Your mobile phone carries a lot of information – about you, your family, your banking details, passwords, photos and videos, and personally identifying data – and all of it can be used against you if you get hacked.
Hacking into a phone is quite easy, and is usually done by injecting malicious code through files disguised as legitimate apps. This code then can log everything you do, destroy every file, or corrupt the functioning of your device. The phone can also be employed in a botnet.
Fortunately, all hacking attempts can be avoided, and all hackers can be kicked off of your phone by using the right tools, such as antivirus software.
In this article, we go over the signs of a hacked device, a guide on how to remove a hacker from your phone, and some steps you can take to protect your phone and your data in the future.
How to know if your phone is hacked?
Are you worried your phone might be hacked but don’t know how to check? Here are some things to look out for:
- Unusual behavior. This is the most obvious sign that your phone has been hacked into. The unusual behavior could be anything from apps launching without you having touched them at all to your phone’s screen suddenly lighting up without any notifications or any prompts from you.
- High data usage. If you run out of mobile data unusually quickly, or if the usage is overall unusually high (you can check this in your phone’s settings), your phone might have been hacked. Your mobile data might be used for transmitting information from and/or to the hacker’s device.
- Suspicious apps. If you notice any suspicious apps that you don’t recognize and don’t remember installing, this could be the activity of a poorly concealed hacker.
- Battery drain. Certain malicious activities, such as spyware or crypto mining, might drain your device’s resources.
- The phone is unusually slow. If your phone takes ages to boot, restart, or launch apps and is generally very laggy, it might be due to hacking.
- Unusual text and call logs. Sometimes the signs of a hacked phone can be in your call or text logs, such as outgoing calls you didn’t make, or messages you didn’t send.
- No symptoms. Even if neither of the signs above is present, you can never be sure that you’re phone isn’t hacked. Some hacking techniques are very sophisticated and specially designed to be unnoticeable. If you think that is the case, we recommend taking the actions described below.
How to get rid of a hacker?
While it might be totally unclear at first what to do if your phone gets hacked, don’t worry, we’re here for you. The process of removing a hacker is simple – just follow the step-by-step guide below to get rid of a hacker once and for all:
- Choose a reliable antivirus for your phone. We recommend TotalAV, now X off!
- Download the antivirus from Google Play Store or Apple App Store.
- Install the antivirus, then log in or register.
- Run a full scan of your phone. This may take a while.
- Once the scan is complete, follow the recommendations from the antivirus app.
- Enable real-time protection in your antivirus app.
- If nothing helps, do a factory reset. You can find this option in your phone’s general settings.
How to prevent your phone from getting hacked
- Get a quality antivirus app. An antivirus with real-time protection will monitor the security of your phone at all times and will inform you about any potential threats.
- Use a VPN when connected to public wifi networks, such as airports or cafes. Many hackers use unprotected wifi networks to execute man-in-the-middle attacks and hack into people’s devices. A reliable VPN will encrypt your traffic and prevent any hackers from tinkering with it.
- Avoid downloading suspicious apps. Third-party apps from random websites and not the official stores often are malware disguised as legitimate applications. Never download apps from ads and untrustworthy sites.
- Do not click on ads on torrenting and similar sites. These ads could contain links to malicious websites, or trigger downloading of malicious files onto your device.
- Keep your phone updated. The OS updates always include critical security patches to keep your phone secure. If you miss these updates, the risk of your device becoming vulnerable to attacks increases.
Getting hacked is no fun – it can lead to identity theft, general loss of privacy, compromised bank accounts, and many other terrible things. And you might not always notice that your phone has been hacked in the first place.
Luckily, there are some telltale signs of a hacked device, as well as tried and tested ways to remove hackers from your phone. For example, you can use reliable and advanced antivirus software, such as TotalAV, to scan your device for any threats and efficiently remove them. Antivirus software with real-time protection will also keep your device safe from threats and attacks in the future.
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Can I remove a hacker by resetting my phone?
Yes, you should be able to remove a hacker by doing a factory reset on your phone. Keep in mind that this solution will remove all of your data, including contacts, third-party apps, photos, and other files. You will need to set up your phone entirely from scratch. To avoid this, we recommend using a quality antivirus, such as TotalAV, to remove threats from your phone.
What do I dial to see if my phone has been hacked?
If you suspect your phone has been hacked, you can dial these numbers:
*#004# - to see where your calls and messages get redirected every time you’re unavailable, reject the call, your phone is off,
*#21# - to see if your calls get redirected to or through anywhere else before reaching the person you’re calling.
*#06# - to see your phone’s IMEI address. This is not necessarily related to hacking, but the IMEI number is crucial to know if you lose your phone or it gets stolen.
Can someone hack your phone just by knowing your number?
No, it is impossible to hack a phone with only a phone number. However, a bad actor could use your phone number to send you links leading to malware, or make phishing calls. Always be cautious about clicking on links your receive or calls you get from unknown numbers.
What can I put on my phone to stop hackers?
The best thing to put on your phone to prevent hacking is a quality antivirus app. The best antivirus apps, such as TotalAV, have real-time protection, which will keep your phone safe at all times and monitor all incoming threats. Not only that, but many antivirus apps also have additional features, such as VPNs and password managers, which also add to your phone’s security.