Do you know that your smartphone or tablet in your hand can also be hacked like computers? Because your phone or tablet stores a lot of personal and sensitive information within itself. So concerning the security of your device is really important.
There is a belief that Android devices can be more easily hacked than iOS devices among mobile phone users. And generally, it is true. Don’t get scared if you have an Android device. Because you can secure your device by keeping an eye out for the risks.
In this article, we guide you on how to check whether your Android device is hacked or not and if it is hacked, then what can you do to fix it.
How to Know If Your Android Device Got Hacked?
If you are already experiencing some of the below signs, then your device might be hacked.
Random pop-ups and ads
The first and common sign of the hacked device is random and constant pop-ups. Constant pop-ups that seem to come from nowhere is an indication of adware infection. Most of the pop-ups may contain phishing links that prompt users to enter their sensitive information or download more malware.
These pop-ups will frequently do the below things.
- Making noises
- Setting off the vibration motor in the device
- Stopping the functionality of the back button
If these things happen to you, press the Home button or recent apps, and close all the apps that are running without clicking on anything inside the web browser. Because many pop-ups consist of fake close buttons that redirect users to a malicious site.
At the same time, these pop-ups may not do any harm to your device just prompting you to click an ad. However, just ignore them all without clicking anything. Never enter any information like your credit card info in a pop-up.
Installation of unwanted apps
Hackers will install unwanted apps on your device to activate some specific functions. For example, they will install a rooting app to facilitate the rooting process.
Unexplained and high data usage and random charges on your internet bill or phone bill
Malware or spyware installed on your device by the hacker can send your information to a third-party, using your mobile data or WiFi data and send text messages to premium numbers. If you find any calls or text messages to unknown numbers, then you should worry about your device’s security because it is an obvious sign of a hacked device. Check your phone bill for finding any unrecognized charges.
Further, unwanted Apps that are installed by hackers also use more data than usual. So data usage will be increased. Due to that your internet bill also will be increased.
To check for the apps that are consuming the data too much, go to Settings->Connections->Data Usage or Settings->Data usage on your device.
If you notice an app is using more data than usual, then there might be something wrong. But remember innocent things can also cause this high data usage. For example, a podcast app can constantly download new episodes. So before getting upset, it is better to examine the issue carefully.
Does your device often freeze and/or restart repeatedly? Or do certain apps suddenly crash? Or do apps continue to run though you try to close them? Then there is a great chance someone has hacked your device. Because, the malware installed on your device can overload the device’s resources and clash with other apps. Apart from that, the things that hackers do behind the scene, will also slow down your device.
But remember that there will be a lot of reasons for the slower performance of the device, as with the drained battery-especially the everyday use. So first try to deep clean your Android device before starting to worry.
Extreme battery usage
Unwanted apps or malware which are installed by hackers on your device consume more mobile data, resources, and battery of your device than the usual. So your battery will drain quickly. Therefore, checking the device’s battery usage is a better way to check whether your device is hacked or not.
Go to Settings->Battery->Battery Usage and check whether there is anything unusual in the list.
Note: Everyday use can also be a cause for the depletion in the device’s battery life. So it is better to try to improve the battery life of your Android device before coming to a conclusion.
Your device quickly gets hot.
Due to the extra activities happening behind the scene, the device gets heat up soon.
Your Android device is rooted
By rooting your device, you can gain full access to the device’s operating system. Then you are permitted to modify it. The right person with some basic technical knowledge can easily do the rooting. But it is not a process that can happen accidentally by a user. So if your device is rooted without your knowledge, then it could quite possibly be hacked. Because hackers want to access specific functions of your device and make advanced spyware-use easier.
Electronic interference can be simply interpreted as background noise. If you hear any click, static, or echoing noises when you make a call using your phone, then your phone could very possibly be hacked.
If your device behaves weirdly, then it will be a clear sign that there is something wrong with your device. Because malware can affect a device at a root level. Due to that infection your device will start to misbehave. For example, sometimes you may receive strange text messages with garbled words. It is a sign that your device is possibly connecting remotely to a third-party.
“Installing from unknown sources” setting is enabled
If your device is running on an older Android version than Android 8.0, then check whether the setting called “installing from unknown sources” is enabled without your knowledge.
Go to Settings->Security->uncheck “Unknown sources”
If the checkbox next to the “Unknown sources” option is ticked, then that setting is enabled. That means your device can install apps from outside the Google Play Store.
Hackers enable this setting to install malware on your device.
Google Play Protect is disabled.
This feature is only found on Android devices that run on Android 8.0 or above. It is a built-in malware scanner for Android. Whenever an app is installed on your device, it will scan the app. It is on by default. So if it has been turned off without your knowledge then your device is most probably hacked. Because hackers will turn off this feature to install malware on your device.
You can check whether the Google Play Protect is on or off by following the below steps.
- Launch the Google Play Store app.
- Tap on the menu icon at the top-left corner of the screen.
