Humans are private by nature. We may share an inspiring article or photos from a fun trip, but we keep our sensitive data under wraps. Now imagine if a stranger had free access to, and total control of, your mobile device. All of your personal information, including contacts, emails, payment info, and passwords are exposed. That private information is the pot of gold that cybercriminals are always on the hunt for.
Cybercriminals’ strategies are constantly evolving, and once a device is breached, it’s in their hands. From playing online poker to going on shopping sprees using your payment information, the consequences of a hacked phone are more than annoying—they’re dangerous. To keep your device secure, it’s important to know the signs of a breach, and how to prevent them in the future.
How to Know If Your Mobile Device Has Been Hacked:
- Unfamiliar Apps: When unfamiliar apps pop up on your phone or bizarre messages are sent to numbers in your address book, you may have fallen victim to a hack. Once hackers take control of your device, things will start to look out of order. Hackers often crack devices to load their malicious files, or to cipher personal data for their advantage, so don’t just shrug it off when you see changes that you don’t remember making.
- Unexpected Gifts at Your Front Door: Have you started receiving random packages at home or work? Hate to break it to you, but they’re probably too good to be true (or you have a secret admirer). When hackers gain access to your phone, they most likely have access to all your payment information too. By keeping an eye on your credit card transactions and your mobile phone bill, you can detect early on if it looks like your payment information is at risk.
- Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot: If your phone suddenly can’t keep its charge, it’s possible that malware is running in the background. You may know approximately how long it takes for your mobile device to die depending on the apps you’ve got running. If you find it’s dying quicker than ever before, it could be a red flag that an outsider has gained access. Similarly, a mobile device that runs hot could be infected with malware, since the program will constantly run in the background.
How to Avoid Another Mobile Hack:
- Run Mobile Anti-Virus Software: Protect your device from the inside out with comprehensive security software. McAfee Mobile Security, free for both Android and iOS, helps to protect your device and its data from hackers. Everyone loves fun apps, what’s one more?
- Be Careful About Browsing on Public Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi connections that promise fast, free internet can be easy bait for mobile phone users. We have all found ourselves desperate for internet access, but be choosy of networks. By accessing a compromised one, cybercriminals could also access your personal information.
- Keep Your Phone Updated: Mobile operating systems are regularly updated to provide enhanced security built to defend against updated threats. It may feel like just another task, but the consequences of ignoring the update could ultimately be much more time-consuming than the half hour it takes for your mobile device to reboot.
- Check Your Credit Card Statements Regularly: I know—no one enjoys checking their credit card statements, but it’s a fact of life that we just can’t ignore. You’ll be even more shocked if you receive your bill and it appears as though someone else had a shopping spree of their own. If you do see suspicious payments pop up on your credit card, cancel it immediately.
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