Has your Android been behaving unusual? Do you suspect that some stranger has managed to enter your device? Do not leave with doubt; we are talking about a device that is the key to practically everything important in your life.
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If your phone is slow, popping up, or freezing, it’s best to check for any malware, rogue apps, or other issues that are causing this on your computer, even if you don’t see any signs of suspicious activity. To give you a hand with this process, here we tell you how to check if your Android has been hacked.
One of the best ways to tell if your Android has been hacked is to check your battery usage. If it gets hot for no reason, even when not charging, something might be running in the background while the screen is off.
However, some of the more sophisticated malware can still leave traces on your phone or tablet, so start by checking the battery usage menu. If it’s constantly low, you can search for an unknown app or something unusual on Settings > Battery (or Battery and device care) > Battery usage.
This doesn’t happen too often, as Google has a full Google Play Protect system built into Android, but it’s still a good idea to check. In the image, for example, the battery usage shows no dubious apps, but if you notice a misc that drains a significant portion of your battery, that’s not a good thing.
In that scenario, you probably have a “keylogger” (a program that steals passwords) or a virus that hides its name to avoid being found. But as a general rule, you should only look for something unusually strenuous.
We all use our phones differently, but if you notice an extremely severe battery drain, that’s cause for concern. In that case, you can restart your phone, force close the suspicious software and, if possible, uninstall the application.
Most people have unlimited data plans, so you don’t often go to the “Data Usage” menu in settings. But if your Android crashes and you want to check if it’s been hacked, that’s another easy way to tell if there’s a problem.
If you have a virus, you could be sending your private data to a third party through an app that is constantly running and communicating with the bad guys. But, to review what actually happens, go to Settings > Connections > Data usage. On some devices you may need to go to your network settings, select your SIM, and then search for Application data usage.
YouTube, Spotify, and other streaming services regularly use a lot of data. But if another app is using too much, something is wrong. None should use 5GB in a given month, for example, so find any that are out of place and uninstall them (after making sure they’re not essential to your device).
Another telltale sign of malware or a hack is random apps installed on your phone, that is, the ones you didn’t install manually. They can host a program on your cell phone and send confidential information to a third party.
These apps may not use much battery power, but they can still cause damage and drain your data. If you find one, here’s what you need to do to get rid of it. go to Settings > Applications > Application manager and scroll through the list that appears on your phone. There, tap on the app you want to dispose of and select uninstall.
Obviously, you should only uninstall tools that look suspicious, but that you know are not important. If you start deleting a few randomly, you could cause more harm than good and break vital components of your phone.
There are plenty of apps that come pre-installed by phone manufacturers or carriers and are harmless, so make sure you’re careful what you delete.
Presence of strange pop-ups and ads
Pop-ups come in various shapes and sizes, at random times, and from all kinds of websites. We have learned to deal with them and most of the time it is nothing more than an ad covering the content. However, they can sometimes cause problems, so pay attention to strange pop-ups or funny-looking ads, and never click on them.
Google has made several changes in recent years to prevent this kind of situation, especially in Google Chrome on Android, but something evil may still appear from time to time. Usually these ads will make your phone vibrate as pop-ups appear again and again and even your screen may flicker.
But when dealing with them don’t touch the “delete” button, it’s best to close the whole browser and restart your smartphone instead. On the other hand, never enter personal information in an input field that you are not familiar with, especially credit card details or passwords.
Another sign that your Android phone might be hacked is if it keeps crashing. In that case, it will start to act erratically: applications will open for no reason, the system will be slow or it will crash constantly. And sometimes those problems come from a virus.
First, try Google’s own Play Protect scanner that’s built into the Google Play app store. Open it and tap on your profile picture at the top of the screen. Then go to Play Protect in the middle of the screen and press Analyze to start checking your phone and apps.
Keep in mind that Play Protect is a pretty basic tool, so you can try a more powerful alternative like malwarebytes, one of the best applications to see if a phone is being hacked. This will do a quick scan and usually if it finds something strange it will remove it right away.
There are many antivirus tools and “mobile security” apps on the Google Play Store, but we recommend sticking to trusted brands and names. Don’t just install the first option that comes up, look for well-known brands you’ve used on your computer like Avast, AVG, or BitDefender.
On the other hand, if you delete apps, run antivirus software and still experience problems, you can perform a factory data reset. However, remember that this process removes absolutely everything on your phone.
So you can back up photos, text messages, videos, and anything else you want to keep before you wipe your Android. To do this, go to Settings > Backup and restore (or Securityor System) > Restore > Factory data reset.
Only resort to this when all other avenues are exhausted and your antivirus software isn’t working, as it will erase everything. Your phone will boot up just like it did the first day you got it, so you’ll have to set everything up again.
Finally, to keep your phone secure, don’t forget to install the latest software updates, download apps from trusted sources, disable the option Install from unknown sources on Settings and use a fingerprint, eye scan, password, or PIN for lock screen security.