Nowadays most of us are equipped with this innovative yet magical gadget called “Smartphone”, that helps us in accomplishing things like; taking photos, watching movies, listening to music, surfing the internet, playing games, etcetera. Although, with everything becoming virtual, it has also started to cause various cyber threats like spyware attacks, which can spy on every moment of the user activity, and thus it needs to be fixed ASAP. But, how can I tell if someone is monitoring my phone?
Let’s find out!
How can I tell if someone is monitoring my phone?
Well, if you want to know whether someone is monitoring your phone, there are some proven signs like; sudden heating of the phone, high data usage, slow phone, unfamiliar browsing history or apps, etc, that can help you determine the spy situation on your smartphone.
Although to get a better insight on the topic, I suggest you read the article till the end, as I will be providing the solution and the precautionary measures to avoid your phone from getting monitored.
Subtle signs that your phone is being monitored:
- A sudden spike in temperature:
Is your phone getting too hot while on standby? If yes, then your phone is compromised and spyware has been installed. Usually, heating of the phone can be considered healthy while using it extensively or playing games on it.
But if your phone is on standby and you notice that your phone has started heating suddenly, then it is a sure sign of spyware installed on your device. Spyware usually is meant to capture every detail of your activity, and therefore runs in the background, which automatically makes your phone work hard.
Thus, resulting in a sudden spike in the temperature of the phone.
- High Data Usage:
Secondly, check whether your phone is using additional data apart from what you use, by going to the Settings option and clicking on Data Usage under the Connection option.
If you find that your data usage has suddenly spiked up, then there is a chance that spyware software is installed on your smartphone. Spyware uses your mobile or Wi-Fi data to send the logs to the hacker so that the hacker can easily gain access to your passwords, photos, and your important stuff.
- Slow phone:
If you have recently purchased a phone, and it has slowed down instantly, then beware because there can be spyware installed on your phone.
Spyware uses the resources such as the CPU unit of your smartphone to function. Thus, creating great trouble for the CPU to perform optimally and slowing the phone down.
Although, not every phone that slows down is a victim of spyware, because as the years pass, the phone starts to deteriorate, resulting in burned-up processor speed.
- Unfamiliar browsing history:
If you suspect that your phone is affected by spyware, then you should look out for unfamiliar browsing history on your Chrome or Safari browser.
Hackers tend to open up unusual websites which helps them to install spyware applications on your phone. Therefore, if by any chance you find a link that was never visited by you, take it as a sign of spyware infection.
- Unfamiliar apps:
Is your phone having some unfamiliar-looking apps that you don’t remember installing? If yes, then my friend your smartphone gadget has been compromised by the said spyware.
Usually, hackers or attackers install this spyware software’s by camouflaging themselves as a legitimate app. Thus, it becomes very essential to check on every app for the developer information, to ensure that you do not uninstall the legitimate app.
Commonly available spyware apps are; Net Nanny, Kaspersky Safe Kids, Norton Family, and Qustodio.
Although, sophisticated spying apps hide very efficiently so that no one can find them easily.
- Your device is rooted or jailbroken:
Rooting your Android phone or jailbreaking your iOS device gives users permission to bypass the official app store and install third-party apps, that are officially restricted.
Although, it also increases the chances of your phone getting infected by spyware software, as the hacker can easily enter the unprotected system.
Therefore, it becomes essential to survey your phone for any jailbreak or root signs. If you have an Android phone, you can easily do it with the help of an app called Root Checker, while on iOS look for the app called “Cydia.” Cydia is an app that allows iOS users to install software on jailbroken phones. Thus, if you happen to find it on your iOS device, your device is Spyware infected.
- Strange activity on standby mode:
Your phone can receive messages and notifications when the screen is on standby mode. Although, if you hear some unusual beeping noise or sudden awakening of the screen, then there are chances that your phone is infected with spyware.
