What can happen if someone gets access to your phone? You might think first of someone chuckling over your family pictures or late-night chats with close friends. But the stakes are often much higher than that.
Your smartphone is a gateway to your cloud storage, banking account, and corporate emails – all of them have become prime targets for hackers aiming to steal your hard-earned savings or confidential company data.
In situations like these, every minute counts. While you can’t predict every hacking attempt, spotting a data breach as soon as it happens could prevent a full-blown disaster – it’s about avoiding the domino effect by taking action early.
We have compiled this article to guide you on the quickest steps to secure your data. Learn how to find out who hacked your phone, what signs indicate a data breach, and how to protect yourself against future threats.
How to Know If My Phone Is Hacked?
Even though hacking techniques evolve and become more sophisticated, your device performance may give you a clue on how to tell if someone hacked your phone. Let’s look at a few signs:
1. Your Phone Overheats More Than Usual
If your phone gets so hot that you can barely hold it, it may be hacked. The processor heats up quickly because the malware constantly sends your data to an external server. This brings us to the next sign…
2. Your Battery Life Is Short
The processor is not the only smartphone component a hacking attack can damage. Once again, the malware demands a significant amount of RAM that inevitably drains the battery at double the regular speed.
However, short battery life or an excessively hot processor can indicate other issues. For example, you run several resource-intensive applications, like graphic-intense games, simultaneously. Alternatively, your battery’s capacity dropped below 70%, and you need to replace it.
3. You Hear Unusual Noises
If you’re wondering how to know if my phone is hacked, the background noises may indicate that someone has installed an eavesdropping app on your device. Take a moment to recall the last phone conversation you had. Did you hear echoes, clicking sounds, or white noise? If so, your phone might have been hacked, and it’s better to avoid using it for sensitive conversations.
4. You Get Suspicious Notifications
Have you ever received strange calendar reminders with attached links? Calendar viruses are known as hookers used for phishing attacks. If you open any of these notifications, the software will collect your data and send it the third parties.
Here’s a silver lining: hackers can’t move on to their next steps without your permission. But beware, it’s easy to grant access with an accidental tap.
5. Your Phone Distorts the Sounds
Do you know how the sound of your TV or speakers can change when you’re on a phone call? That’s a typical situation caused by shifted frequencies of your electronic devices, which get amplified during a call. But if your phone silently lies nearby and you notice the same sound changes, someone could be recording your surroundings with hidden software installed on your device.
6. You Notice Unfamiliar Apps
Your detective work on how to trace a phone hacker may lead you to App Manager on your device. You might notice unfamiliar apps you don’t remember downloading or a blank field marked only with megabytes and no specific names. Unfortunately, it’s a best-case scenario, as sophisticated malware doesn’t appear on the main screen, app manager, and directory files.
Alternatively, you can look for subtle clues indicating that someone has cracked your smartphone, such as increased network usage, unusual periods of active use, and full external storage.
Who Hacked My Phone and How Did They Do It?
If you are pretty sure that your phone has been compromised, your next task is to uncover the identity of the digital intruder. Who hacked my phone? Anonymous group? Or, even worse, someone I know very well?
Indeed, mobile hacking isn’t as high-tech as it’s often made out to be. You might picture a professional spy with exceptional coding skills watching your every move. But the truth is that spy apps can be purchased in minutes and downloaded to your phone just like any regular app.
Yes, you got that right. Phone tracking apps are available on the open Internet. As a result, your close people could install them on your device without you even realizing who hacked my phone. Sometimes, they don’t even need to access your smartphone physically.
We’ve researched the market to see what spy apps are available and how they work. Below, you’ll find a chart of the top monitoring tools that could be installed on your phone.
|Message and call history
Live GPS locations
Photos & Videos
Calendar logs & notes
Chats on instant messengers
SMS, emails & shared multimedia
|Chats on Viber, WhatsApp and iMessages
Most visited sites
|Chats, posts, and friend lists on 12+ social media platforms
Live screen recording
Shared and stored photos & videos
Passwords, notes, and other personal data
How to Find Out Who Hacked Your Phone?
Although most spy apps are designed to conceal digital tracks leading back to the person who hacked my phone, it’s possible to uncover a hacker’s identity. Below you’ll find how to do it in three ways.
For Android Phones
Android spyware works quite simply. The hacker downloads an APK file to your phone and installs it just like any other app. Once it’s up and running, the app starts uploading your data to the cloud storage, which can be accessed from any device.
So, how to trace a phone hacker in that case?
