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Nowadays, it’s extremely important to pay attention to your mobile security. Just imagine for a second if all the data stored on your smartphone was suddenly available to an anonymous hacker who has managed to break into your device.
That means every website you’ve visited, every picture you’ve taken, every password you’ve entered – the whole lot.
Yep. Now you can see why security is something you should be taking seriously.
If you know or suspect that your phone has been hacked, then there are some steps that you need to follow; not only to find out who hacked your phone, but also to stop the flow of information from your device to this unknown third-party.
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How To Track Email Hacker
There are a few symptoms that might lead you to be suspicious of whether your phone’s security has been compromised. Let’s cover these now:
1. High battery temperature.
If you’ve noticed that your phone is running a lot warmer than usual, this is potentially a sign of hacking. Because intruders usually use software on your device to help them track all of your data, this requires your device’s processor to work harder, in turn generating more heat. Which leads us to our next point…
2. Battery draining faster than usual.
Again, if a hacker has installed malicious software onto your device, this is going to need more processing power to run, in addition to your phone’s operating system and any apps you use. This will inevitably cause your battery to drain a lot faster than usual, and could be a good indicator that you’ve been hacked, especially if your device is fairly new!
3. Background noise.
If you’re hearing background noises coming from your phone such as echoes, static or clicking sounds, this may be a hint that your phone has been hacked. Background noise like this is usually most audible when you’re on a phone call and is a potential sign that someone is listening in. So, it’s probably a good idea to not share anything too personal if you’re hearing R2-D2 on the other end of the line.
4. Distortion (similar to when you are on a call).
If you’ve ever used your phone near another electronic device (such as a TV) and noticed a distortion in the audio, even though you aren’t on a phone call, this might be a symptom that someone has hacked your device or maybe even installed hardware (a physical component) onto your phone.
5. Certo has detected spyware on your phone.
If you suspect that your phone might be hacked and you’ve performed a scan with Certo, you will quickly know whether your suspicions are correct or not. Once you’ve found out for sure, the next step is to discover exactly who has hacked your phone. Is it an anonymous third-party? Or even more worrying, is it someone you know?SCAN IPHONESCAN ANDROID
Who can hack my phone?
One really common misconception is that hacking a phone requires some mysterious computing superpowers.
Well, that’s definitely not true. This isn’t the ‘90s anymore, there’s no need to hack into the mainframe.
Nowadays, with enough of the right knowledge, anybody could potentially hack your device if they wanted to, it’s not rocket science. In fact, there are thousands of people working in black market operations across the globe constantly trying to find a way to hack the smartphones of people like you in order to obtain sensitive data.
So, who is spying on my phone?
If you suspect that someone has forced their way into your cell phone, then there are a few things you need to do:
1. Find out who has installed spyware on your phone.
Spyware is malicious software designed to track everything you do on your device. A common method of installing spyware is for someone to plant a hidden spy app on your smartphone. This is most likely to happen if someone has physical access to your device, even if it’s just for a short amount of time. It could also happen (although it’s less likely) if you click on a suspicious link and download a piece of malicious software disguised as an innocent app.
Spyware is often invisible to you as the device owner, and could potentially give the attacker complete access to your data. Additionally, the way it’s usually designed means all the attacker’s details are hidden, making them completely incognito.
A great way to combat this is to use Certo AntiSpy (for iOS) or Certo Mobile Security (for Android). Our state-of-the-art tools will help identify the name of the spyware that is installed on your phone, allowing you to track down the manufacturer of the spyware software. You can then inform them that someone has installed the software without your permission and ask them to give you the details of the person who originally purchased the software license.
Here is a sample email you can send to the software developer in order to get the required information:
I have performed a malware scan on my phone and found that is installed on my device. I did not authorize for this software to be installed on my phone and it has been done so completely without my permission.
I therefore need to find out who installed this spyware on my device, so please can you provide this information as soon as possible? My phone number is <0123456789> and my device serial number is .
I trust this is all the information you require to retrieve the information from your systems, but please let me know if you need anything else to do this.
2. Finding out who hacked your iCloud account (iOS devices only)
iCloud is a great solution for backing up your Apple device and keeping photos, contacts and other data stored in the cloud. You can stash everything from custom app settings and messages to videos you’ve taken with your phone.
Unfortunately, as good as Apple claim their security may be, there are still ways for a hacker to break their way into your account.