- Misbehaving autocorrect feature:
If your phone’s autocorrect feature is misbehaving, then there is a chance that it is affected by Keylogger. Keylogger is a type of spyware that logs in all your keys, helping the hacker to gain access to sensitive information like; credit card numbers, signup information, and your phone’s password.
Thus, giving you a clear indication of someone monitoring your phone.
- Deteriorated Screenshot Quality:
According to Malwarebytes, if your screenshot quality has deteriorated instantly, then possibly your phone is being monitored.
- The issue with Shutting down:
Are you trying to shut down your phone, but it is not following your order? It might be because of spyware that is installed on your device. Spyware restricts your phone from shutting down as it can create a hindrance in the spying process.
Additionally, if your phone reboots frequently and randomly, then this also might be a sign of a Spyware attack.
- Unusual text messages:
Usually, hackers use text messages as a medium to send and receive data. So, if you notice any kind of unusual text message on your phone, then it might be a sign of spyware infection.
Primitive Spyware software will sometimes use SMS services to communicate with their base, and they are coded to maintain their anonymity.
For instance, there is a service called “Cerberus”, which sends commands with the SMS that can initiate capturing pictures, emails, screenshots, and even complete data wiping.
- Rapid battery drain:
Spyware software is a type of software that is meant to work on a low-key mode, meaning they are specially designed to remain undetected by users.
Thus, when there is spyware on your smartphone, you may notice rapid battery drain, as the spyware sends and receives data constantly. Also, it uses your phone’s CPU and resources which can also cause battery drain.
- Echo sounds while on call:
Usually, echo sounds are created over a call because of poor network coverage or faulty mic, but this doesn’t mean that your phone is 100% safe from spyware.
Many phones that are infected with spyware, throw out some weird noises or echo sounds while on call.
Therefore, if you find yourself in the same boat, better get your device checked for Spyware attacks.
Can Spyware be installed Remotely?
Yes, spyware can be installed both physically and remotely. While most of the time it needs physical access, a hacker can also trick a user into installing spyware software through phishing emails, corrupted message links, and trojan horse apps.
How to remove Spyware from your phone?
So, after going through the common symptoms of Spyware infection, we should now see some proven solutions to remove spyware from your phone.
- Use a spyware removal tool:
The simplest yet most effective way of removing spyware software is by installing a spyware removal tool, that runs a total scan on your device and eliminates the spyware.
Some of the trusted spyware removal tools are; Avast Mobile Security, Kaspersky Internet Security, and Norton Mobile Security.
- Manual Spyware Removal:
If you happen to find out the culprit on your device, you can remove it manually, by following these steps:
- Turn on the safe mode on your Android phone by long-pressing the Power Button, and then again long pressing the power off option.
- Now, tap on OK to Reboot to Safe Mode.
- Enter the Application Manager.
- Now, go into the Settings > Additional Settings > Application Management.
- Try searching for potential spyware apps by searching the keywords like spy, trojan, and stealth.
- Review each app manually.
- Remove any suspicious apps. If it is restricted by administrative permission, then go to Settings > Security > Advanced > Device Administrators, and then uncheck the box beside the suspicious app.
- Finally, Restart your phone on Normal Mode.
- Access Settings > General > iPhone Storage.
- Search for any suspicious apps.
- Finally, delete any suspicious app by tapping on the Delete App option.
- Update the OS:
The second solution that you can try is by initiating an OS update. Updating your OS will break the spyware software.
So, to apply software updates on iOS and Android follow these steps:
- Go to the settings option on your iOS device.
- Tap General.
- Then, tap on Software Update.
- If the update is available, Download and Install.
- Finally, tap on Install Now, after the update is downloaded.
- Go to the Settings Menu.
- Now, scroll down to the Software Update option.
- Now, tap on Check for Updates.
- If available, tap on Download and Install.
- Wait for the update to be applied on your phone.
