Has your smartphone been hacked? Battery drain, app woes to data spike, five signs to look out for and how to stop it

Do you notice unrecognised and suspicious popups while browsing well-known websites like Google or Twitter? If you are seeing these ads while browsing the web or using your phone, you may have been infected with adware. — 123rf

Smartphone hacking scenes are a common occurrence in many movies. Also, many people tend to believe that only famous people get hacked. However, that is not the case. There is a clear and present danger for everyone. Ordinary people too have their smartphones hacked on a regular basis, and some remain unaware of the malware for a very long time.

Some find out only when they realise they have suffered a major loss. So, if your smartphone has been hacked, the danger is very real and includes loss of data, misuse of the device's processing power, loss of financial details and much more. In fact, hackers can even remotely turn on your cameras!

However, once a smartphone has been hacked, there are certain signs that could indicate it has been compromised. Users must play close attention to these details to ensure they do not have to suffer any loss. While these are not foolproof methods, and you should definitely take your device to an expert, the following pointers can give you a fair idea of whether your phone's security has been compromised.

Here are five warning signs to look out for if you think your smartphone might be hacked.

Excessive battery drain

Has your smartphone's battery started to drain a lot quicker than usual? Phone battery capacities do degrade over time, but the process is usually gradual. If you suddenly see a noticeable drop in battery life, it might be a sign that your phone has been hacked and malicious software is running in the background causing the battery to drain faster.

Reduced performance

If your smartphone performance has recently taken a hit, you can't load webpages properly, or you have to keep restarting your phone to make it run faster, then it is possible that the device has been compromised by malicious software that is running in the background. It could also be a cryptocurrency miner working silently in the background using your system's resources.

Unknown and intrusive popups and advertisements

Do you notice unrecognised and suspicious popups while browsing well-known websites like Google, Twitter or Facebook? These sites do not usually have malicious popups asking you to install antivirus software or other tools, so if you are seeing these ads while browsing the web or using your phone, you may have been infected with adware.

Your apps aren't working properly or you see unknown apps

If well-known apps that you regularly use, like WhatsApp, or Instagram have begun to freeze, stop responding or simply exit without an explanation, it is possible that your device has run out of memory because of malicious software that may be using up your phone's resources.

Increased data usage

An infected device is more likely to communicate with a malicious server to download additional malware to update itself, or to upload private user data like contacts, images and more. This will use up your data and plans, so it is worth keeping an eye on your system for any unusual traffic, under the Data Usage section. It is possible that you are not the only person using your phone.

How to stop a hacker

In order to stop personal data from being accessed in an unauthorised manner, smartphone users must make sure they never install any software from unknown sources. Downloading apps from the Play Store and App Store is a lot safer than trusting files posted online. They must also be aware of any suspicious links while using public WiFi networks.

In order to restore a phone that has been hacked, users can try installing antimalware software from companies like Sophos, Malwarebytes, AVG and Kaspersky. After scanning their device they can uninstall any unknown app. As a last resort, users can back up their personal files and factory reset their devices to remove any malware that might have compromised their phones.

5 signs that say your phone has been hacked

1. Excessive battery drain

2. Reduced performance

3. Pop ups and ads

4. Data usage spike

5. Reduced performance

How to stop hackers

1. Never install any software from unknown sources

2. Don't use public WiFi networks

3. Install antimalware software

4. Back up personal files and factory reset

Remember, only you can stop hackers, but you have to be aware of what is going on in your device. So, keep alert. – Hindustan Times, New Delhi/Tribune News Service

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