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Compiled by Asanda Mbayimbayi

Signs your smartphone has been hacked and what to do about it?

Discover how to protect your personal data and keep your device secure.

Android smartphones are likely to be secure if certain measures are taken, such as using strong passwords for all accounts, downloading applications solely from reputable sources like Google Play or official manufacturer app stores, and avoiding suspicious websites.

However, it is still possible to unintentionally download malware or fall for scams, which cybercriminals have become adept at executing.

These criminals can quietly steal personal data, hijack social media accounts, or even use the phone for cryptocurrency mining. It is crucial to remain vigilant against their evolving tactics.

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Signs that your phone might be hacked or contain malware:

  1. Your battery life is suddenly worse than it used to be. Some malware and fraudulent apps constantly run in the background on your smartphone, draining its battery.
  2. Your smartphone is running hot and you are using more data than usual. This may also indicate that malware or spy apps are running in the background.
  3. Performance has deteriorated. For example, it takes longer to load websites and apps are freezing, crashing, or running slow. This is a sign that a malicious app is stealing resources on your device. 
  4. There are strange things happening on your online accounts. If a cybercriminal has access to your info, they might try logging into your apps like social media or online banking. If you are getting emails and texts for password resets or notifications that someone is logging in from an unfamiliar location, you might be breached.
  5. Mystery apps, texts and calls. If you start seeing apps you haven’t downloaded, calls you haven’t made, and texts and emails that you didn’t send, that’s a major warning sign.
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Suspect your phone has been breached? Consider these steps:

  1. Disconnect your smartphone from the internet. This will prevent malware from sending more data from your device or the hacker from controlling your phone.
  2. Remove any suspicious apps. Check your smartphone for any suspicious apps that you may have unknowingly installed. Uninstall them immediately.
  3. Install a reputable antivirus app. Use a good antivirus app to scan for any malware or viruses that may be present on your device.
  4. Change your passwords. Change the passwords for all your accounts, including your email, social media, and banking accounts, to prevent the hacker from accessing them.
  5. Perform a factory reset. If nothing else works, consider doing a factory reset of your smartphone to remove any malicious software and start fresh.

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