I'm guessing you're here because you are worried about your android phone security ... and you should be! So you think your phone might be hacked in some way - what are you going to do?
I'm going to teach you how to tell if your android phone is hacked with some easy to follow instructions - real ways to check - so keep reading.
Technically the term "hack" means to gain unauthorized access to data in a system or a computer - source: AcisNI.com. In this case your android phone is that computer.
So what you are looking for is any evidence or clues that someone is able to access the information on your phone.
Phone hacking can take place in many different ways from phishing scams and malicious app downloads to someone using a spy app against you. And the bad news is that phone hacking is massively on the rise.
Don't think this can't happen to you - cyber-crime stats are frightening and threats are increasing year on year.
The Good news: Most kinds of android phone hacking will leave clues. No matter how the hacker has gained access to your device it will almost always cause the phone to change in some way.
Signs Your Android Phone is Hacked
I'm going to go through a few of the most common signs that your phone has been hacked but you must take a common sense approach. Some of these signs can be caused by other problems - so don't just assume you are hacked.
The main thing to think about is are these changes new and sudden. Was the phone working normally and then out of the blue started behaving differently? Sudden and unusual behavior is something to worry about.
If your phone shows several of these signs you should be concerned and investigate more thoroughly :
Phone Running Hot
Have you noticed your android device feeling hot frequently? This can be caused by processes running in the background. It may be normal to get hotter when watching a video for example - but if it is heating up while idle?
Unusual Battery Drain
I stress Unusual because over time it is natural for your phone battery to run down more quickly. This usually happens slowly over a long period of time. If all of a sudden your battery is draining in a few hours - you could have a problem.
Receiving Unreadable Text Messages
Some commercial spy apps can be controlled by sending the target phone coded text messages. These are usually a series of numbers and the hashtag symbol #. If you notice text messages like this you could have a spy app on your phone.
Phone Shutting Down or Restarting
Does your phone just randomly shut down or restart by itself? This can be a common sign - usually linked to overheating and battery drain. It can be caused by your phone running hidden processes in the background caused by a hack.
Increased Data Use
Spy apps in particular send information from your phone to the spy apps online servers using your data connection. If they send a lot of data it can show up on your data usage. If you see a sudden spike in your data use you need to investigate.
Increase in Popups
This would usually be system type popups - prompting you to download a "fix". This is a common tactic used to install malware and further compromise your phone.
Background Noise and Interference
Careful with this one - we all suffer from the odd bad quality call from time to time. But if this is happening repeatedly you might have cause for concern. Poor quality spy apps often cause electronic interference on voice calls.
Strange Account Activity
If your android phone has been hacked there is a good chance that all of your linked accounts on your phone are also compromised. Spy apps and keyloggers can expose your usernames and passwords. If you see activity on your accounts such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that wasn't posted by you - you could be hacked.
Often this may be flagged up by repeated prompts that you have signed in from an unknown device or even repeated password change prompts.
Websites Being Redirected?
When you try to visit websites using your phone browser are you being redirected to random looking sites? Some malicious apps can hijack your android browser and cause these redirects to sites they own and make money from.
Is My Android Phone Really Hacked?
As I mentioned you do need to use some judgment when looking at the signs above. If you have noticed several of these things happening or sudden changes in your phone behavior you do have potential problems.
How you proceed will depend on how the hack was carried out and your level of expertise. The first thing I would recommend is to run antivirus and malware scans on your phone. I have had good results using AVG Free and Malwarebytes - both free programs.
These should clean any hacks using malware and virus hacks but they are not very useful against spy apps or phishing attacks.
If you are good with phone technology it is possible to start looking for hacks inside the phone file system and remove them manually. The problem for most people is that they can end up removing files that are needed and cause more problems.
The best way to remove any type of hack from your android phone is to do a factory reset. This is really easy to do from your main settings screen and it works!
The problem is that it will delete all of your personal data - and return the phone to the state it was in when you bought it. You can of course use a backup to restore things like your contacts and photos.
If you think your android phone has been hacked - using a factory reset is a small inconvenience when you consider what is at risk.
About Guest Contributor:
Susan Kennedy is the founder of AcisNI.com a website providing information about legal and ethical monitoring solutions and online security for parents and small business owners.