Phone hacking is a surprisingly common yet rarely discussed issue facing modern mobile users, and one of the main downsides is that most victims don’t even realize that their device has been compromised.
To protect you from malicious intervention into your mobile world, here are the main indicators that a breach has occurred, and what each one suggests is going on behind the scenes.
Battery life issues
We all know that some phones have better battery life than others, and also that every portable device will suffer from a gradual decline in battery performance over time. However, it’s rare for a handset to go from having a normal level of battery charge one day, to suddenly experiencing a rapid drain of its energy reserves, even if you recharge it to full.
If this is happening, then it implies that some malicious process is running in the background and using up extra power, thus explaining weird battery life dips even if you can’t see any other apps running.
Odd background noises when you’re on a call
A telltale sign that someone is listening to your private calls is unusual interference that’s audible when you’re in the middle of a phone conversation. It’s an age-old trope from spy movies, but one which still rings true, because you can detect disturbances that indicate something fishy is going on if you are vigilant.
Odd background noises could imply that your call is being intercepted and recorded by a third party, which clearly means that some underhanded hacking has occurred.
Another major indicator that your mobile has been compromised is if it starts to feel much less responsive for no apparent reason.
Again this comes down to malicious software hogging system resources, so in addition to fast-draining battery power, you could see apps take longer to load and the interface fails to detect your inputs as swiftly.
This will be especially noticeable on mid to low-end devices, which won’t have as much processing overhead available to dodgy software that’s hidden from view. Choosing a modern mobile is advised for better all-round performance.
High levels of data usage
Most of us have mobile contracts with a data cap in place, and even if you’ve got an unlimited plan, there will often be a fair use policy which prevents you from going overboard. If you find that your device is chewing through data faster than expected, this may prove that it has been hacked.
The reason for this is that compromised devices are not just used by cybercriminals as a way to steal private data, but can also be roped into botnets of similarly infected hardware, and used to launch DDoS attacks against all sorts of targets.
Keeping tabs on your data usage and looking into any spikes that don’t make sense will help you detect a hack. You can also speed up your networking to make general internet access on the go more convenient.
Dealing with mobile phone infections
Even if you think that your handset has been broken into by outsiders, you still have options to overcome this and restore normal operation.
Having a dedicated antivirus app installed, and carrying out regular scans, is advised. You should also steer clear of installing untrusted apps, or visiting suspicious sites, because these can all create a backdoor for hackers to infect your phone.
Vigilance is important if you want to detect hacks on your smartphone. Also remember that responsible, safe mobile use will protect you from infection in the first place.