15 Clear Signs Your Phone Was Hacked
How to Prevent Your Cell Phone from Being Hacked
With all the reports about malware attacks and data breaches, no one can blame you for wanting to protect your cell phone from hackers. You can take steps to secure your phone, improve your password smarts, and protect your data. Nothing is fool-proof, but a little bit of know-how will improve your chances of hack-proofing your phone.
Securing Your Phone
Keep your operating system up-to-date.As soon as Apple or Android tells you an update is ready, download and install it. Many hackers take advantage of vulnerabilities in out-of-date operating systems. Updates patch these holes and make your phone more secure.
Install security software on your Android phone.Don't download just any app. Read recommendations from trustworthy sources likeConsumer Reports. If you want free, reliable protection, go with Avast, which provides security and malware protection. If you're willing to pay extra for heavy-duty protection, go for McAfee or Norton.
- For the most part, the iOS software is difficult to hack. However, some versions might have vulnerabilities. The best you can do is update your software as soon as new versions are released and be careful which apps you can install.
- Password-protect your security software, if possible.
Set a passcode.Pick something that's complex yet easy to remember. Avoid birthdays, pets' names, bank PINs, or part of your phone number. Follow the instructions at Apple or Android support to set yours up.
- To set a passcode for your iPhone, choose a code that consists of six digits, four digits, or an alphanumeric code you set yourself.
- For an Android phone, start at the menu button from the home screen. Tap “Settings,” then “Security,” and then “Screen Lock.” The actual words might be different depending on your phone's brand name.Choose between Pattern Unlock, a personal PIN, or an alphanumeric password. After that, choose how long you want your phone to wait before locking.
Vet apps before installing them.Download apps only from a reputable seller or site, such as Apple's App Store or iTunes. Be very careful if you use an Android phone. Google doesn't vet its apps as carefully as Apple. Read reviews fromConsumer Reports,Wired, or CNET before downloading any third-party apps.
Memorize how to control your phone remotely.Settings or apps allow you to remotely lock and erase your phone if it's stolen. If you have a newer phone, you don't need to download anything. Control your iPhone through “Find My Phone” in iCloud.Remotely secure your Android phone through your Google account.
- If you have an older iPhone, get the Find My iPhone app from iTunes.Download Find My Phone for older Android models.Both apps are free.
Use caution with unsecured Wi-Fi connections.Unsecured connections don't have lock icons near their listings. Avoid them, if you can, and use your phone's secure mobile connection. Otherwise, install a virtual private network (VPN), which directs your traffic through encrypted connections. Even if you're using a VPN, never access your bank account or vital records on an unsecured connection.
- Secured connections have a lock icon, usually located across from the name of the network.
Disable Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS when you're not using them.They allow potential hackers to locate your phone with a simple scan. Follow the instructions in your user's manual or support section of the phone manufacturer's website. These settings are usually defaulted to the “on” mode on newer phones.
Avoid easy unlocking methods.Don't be tricked by fingerprint- or facial recognition. Hackers can copy your fingerprints from drinking glasses or use photographs of you. Forget about setting your phone to automatically unlock when you're at home or when it's near other smart devices. If someone breaks into your home or gets a hold of your smart watch, your phone will be vulnerable.
Using Password Sense
Choose a password that's hard to guess.Use complex combinations of letters, numbers, and symbols. The more complex you make the password, the more secure it is. Use uppercase letters in the middle of your password and throw in an obscure symbol to further complicate it.
- Avoid using obvious passwords like birthdays, anniversaries, or consecutive sequences like “1, 2, 3, 4, 5.” Don't use letters that spell out words such as your mom's maiden name or your pet's name.
- Password-protect your voicemail, Wi-Fi connection, and individual apps that you use for banking and email. When securing your voicemail, follow the instructions on your service provider's website.
Keep your passwords private.Use this as an unbreakable rule with everyone—best friends, partners, children, etc. When you're in public, glance around to make sure no one is looking over your shoulder. Finally, avoid entering a password near a closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera. You don't know who's watching on the other end.
