the problem, you need to take your phone to a professional.

6 thoughts on “Can Your Smart Phone be Hacked?”

  1. Great post!  I had really been wondering about this, as I’ve been receiving spam from Instagram and Facebook friend requests leading to spam profiles recently.  I made the mistake of clicking on some of them to confirm if they were spam or not and really fear what is opening those dodgy sites doing to my smart phone?
    I close them down shortly afterwards, but am concerned about their effect on my Apple iPhone.
    I wonder if those apps like “SecureMe” and “VPN secure” are enough when using the public wifi?

  2. Really educational post you put up here. I’m glad to see that I have something new to learn about my smartphone today. One time, my Facebook account was hacked and I couldn’t tell how or why, some of my close Facebook friends began calling to ask how I was doing because apparently the person who hacked my Facebook account had been chatting with them and making up stories about me. I was able to retrieve my account back but I had to rest my phone and since then I’ve kept away from public WiFi. Thank you for this post. I’ll be sure to check through the lists of warnings that you gave if I think my phone has been hit by hackers.

    • Sorry to hear about your Facebook account being hacked.  That had to have been very frustrating and I’m sure time consuming.  I’m glad I could help though.   

  3. Excellent post and an issue that surely needs to be talked about and that requires more attention. The rate of phones that are getting hacked is getting very alarming. I once lost access to my 2 social media accounts and it was very bizarre for me to discover that the hacker had committed fraud on my accounts by cooking stories up about me. It was a serious issue.  I was later able to counter it by taking my phone to a professional engineer. Though to be honest, I had been making use of public WiFi a lot.  Since that issue came up, I have stopped using public WiFi and also, I inspect my phone regularly.

  4. It’s really scary to think of all the ways your information could be compromised.  You always think it can’t happen to you until it does.  We carry our lives around in our phones, and our laptops, so we really need to be on top of things.  Your article is great because instead of wondering what the heck is going on and possibly ignoring the warning signs, by knowing some of these signs, we can correct the problem immediately.  Such great information – I want to thank you for sharing it!

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