How to Protect Your Phone from Being Hacked
Phone hacking can compromise your identity and privacy without you even knowing. Fraudsters continuously evolve and improve hacking methods, making them increasingly harder to spot. This means the average user might be blind sighted by any number of cyberattacks. Fortunately, you can protect yourself by staying up to date on the newest hacks.
Smartphones have brought all our private accounts and data into a single, convenient location — making our phones the perfect target for a hacker. Everything from banking to email and social media is linked into your phone. Which means that once a criminal gets access to your phone, all your apps are open doors for cybertheft.
What is Phone Hacking?
Phone hacking involves any method where someone forces access into your phone or its communications. This can range from advanced security breaches to simply listening in on unsecured internet connections. It can also involve physical theft of your phone and forcibly hacking into it via methods like brute force. Phone hacking can happen to all kinds of phones, including Androids and iPhones. Since anyone can be vulnerable to phone hacking, we recommend that all users learn how to identify a compromised device.
How to Know If Someone is Hacking Your Phone
One or more of these could be a red flag that some has breached your phone:
- Your phone loses charge quickly. Malware and fraudulent apps sometimes use malicious code that tends to drain a lot of power.
- Your phone runs abnormally slowly. A breached phone might be giving all its processing power over to the hacker’s shady applications. This can cause your phone to slow to a crawl. Unexpected freezing, crashes, and unexpected restarts can sometimes be symptoms.
- You notice strange activity on your other online accounts. When a hacker gets into your phone, they will try to steal access to your valuable accounts. Check your social media and email for password reset prompts, unusual login locations or new account signup verifications.
- You notice unfamiliar calls or texts in your logs. Hackers may be tapping your phone with an SMS trojan. Alternatively, they could be impersonating you to steal personal info from your loved ones. Keep an eye out, since either method leaves breadcrumbs like outgoing messages.
What to Do If You’re Smartphone Has Been Hacked
You’ve learned how to identify if someone is hacking your phone. Now, you’re ready to fight back. Here’s how you cut those cybercriminals out of your personal tech.
First, you’ve got to eliminate any malware that’s infiltrated your device. Once you’ve rooted out the data breach, you can start protecting your accounts and keeping hackers out of your phone.
How to Remove the Hacker from Your Phone
These might include:
- Online banking
- Email (work and personal)
- Apple ID or Google account
- Phone passcode
- All social media
Also follow up with any financial or online shopping services that have saved your credit cards or banking details (such as Amazon, eBay, etc.) This will help you to pinpoint any fraudulent transactions and be sure to report and dispute these charges with your bank.
How to Stop Someone from Hacking Your Phone Again
Phone hacking security is increasingly important as more of our personal info becomes digitized and mobile-connected. Since methods are constantly evolving, you will have to be ever vigilant with security.
Being mindful of your digital behavior is the best way to protect yourself and fortunately, there are many known practices that have been proven to lower hacking risks.
How to Protect Your Phone from Being Hacked
Don’t download sketchy or unreputable apps. Look at reviews and research before installing if you are unsure. If you’re not confident in safety of app, do not install it.
Don’t jailbreak your phone. While it allows you to download from unofficial app stores, jailbreaking ups your risk of unknowingly getting hacked. Aside from malware or spyware, this means you’ll miss security patches in the latest OS updates. Jailbreakers skip updates to keep the jailbreak functional. This makes your risks of being hacked even higher than normal.
Keep your phone with you at all times. Physical access is the easiest way for a hacker to corrupt your phone. Theft and a single day of effort could result in your phone being breached. If you can keep your phone with you, a hacker will have to work much harder to get into it.
Always use a passcode lock and use complex passwords. Do not use easily guessable PINs, like birthdays, graduation dates, or basic defaults like “0000” or “1234.” Use an extended passcode if available, like those with 6 characters. Don’t ever reuse a password in more than one place.
Don’t store passwords on your device. Remembering unique passwords for every account can be difficult. So use a secure password manager instead, like Kaspersky Password Manager. These services allow you to store all your secure credentials in a digital vault — giving you easy access and the security you need.
Frequently clear your internet history. It can be simple to profile trends about your life from all the breadcrumbs of your browser history. So, clear everything, including cookies and cache.
Enable a lost device tracking service. If you lose track of your device out in public, you can use a lost device finder to trace its current location. Some phones have a native application for this, while others may need a third-party app to add this feature.
Keep all apps up to date. Even trusted apps can have programming bugs that hackers exploit. App updates come with bug fixes to protect you from known risks. The same applies to your OS, so update your phone itself when you can.
Always enable two-factor authentication (2FA). This is a second verification method that follows an attempt to use your password. 2FA uses another private account or something you physically have. Apple ID and Google accounts offer 2FA in case your device is used by unsavory actors, so always activate it for more security. Biometrics like fingerprints and face ID are becoming popular options. Physical USB keys are also a great choice when available.
Be cautious about using text or email for your 2FA. Text message and email 2FA are better than no protection but might be intercepted through hacks like SIM swapping.
Don’t use public Wi-Fi without a virtual private network (VPN). Products like Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection encrypt and anonymize your data so unwanted viewers can’t see it.