Avoid auto-login.It might seem convenient for you, but it makes hacking as easy as opening your browser. Take the time to enter your usernames and passwords, especially on sites that you use for banking and other sensitive business. Type slowly to avoid getting locked out.
- If you're really pressed for time or just can't remember too many passwords, use a password manager. These programs store your passwords and fill them in when you access each site. You can lock the manager when you're not using it. Better yet: you'll only have to remember one password.
Use a variety of passwords.Having the same password for your email, bank account, and social media apps makes a hacker's job too easy. Take the time to think up creative mixtures of letters, numbers, and symbols for each account. Use a password generator backed up by a password manager to make this less of a burden on you.
Change your passwords often.Create a password update schedule. Whether it’s weekly, monthly or quarterly, have a plan and stick to it. You could even enter a coded reminder in your calendar.
Protecting Your Data
Delete personal data from your phone.Photos can reveal a lot about you, allowing a potential hacker to steal your identity. Notes from your morning meeting can provide a wealth of info for industrial spies. Transfer your photos and any sensitive text-based files to your laptop or desktop computer.
- Reset your device when you want to recycle it (similar to reformatting a hard drive). First, perform encryption to scramble any data you might have missed. Then, follow the directions in your user's manual to reset your device.
Don't open suspicious emails.Merely clicking the link can give the sender a backdoor into your personal information. Delete the message immediately if you don't recognize the sender. If you do recognize them, hover over their name to make sure the email is legit. Webmail providers like Gmail will show you the sender's name and email address.
Avoid sending personal information from your phone.Consider the absolute worst-case scenario of your smartphone getting hacked, then work back from that. Stop using the phone for confidential information of any sort. If you receive confidential information, delete it immediately after reading it.
Backup your data.Save them to your desktop or laptop computer. After that, back up that data on an external hard drive or flash drive. If you've saved too much stuff on your phone, invest in an automated backup system that will save you the time of copying and emailing individual files.
QuestionIs cell phone hacking a federal offence?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt is. It's usually met with 10 years+ jail time, depending on the offender's record with hacking, age, etc. and the lawyer's ability.Thanks!
QuestionCan the mobile (simple phone) which does not have internet access be hacked?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo. It can only be hacked through an internet connection.Thanks!
QuestionCan a hacker access my phone's camera?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes they can. If an app you download has a hacker controlling it, then they can access anything on your phone. They can also turn things off, such as your internet and settings.Thanks!
QuestionCan someone find my phone number by using my name?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerCheck by entering your name on the Internet. If you find your phone number and name, you can make the necessary changes.Thanks!
QuestionMy messages, call logs and Whatsapp are all being hacked. What do I do to prevent them from continuing this?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThanks!
QuestionHow do I know if my phone has been hacked by someone?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you think your phone has been hacked by someone, check the photos, messages, and other medias for strange posts.Thanks!
QuestionMy phone was on 1%, but when I plugged in the charger it turned into 11% immediately. Is this a hacker?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo, it's not a hacker. My phone does that sometimes too. It's just a glitch; nothing to worry about.Thanks!
QuestionCan my phone be hacked through giving my mobile number to someone?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo, they would need significantly more information to be able to access your phone, since the phone number is actually your sim card, not the actual phone.Thanks!
QuestionI am worried that my phone might be hacked by someone I gave my phone number to. How can I protect my phone?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerPeople can’t hack with just your number. Keep your personal information to yourself and only connect to WiFi you trust.Thanks!
QuestionWhat can I do if I suspect someone but have no proof?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThink about what makes you suspicious about this person.Thanks!
Can my phone be hacked through giving my mobile setting to someone?
What does connected via mean when I click on contacts to make a phone call? Have I been hacked?
- Keep your phone with you (or know where it is) at all times.
- Treat your smartphone the same way you treat your computer. Use caution when opening files, visiting websites, and sharing data.
- If you're thinking about hacking someone's phone, reconsider. It's illegal in most countries, including the US and the UK, and could land you in prison for a long time.
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