The main difference between having your phone hacked and your iCloud account hacked is that intruders don’t need to install any software on your phone.
A different method of investigation is required in order to find out who has hacked your iCloud account. Firstly, you will need to contact Apple and ask them to provide you with all the details of access on your account. This will usually include IP addresses that can be used to identify the attacker.
If you would like Certo to help you with this, you can email the information you receive from Apple to: email@example.com.
3. Setting a trap for a hacker.
Another method you can use is to booby-trap your phone if you suspect that someone might want to infiltrate. This doesn’t guarantee protection from them installing anything onto your phone, or them viewing your information, but will instead help you catch them red-handed or can act as a deterrent – much the same as a home alarm system.
The Certo Mobile Security app for Android allows users to take a silent photo of anyone who might be trying to hack your phone. Along with an alarm, this feature can be setup to trigger whenever someone moves your phone or enters an incorrect password multiple times. This feature is also coming to Certo Mobile Security for iOS in the near future.
So what should I do if I suspect my phone has been hacked?
1. Install a phone-scanning app immediately.
Certo has the ability to instantly scan your phone and inform you of any potential threats it finds on your device. If spyware is detected then you can refer to the information above to find out exactly who hacked your phone.SCAN IPHONESCAN ANDROID
2. Take steps to remove those threats.
For Android phones, this is relatively easy. Most security apps (including Certo) have the ability to scan your device for malware and remove any threats that are found.
If you have an iPhone, removing threats is more of a manual process, as Apple do not allow security apps to access areas of the filesystem where malware usually hides. However, you can remove most threats from your iOS device by updating your iOS. Or, if you want to be really sure then perform a factory reset – just make sure to backup your data first.
3. Change your passwords.
This is a very important step. You should change your passwords as soon as possible, once the threat has been removed. This will prevent anyone from unauthorised access your private accounts. Make sure to use a strong password, ideally with a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols.
4. Find the identity of the hacker.
Once you know who has hacked your phone and potentially how they did it, you can prevent it from happening again in the future. Certo can help with this.
5. Protect yourself against future attacks.
Install the free Certo Mobile Security app on your iOS or Android device to protect yourself against future hacks. The app checks your device configuration and helps protect against unauthorised access.
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Types of hacking
Here are some of the reasons computer hackers break into devices:
- Financial crimes. We’ve all heard the classic story of somebody checking their credit card statement, only to find transactions they didn’t make. These false transactions are often the result of computer hackers stealing your credit card numbers, checking account info or gaining access to other financial data.
- Vandalism. Hacking has its own subculture, so some hackers may want to vandalize certain websites just to show off to other hackers. Does it sound ridiculous? Don’t make the mistake of not taking this motivation seriously; it’s fairly common, according to Malwarebytes.
- Hacktivism. This portmanteau describes a form of hacking somewhat like vandalism. Some hackers may want to alter or destroy certain websites for politically motivated reasons.
- Corporate espionage. Spying existed long before the internet era, and hacking has only made espionage more accessible to the everyday person. With much of the world constantly connected to the internet, one company can hack into other companies’ devices to steal their information and use it to build an unfair competitive advantage.
Key takeaway: Hackers have a variety of motivations, ranging from financial gain to political goals. Awareness of these intentions can help you anticipate attacks that could affect your small business.
How to secure your computer from hackers
Despite the prevalence of computer hackers, most businesses rely on the internet to track their financials, order and maintain inventory, conduct marketing and PR campaigns, connect with customers, engage in social media, and perform other critical operations. Yet we continue to hear about massive computer breaches, even at giant corporations with robust security measures in place.
Small businesses are often targets as well, especially because they may underestimate the risk of cybercrime and may not have the resources to employ expensive cybersecurity solutions. Follow these tips to protect your devices and safeguard your sensitive data:
1. Use a firewall.
Windows and macOS have built-in firewalls – software designed to create a barrier between your information and the outside world. Firewalls prevent unauthorized access to your business network and alert you to any intrusion attempts.
Make sure the firewall is enabled before you go online. You can also purchase a hardware firewall from companies such as Cisco, Sophos or Fortinet, depending on your broadband router, which also has a built-in firewall that protects your network. If you have a larger business, you can purchase an additional business networking firewall.