- Perform a factory data reset:
So, I recommend this option, only if these two options fail to deliver the desired result, as resetting your phone can cause data loss. Although, it will eliminate spyware.
Thus, to carry out total factory data reset, follow these simple steps:
- Access Settings Menu.
- Now, select System and then Reset Option.
- Now, select Factory Data Reset or Erase All Data depending on the phone.
- Tap the Reset option and then enter your security code or password.
- Done. Now, your phone will be restored to its original settings i.e., the factory setting.
- Now, you can choose to back up your Data and Apps, if you want to restore your data from the previous backup.
Although, the safest way is to start fresh to avoid any residue of the spyware app.
- Go to Settings.
- Select General.
- Now, select Reset.
- Finally, choose Erase All Content and Settings.
- Done, your iOS device will now be restored to its original factory settings.
What precautions should be taken to avoid spyware in the future?
As the saying goes, “Precaution is better than cure”, and the same applies to your phone. Therefore, it is very essential to follow some precautionary measures like;
- Securing your phone:
You should always secure your phone with passwords, pattern locks, face recognition, or fingerprint lock, to avoid any kind of suspicious activity from the third person. Also, enable apps authentication, to avoid any automatic app download.
- Keep your phone safe:
Make sure that you only allow those people to touch your phone whom you trust with your life, to avoid any suspicious activity.
- Only install apps from a trusted source:
Make it a habit to only download and install apps from a trusted source like; Google Play for Android, and App Store for iOS devices, to avoid installation of malicious software.
- Secure your data:
Again, password protect your physical as well as cloud data with a strong password to avoid any future inconvenience. Software like Cocospy can access your data remotely if your password is not strong.
- Avoid jailbreaking or rooting your phone:
Remember, jailbreaking or rooting can easily allow hackers to breach into your iOS or Android system easily, as it breaks the safety guard that is provided by the company, resulting in easy installation of the Spyware.
- Avoid unwanted links:
If you ever get unwanted email links through emails or SMS, it is better to avoid it, as it can be a trap for the users to install Spyware software.
- Keep your phone updated:
Practice regularly updating your phone, as regular software updates eliminate any bug that is present in the current software. Also, it comes with security patch updates, that are essential to seal any loopholes present in the software. Additionally, if your iOS device is Jailbroken, it can be reversed by updating to the current software.
- Keep app permissions tight:
Never, I repeat never allow every app to access each-and-every feature of your phone because you never know which app can be trusted and which can’t be. For instance; Google Maps needs location service to function in an intended way, but if an arcade game is asking for location permission, decline it.
- Block unverified apps:
Smartphones are equipped with this feature that blocks unverified apps right away and restricts their installation in the future. Although, if your device is compromised with any suspicious app, then you should first deselect the “unverified app” option, and then uninstall it.
- Keep Google Play Protect enabled on your Android:
Google Play Protect is a feature provided by Google, that initiates regular scans on the apps that are installed on your phone, to keep suspicious apps at bay. Usually, it is turned on by default, but if it has been turned off, you can always turn it back on by opening the Google Play Store > Menu > Google Play Protect > Settings > Enable Scan apps with Play Protect as well as Improve harmful app detection option.
- Install antivirus software:
Many antiviruses or antimalware software, nowadays have the mobile version of their app. Therefore, if you suspect some spyware software on your phone, try to scan your entire phone using antivirus software. Some of the well-known players are; Avast, Norton, and Kaspersky.
- Install App Notifier:
By installing App Notifier, you will be able to get real-time notifications if any app gets installed or updated in the background.
Final Remarks on “how can I tell if someone is monitoring my phone”
Using a smartphone comes really handy when you want to get everything at your fingertips, as it allows easy access. Although, while everyone loves to stay online, it also becomes very important to safeguard your phone from malicious attacks like spyware, that monitors your device and collects sensitive information using cameras and other apps.
Therefore, it is essential to examine your phone for some proven signs, that can help you tell if someone is monitoring your phone or not.