In the last three months of 2021 alone, almost 45 million people were targeted by scam text messages and calls.
Being tech-savvy enough to avoid a dodgy message or call is one thing, but smartphone users also have to contend with a deluge of viruses, malware, and even hacker threats via secure platforms like WhatsApp.
Statistics suggest this is a growing concern for smartphone users, with Google search traffic showing over 20,000 different queries for “how to know if your phone is hacked”.
Cybercriminals could use clever software exploits to keep tabs on your every move, from stealing your bank details to spying on your selfie camera.
Luckily, there are several ways to identify if you’re a victim of cybercrime, giving you the ability to get to the root of the problem without having to buy a new phone.
Background noise in phone calls is a dead giveaway. If hackers are listening in on your voice conversations, you may hear an unusual background noise or crackling from someone accessing your device.
Ads are everywhere these days, but if you get constant questionable pop-ups on websites or on your phone’s home screen, it could be a sign that you have been infected with adware.
If your the phone has slowed down significantly lately or is too hot, it could also suggest that malware is overloading your device’s resources. Likewise, if your phone is fairly new but your battery and data drops drasticallya virus may be hiding quietly in the background and consuming resources.
The biggest sign that your phone might have security issues is if you start seeing strange outgoing apps, messages, or calls from your device that you don’t remember typing.
Also, if your friends have started complaining about your social media accounts sharing strange messages with them, chances are your accounts have been compromised.
If you are concerned that you have been the victim of a cyberattack, your first step should be to install certified antivirus software on your device. Avast, MalwareBytes and Bitdefender can all protect your data. They offer different levels of protection for different threats, so it’s worth installing a few apps to keep all bases covered.
You should also change all your passwords and logins as soon as possible to prevent cybercriminals from gaining access to your device. Most apps and social media platforms these days offer two-step authentication to provide an extra layer of security, so check your account settings to make sure this is enabled. It might just save your money and your sanity.