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What to Do When Your Phone Gets Hacked

Summary
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This article provides to the readers the steps they need to take if their phones ever get hacked, alongside the signs that show that their phones got hacked.

You might be surprised to know that a hacker’s attack happens every 39 seconds, during which 75 logs or data content are stolen every single second.  

In 2020, malware infecting Apple's iOS devices increased by 165%. Moreover, a recent BBC report published in 2020 indicated that there were more than a billion Android OS devices at risk of getting hacked, as they were not protected by security updates. 

These alarming figures raise concerns about the risks of your phone getting hacked and what you should do when someone hacks your phone while you’re unaware. Therefore, in this article, we offer practical tips that you can use if your phone gets hacked. 

 

What does phone hacking mean?  

This is a practice when some “hacker” maliciously accesses your mobile data without permission. It is much like intercepting phone calls or gaining access to messages, photos, etc. 

Such attacks can be powerful or limited, targeting all kinds of mobiles phones, including Android and iPhone devices, as anyone can fall victim to these hackers. 

 

Signs that your phone has been hacked 

  • Suspicious activity on your phone: 

For example, outgoing calls, text messages you didn’t send, applications you didn’t download, online purchases you didn’t make, or any other unusual activity on your phone. 

  • Slow performance:

Malware and other hacking tools running in the background drain your phone’s power and battery. Applications frequently crash or don’t function properly and your phone gets hotter and performs more slowly than usual.  

  • Shorter battery life:

If you suddenly notice that your phone battery is dying faster than usual, this is a warning that there is something wrong. This might be caused by some malware used to record your activities, harvest your mobile data and transmit them to hackers.  

Moreover, malware can run in the background even if your phone is in sleep mode and the screen is off. 

  • Unexpected pop-ups:

If you notice endless pop-up alerts on your phone, it could mean that your phone is infected by adware, a common tool by which phones get easily hacked.  

  • Suspicious account activity:

Another sign that your phone has been hacked is when hackers access your different accounts, including your social media pages, e-mail, and other applications on your device, where Cyber attackers might post on your behalf, reset your passwords, send or read your e-mails without your knowledge or subscribe to accounts you’re unfamiliar with. 

  • Cloud hacking:

Without using your device, your iCloud account can be attacked, which allows cyber attackers to have access to massive amounts of backed-up data, including photos, personal videos, contacts, current location, SMS, call logs and saved passwords.  

 

What should you do if your phone has been hacked? 

  • Alert your contacts:

First, we recommend that you tell your contacts that your phone has been hacked, and ask them to disregard any suspicious links they may receive from you, and avoid all communication or interaction with the hacker pretending to be you. 

  • Delete suspicious applications:

Downloading spy or suspicious applications is one common way to attract malware to your device. If you find that your phone has been hacked, go through your applications and delete anything that was not downloaded from the App Store or Google Play.

Also, ensure that every application you have recently downloaded has been developed by reputable highly ranked app developers. 

  • Use security software:

Mobile security software will help identify any malware found on your device and target them. Enable mobile security software at once to minimize any damages and protect your information. 

  • Enable multi-factor authentication:

Most applications offer users the multi-factor authentication feature that will provide security. When you enable this setting, the hacker will not be able to login to any of your accounts even if he has managed to get your username and password because, with multi-factor authentication, a hacker will need to complete a second step to authorize login, which will be difficult to achieve. 

  • Reset your phone:

You can get rid of most malicious software with the factory reset. Although this would remove all data stored on your phone, including photos, notes, and contacts, this step is a must in order to stop the attack. Therefore, it is important to regularly back up your data, in case you need to reset your device at any time. 

  • Change your passwords:

Your login credentials may be cracked when your phone is hacked. So, once you clear any malware, reset all your passwords, and create a strong, unique password for each of your accounts. 

  • Report attacks to Qatari authorities:

You can Report cyber-crimes to Cyber Crime Investigation Centre via the Metrash2 application, phone number 2347444, hotline 66815757, or e-mail to cccc@moi.gov.qa''  

 

How do you prevent your phone from being hacked? 

The possibility of your phone getting hacked is definitely something you should worry about, but, fortunately, you can take precautionary measures to prevent this from happening, or to address it in case it actually happened. The following are the measures: 

  • Use mobile security software:

Your smartphone is loaded with data just like your computer. So, make sure to protect your important information and your privacy, by using a full-scale mobile security software that does not only protect you from online threats, but also from data theft, while maintaining your privacy.  

  • Lock your smartphone and don't save passwords:

Make sure you’re using complex passwords or Facial ID to unlock your smartphone. In this case, if you lose your phone, or if your phone gets hacked, it will be difficult for a stranger to access your data. 

Also remember that you should not save your passwords or login credentials for banking applications and other sensitive accounts, because you don’t want the hacker to automatically log in to your bank account like you do if he gains access to your smartphone. 

  • Avoid using public networks:

Turn off Bluetooth on your smartphone when you’re not using this option. Also, avoid free access to Wi-Fi networks at hotels and airports, because it is easy for hackers to see the information you share over these networks.  

Moreover, you need to be careful when using public charging stations, and always pick a “charging only” cable to avoid any access to your data. 

  • Keep your phone with you at all times:

Never leave your smartphone unattended in public places; anyone can play with it and manage to hack it, and it’s only a matter of seconds.  So, keep your phone with you all the time, or anywhere you can see it, whenever you’re in a public place. 

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Last edited
28-07-2021
Reading time
6 minutes

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At least once a week run your mobile anti-virus so it can help you identify and get rid of any malware.

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