A majority of us have at least one smartphone or laptop or a tablet where we store most of our personal information. The more we’re connected to the internet, the more data we consume which thus has a proportional effect on the data stored on a smartphone or tablet. What this means is you’ll be in a tense situation if your primary smartphone or laptop gets stolen or in the worst case, gets hacked. We’ve thus compiled a list of ways you’ll know for sure whether your device is hacked and how should you proceed when such a thing happens.
Random browser popups
Have you encountered a situation where your browser opens a new tab randomly and loads up a website that looks shady? If you feel that the occurrence of that on your smartphone or computer is way too much, it’s a sign that you’ve been hacked or security of your device has been compromised. You can verify if this is the case by loading up a familiar site which doesn’t usually result in ad popups.
If your browser still opening new tabs, then you can start with clearing the data of your browser app. Worst case scenario, you might have to format your computer or mobile and load a fresh batch of an operating system.
Public WiFi which falsely claims unearthly amounts of free data
With the abundance of free public internet access in India, it’s important to note that connecting to any WiFi network in a public area carries its own risk because there’s no normal way to know whether the connection is secure.
Hackers can generate a fake access point for you to login to their network to monitor and access to your device. Always keep an eye on the WiFi network you log in to and whether that particular network belongs to the establishment that has set it up if you suspect a change in logo or a typo in the description, the turn back and do not connect to the network.
Avoid keeping your Bluetooth on when not accessed
While it sounds less obvious, attacks through Bluetooth have affected billions of devices as an attacker only need Bluetooth active on your smartphone for a little time to gain access to your data and the phone in itself and spread malware which will give them unlimited access to your phone.
If you witness that your phone is downloading files in random or if you’re receiving spam emails and text, you should turn off your Bluetooth connection and reset all the previous connections made through Bluetooth on the device to refrain from further attacks.
Unnecessary apps that you don’t recall to have downloaded yourself
While the App Store is a safe affair, the Google Play Store definitely is not. However, if you visit a suspicious site once, there’s a possibility that one of these sites would force you to download and install an app on your phone. Such apps, however unharmful they might look like could be a backdoor to your smartphone by distributing malware or spyware throughout your device.
If you notice that there apps lying around in your app drawer which you don’t recall to have downloaded, uninstall the app as soon as possible and try to find out the source app which downloaded all the other apps.
Your phone suddenly starts slowing down
The major side effect to a malicious software installed on your phone or your computer could well be an obvious one. A background process however small it maybe consumes processes and thus slows down the machine for its regular workload.
If you start noticing sluggishness or screen/app freezing or crashing, it’s likely that your device is infected with a worm or virus. In this scenario, we’d advise you to pinpoint to the last download that you made on your device which could be a file or an app. Find it and delete it and if not solved you must format the device once and for all.
Abrupt reduction in internet speeds, videos load up slower
It’s not just the dip in the performance of your phone that could signal malware or spyware on your phone but the same could also show signs on quality of your internet connection.
If you feel that webpages load slower than usual or if videos are buffering for a long time on your high-speed connection, check for malware on your phone through well-established antivirus software.
Phone heating up for no reason whatsoever
The presence of spyware or malicious software running in the background, not only slows down your device but can also hamper the internals of the phone in other ways.
In serious cases, it’ll result in random heating up of your smartphone and this can happen when the phone is not even in use. If users are witnessing such an issue, they should take their device to the nearest service centre to get a detail on the matter.
Battery is running low, doesn’t last for longer
If you begin to notice that your smartphone or computer battery is dying way sooner than it used to, it’s usually because some new process is running in the background.
This will not just temporarily affect the device but also harm your phone on the hardware front, requiring you to add new parts to get to functioning again.
Phone calls and music sound distorted
Once hacked, your phone will not only run slow or heat up, but it’ll hinder basic functionalities like making a phone call. If you hear mushed background voices when on a call, chances are your phone has been intercepted by someone other than you and they might be listening in on your conversations. This noise will also arrive when playing music through your speaker.
Texts or messages on social media you don’t remember sending
There have been instances where you might receive weird messages or links from someone in your contacts list. This is basically, the most obvious case of your account being hacked as the attacker has already breached the authority to send messages on your behalf.
When such a scenario happens, contact the customer care of the social media site, change your password and make a post of your account being hacked so that anyone in the future doesn’t get offended by the weird messages.