The iPhone has a reputation for being secure. Apple has a closed operating system (as opposed to Android’s open-source) and more closely monitors and vets apps in the App Store. And with just one model of phone, the iPhone, Apple can more easily push out updates and put pressure on its users to download them.
This doesn’t mean that your iPhone is immune to attack. Hackers are always coming up with new ways to get into any device, and your iPhone is a prime target for malware, spyware, ransomware, viruses and more. Tap or click here for seven settings to change and increase your iPhone’s security.
Whether you use iOS or Android, it’s not always easy to tell if your phone has been compromised. Hackers can target your devices in many ways, and you may not get an alert or even know that something malicious is going on in the background. Read on for tips on diagnosing a hacked phone.
How they get in
A person doesn’t necessarily have to be a hacker to get into your phone. As you’ll see in some examples below, they can have other motives.
- A person can hold your phone to your face when you’re sleeping and unlock it. This lets them snoop through your device without your knowledge.
- Stalkerware is designed to track you using GPS, call logs, your messages, images, browser history and more. This can be hidden behind another app that seems harmless.
- Harmful downloads and malicious links can infect your phone without your knowledge. Something as innocuous as a PDF file can carry some poisonous data. Be careful where you tap.
- Bad apps, like bad apples, exist everywhere. They can imitate well-known apps or try their luck to trick you into downloading and running them. Once you do so, your phone is infected with malware.
- Hackers can target your SIM card, the tiny chip in your phone associated with your mobile account. This is known as SIM swapping, and the scam entails convincing your mobile carrier that the scammer is you. They can say the phone or SIM card was lost or destroyed. They answer a few security questions and get your phone number reassigned to their SIM. Then they can access your accounts.
- Hackers can intercept your MAC address through your Bluetooth and remotely infect your phone.
There are more ways for strangers to access your phone, and these are just some to watch out for.
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Look for the signs
How do you know that your phone has been hacked? Here are some red flags:
- Too many processes running at once slow down your phone. Or it can be a single culprit in the form of malware eating up a lot of resources. This can also cause your phone to heat up.
- Your battery is draining much faster than usual due to some unknown activity.
- Significant spikes in data usage could signal adware and the like, which run in the background.
- Malware can slow down your internet by redirecting your traffic to unsafe servers or simply hogging your bandwidth to steal more information from you or target others.
- If you notice activity that you had nothing to do with, like sending emails and messages and social network posts, your phone and accounts have been hacked. Check your streaming history and credit card purchases for unfamiliar activity as well.
- Spammy pop-ups are a good indicator that your phone has been hacked.
- Check for changes to your home screen and unfamiliar bookmarks.
- Apple has announced that it will notify users if their devices have been compromised by state-sponsored malware and spyware. Tap or click here for our report.
How to protect your phone from hackers
When it comes to keeping hackers out of your phone, just a little bit of effort can make a huge difference:
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