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Signs your smartphone has been hacked and tips to prevent it

Sophisticated smartphone users can do much more than just communicating over the phone. 

Cyber-criminals can take control over your phone to perform malicious activities.

Just what are the signs that indicate your smartphone has been hacked? 

Here are some warning signs that you must watch out for, courtesy of cyber security experts, SG Cyber Security.

1. Your smartphone’s battery life seems problematic

Cyber-criminals who inject malware into your phone have motives such as getting your personal data.

Highly skilled cyber-criminals will not let you detect that there’s anything wrong with your phone but badly coded malware may have an impact on your battery life.

You will find your battery drains faster than usual despite your constant efforts to keep charging it.


2. Abnormal data access usage

There are apps that you are using that might be running in the background without your knowledge, but if you look at the data access usage, you can tell whether a particular app is behaving weirdly.

Free and useful apps seem too good to be true; you should get suspicious when these apps are consuming large amount of data.

Such scenarios are likely to be the works of some malware running in the apps.


3. Weird texts appearing in your SMS

Have you received any SMS that contains weird and funny characters such as a square icon or strange-looking texts?

If the answer is yes, then it is likely that cyber-criminals are attempting to hack into your phone to force you to download malware or viruses.



So we have discussed the signs of a hacked smartphone, now let’s see the ways in which hackers can compromise your smartphone.

1. Bogus mobile phone charging booths

You are just about to close a deal with your client over your phone but realise your battery is draining out and you proceed to a mobile phone charging booth.

Your phone is charging alright and you continue to talk to your client but, unknowingly, the charger itself is a malicious device to extract out all your personal data and/or injecting it with malware.

This is a good example of how hackers don’t need to be physically present to hack into your phone. This is a similar technique to ATM skimming.


2. Rooting or jail-breaking your smartphone

So you think you are being smart by rooting your smartphone to surpass limitations implemented on the device?

Rooting is a process where users attain privileged control/administrative permissions over their phone.

Think again before you do this because this places your phone in a more vulnerable position for it to be hacked.

With a rooted phone, one will be running more applications with root-level privileges, whereas an unrooted phone will be better protected against malicious apps.

So unless you know what you are doing, do not jail-break your phone as this leaves hackers with more opportunities to enter your phone.



So how do you prevent your smartphone from being hacked? 

Rule #1: Lock your phone and change password regularly

It might be a hassle to keep keying in your password each time to check your message or Facebook feeds but this is one important rule to remember to prevent giving hackers easy access your phone.


Rule #2: Updating your phone’s firmware and apps software

Always update both your phone’s firmware and apps software to the most updated version. Firmware and software makers release updates regularly to resolve security issues.


Rule #3: Never connect to unknown wireless networks

Saving on your data usage by connecting to any available wireless networks seems to be a wise choice or is it? Always connect to trusted wireless network zones such as Wireless@SG or hotels’ own official wireless network. 

Hackers will trick users to connect to their wireless device with the aim to steal your personal data or planting malware in your phone.


Rule #4: Do not click on malicious links on your text messages
You may have received an SMS which look like it is from your bank to update your details. Be careful as the SMS may contain links to steal your credentials.