Start by installing an antivirus scanner to identify the name of the spy app installed on your smartphone. Once you’ve done that, inform the app’s developers that their monitoring app was installed without your consent. They should be able to provide you with the hacker’s data, usually an email address.
IOS system leans heavily on iCloud as the primary data backup and device protection solution. It automatically sends almost all of your personal information to the cloud storage. The best part? Any time you log into icloud.com from a phone, PC, or tablet, it appears in the entry log, specifically the ‘Linked Devices’ list.
So, if someone has remotely installed a spy app using your iCloud credentials, their device could appear in that list. Here’s how to find out who hacked your phone:
- Open Settings.
- Tap on your Apple ID at the top of the page.
- Scroll down to the Linked Devices list.
- Find an unfamiliar device.
- Contact Apple support and ask them for the IP address of the unauthorized device.
- Use the IP address to track the hacker.
Let’s say someone you know has sneakily put a tracking app on your device. Naturally, you delete it as soon as the antivirus detects a threat. Would they try to reinstall spyware to regain access to your data? Absolutely! And there’s the point where you can set a trap and discover who hacked my phone. Consider using something like the Lockwatch app. It automatically takes a photo when someone tries to unlock your phone and sends it to your email.
I Know Who Hacked My Phone. What Are the Next Steps?
Discovering who hacked my phone is only half the battle. Now, let’s move on to securing your device. Here’s how you can do it in 3 easy steps:
1. Install Spyware Scanner
The methods we’ve shared on how to know if my phone is hacked might give you a clue where spyware usually hides. However, even if you locate it, don’t delete the app manually as you would with regular software. Residual malicious files that allow the virus or spyware to recover itself are often hidden in hard-to-reach spots of your device’s memory.
So, to delete residual files and prevent reinstallation, look for a reputable anti-spyware app. You can consider Avast or Norton security solutions. Both of them have vast feature sets and work with most smartphones.
2. Run Several Scans
Malware scanners accomplish two tasks simultaneously: searching for and deleting harmful files. Sometimes, even the most robust firewalls require several cycles to eradicate malware. That’s not a must-do step. However, considering that you don’t have to put much effort into using a virus scan (usually just a single button click), we recommend performing at least two scan cycles.
Some users prefer to wipe out the device once they know who hacked my phone. Again, run an antivirus scanner before you resort to such a drastic measure and back up all data. Otherwise, your system will copy the malicious files to your backup drive, and you’ll have to go through all the steps once again.
3. Set New Passwords
Advanced spy apps come with a keylogger tool that records any keystrokes you type in, including logins and passwords. So, by the time you figure out how to trace a phone hacker, someone will likely already hold the keys to your private accounts. After running a virus scan, consider setting complex long-tail passwords that are different for each service you use.
How to Secure Your Device from Hackers
If you have ever had to remove malware, you know how time-consuming the process can be. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to foresee such incidents. However, you can use tested-and-tried prevention methods to secure your devices against future attacks.
1. Use VPN Service
A virtual private network hides your IP address, providing a secure and anonymous Internet experience. You can download any VPN app from your official store and tap once to activate the connection. As a result, hackers will fail to track your device by IP.
2. Use Real-Time Antivirus Scanners
With real-time antivirus scanners, you don’t need to wonder how to know if my phone is hacked. Once you install one, any phishing messages or malicious websites will be blocked before you even open them. Moreover, you can set up notifications on login attempts, data breaches, or password changes.
However, remember that the most advanced anti-malware apps are subscription-based. Often, free versions have limited feature sets and provide less protection. So, consider investing in a paid app for maximum security.
3. Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication, or 2FA, is a more complex password system that typically requires a security pin in addition to your usual password. The security pin is sent to any secondary device you own. As a result, even if hackers gain access to your phone, they won’t be able to log into any of your accounts without this additional verification.
4. Avoid Public Wi-Fi
If someone has compromised your device through a public Wi-Fi network, you might not find out who hacked my phone. Since it lacks password protection, anyone can connect and access your device using its IP address. Therefore, avoid using public Wi-Fi networks whenever possible, and use a virtual private network (VPN).
Unfortunately, installing spyware is not rocket science. Anyone who aims to hack your device can quickly find and download an invisible spy app, just like any regular software. Here are key tips on how to trace a phone hacker and reduce the risk of future attacks:
- Discover the name of a spy app and contact its developer to obtain the hacker’s data, such as email, name, or phone number.
- Run an antivirus scanner as soon as possible and use it regularly.
- Change your passwords and enable two-factor authentication for all your accounts.
- Use a reliable VPN service.