- Tap on Play Protect
- Tap on the settings icon
- Check whether the toggle button next to “Scan apps with Play Protect” is on or off. If the toggle button is green, then it will be in ON state and the Google Play Protect also will be in ON
Unusual activities on any accounts associated with your device
When a hacker gains access to your device, he or she has access to your accounts such as email and social media linked to your device too. You will see unusual activities on such accounts such as resetting passwords, sending emails, reading emails before you read them, receiving verification emails for new accounts’ sign-ups, posting on social media, making purchases on shopping sites, and much more.
If so, you could be at risk of identity theft. Because the hacker can open new accounts as well as lines of credit using your information. Before performing a security sweep on your device, it is better to reset the passwords of those accounts using another secure device. Do not use your hacked device to change the passwords.
By scanning your device with an antivirus software
This is the easiest method to find out whether your device is hacked or not. You can find a lot of antivirus apps on Google Play Store. Some of the popular ones are Avast, BitDefender, Malwarebytes, and AVG. After installing the app on your device, perform a full scan. After the scan, you can clear your doubt.
How to Fix Your Android Device If It is Hacked?
If your device is already showing any of the symptoms above-mentioned, then follow the below method to fix your hacked device.
Running an antivirus app on your device is the easiest method to find and get rid of malware installed by hackers.
- Download and install a trustworthy antivirus app on your device.
- Launch the app and fully scan your device.
Uninstall the unwanted apps that you did not install or the apps that drain the device’s battery and the mobile data.
- Go to Settings->App->App Manager or Settings->Application manager
- Tap on the app you want to uninstall.
- Hit the UNINSTALL button.
Note: Be careful when uninstalling apps, because there are a lot of pre-installed system apps on your device. If you remove such an app from your device, then your device will stop working properly. So before uninstalling any app, Google it first.
If you are still facing issues after uninstalling unwanted apps, then the last option is to do the factory reset. It will delete everything from your device and your device will go to the state of the day that you bought it. So it is a good idea to take a backup of your data before factory resetting your device.
Go to Settings->Backup & Reset->Reset->Factory Data Reset or Settings->Backup and reset->Factory data reset->RESET DEVICE
How can Your Device be Hacked and What can You Do to Protect Your Device from Hacking?
Now, your device is free of malware. But again your device might get hacked or infected with malware. So if you are curious about how someone can hack your phone and how to protect yourself from future hacking, then go through this section. If you are not, then you can directly jump into the conclusion.
Let’s discuss one by one.
1. Spy apps
There are a lot of spy apps found in Google App Store as well as other non-official stores for Android and anyone can easily download and install them on your phone if they have access to it. These apps allow them to remotely view your text messages, call log, media files, GPS locations, browsing history, emails, and much more. Some may even have the ability to hijack your device’s mic and record your conversations.
How to Protect from Spy Apps?
- Setting up a lock-screen password, PIN, pattern that no one can easily guess or fingerprint for preventing unauthorized access. Because to install spy apps on your device, someone should have physical access to it.
- Uninstalling apps that you did not install except the pre-installed system apps.
- Installing an antivirus app on your device.
Sometimes you get text messages with deceitful links. These links are sent with the aim of getting your sensitive information or allowing you to automatically download malicious apps to your device when you click on them.
How to Protect from Smishing?
- Avoiding clicking links from unknown and untrustworthy numbers.
- If an app is installed by clicking on those links, then uninstall it and/or perform a security scan.
3. Snooping via open Wi-Fi networks
A person with higher technological knowledge can intercept and analyze unencrypted traffic on a password-free, unsecured Wi-Fi network using necessary software. That person himself can set up fake Wi-Fi networks with the aim of stealing your data.
How to protect from snooping via open Wi-Fi networks?
- Using only secured Wi-Fi networks.
- Installing a VPN app to encrypt your device’s traffic.
- If there is no other option than connecting to a public Wi-Fi network without a VPN app, then do not enter login details of your accounts such as email and banking sites. If you can not avoid it, then be cautious to type the correct URL in the browser address bar. Enter private information, only if you can see “https” in the URL and the green lock icon in the browser address bar.
4. Through hacked iCloud or Google account
Someone can access a wide range of your information backed up from your Android device through a hacked iCloud or Google account.
How to secure your iCloud and Google Account?
- Creating strong passwords
- Enabling login notifications. So you can always receive a notification when someone signs into your account from a new device or location.
- Enabling two-factor authentication.
- Provide lies as the answers when setting up password security questions. Because the people who know you well can easily guess the answers if you provide true answers to the questions.
Bluesnarfing means hacking your device through a Bluetooth connection. So to avoid such hacking, you should turn off Bluetooth when you are not using it.
Additional Tips to Secure Your Device from hacking
- Download and install apps only from Google Play Store or Samsung’s Galaxy Apps Store.
- Be careful when clicking on something. Check the below image for an example.
If it is difficult to recognize the actual links for you then it is better to use an ad-blocking web browser for browsing the Internet.
- Disable “installing from unknown sources”.
- Keep your device updated regularly. Because your device manufacturer and Google normally release updates that consist of advanced security implementations from time to time. So it is important to apply these updates for the sake of your device’s security.
Prevention is better than cure. So keep your Android device secure at its best level without getting hacked. If you have more additional facts with you that we have forgotten to mention in the article, feel free to share them with us in the comment section.