2. Install antivirus software.
Computer viruses and malware are everywhere. Antivirus programs such as Bitdefender, Panda Free Antivirus, Malwarebytes and Avast protect your computer against unauthorized code or software that may threaten your operating system. Viruses may have easy-to-spot effects – for example, they might slow your computer or delete key files – or they may be less conspicuous.
Antivirus software plays a major role in protecting your system by detecting real-time threats to ensure your data is safe. Some advanced antivirus programs provide automatic updates, further protecting your machine from the new viruses that emerge every day. After you install an antivirus program, don’t forget to use it. Run or schedule regular virus scans to keep your computer virus-free. [Looking for antivirus software for your business? Check out our picks for the best antivirus software.]
3. Install an anti-spyware package.
Spyware is a special kind of software that secretly monitors and collects personal or organizational information. It is designed to be hard to detect and difficult to remove and tends to deliver unwanted ads or search results that are intended to direct you to certain (often malicious) websites.
Some spyware records every keystroke to gain access to passwords and other financial information. Anti-spyware concentrates exclusively on this threat, but it is often included in major antivirus packages, like those from Webroot, McAfee and Norton. Anti-spyware packages provide real-time protection by scanning all incoming information and blocking threats.
4. Use complex passwords.
Using secure passwords is the most important way to prevent network intrusions. The more secure your passwords are, the harder it is for a hacker to invade your system.
More secure often means longer and more complex. Use a password that has at least eight characters and a combination of numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters, and computer symbols. Hackers have an arsenal of tools to break short, easy passwords in minutes.
Don’t use recognizable words or combinations that represent birthdays or other information that can be connected to you. Don’t reuse passwords, either. If you have too many passwords to remember, consider using a password manager, such as Dashlane, Sticky Password, LastPass or Password Boss. [See related article: How to Create a Strong Password]
5. Keep your OS, apps and browser up-to-date.
Always install new updates to your operating systems. Most updates include security fixes that prevent hackers from accessing and exploiting your data. The same goes for apps. Today’s web browsers are increasingly sophisticated, especially in privacy and security. Be sure to review your browser security settings in addition to installing all new updates. For example, you can use your browser to prevent websites from tracking your movements, which increases your online privacy. Or, use one of these private web browsers.
6. Ignore spam.
Beware of email messages from unknown parties, and never click on links or open attachments that accompany them. Inbox spam filters have gotten pretty good at catching the most conspicuous spam. But more sophisticated phishing emails that mimic your friends, associates and trusted businesses (like your bank) have become common, so keep your eyes open for anything that looks or sounds suspicious.
7. Back up your computer.
If your business is not already backing up your hard drive, you should begin doing so immediately. Backing up your information is critical in case hackers do succeed in getting through and trashing your system.
Always be sure you can rebuild as quickly as possible after suffering any data breach or loss. Backup utilities built into macOS (Time Machine) and Windows (File History) are good places to start. An external backup hard drive can also provide enough space for these utilities to operate properly.
8. Shut it down.
Many businesses, especially those operating a web server, are “all systems go” all the time. If you’re not operating a complex internet-based company, however, switch off your machine overnight or during long stretches when you’re not working. Always being on makes your computer a more visible and available target for hackers; shutting down breaks the connection a hacker may have established with your network and disrupts any possible mischief.
9. Use virtualization.
Not everyone needs to take this route, but if you visit sketchy websites, expect to be bombarded with spyware and viruses. While the best way to avoid browser-derived intrusions is to steer clear of unsafe sites, virtualization allows you to run your browser in a virtual environment, like Parallels or VMware Fusion, that sidesteps your operating system to keep it safer.
10. Secure your network.
Routers don’t usually come with the highest security settings enabled. When setting up your network, log in to the router, and set a password using a secure, encrypted setup. This prevents intruders from infiltrating your network and messing with your settings.
11. Use two-factor authentication.
Passwords are the first line of defense against computer hackers, but a second layer boosts protection. Many sites let you enable two-factor authentication, which boosts security because it requires you to type in a numerical code – sent to your phone or email address – in addition to your password when logging in.
12. Use encryption.
Even if cybercriminals gain access to your network and files, encryption can prevent them from accessing any of that information. You can encrypt your Windows or macOS hard drive with BitLocker (Windows) or FileVault (Mac), encrypt any USB flash drive that contains sensitive information and use a VPN to encrypt web traffic. Only shop at encrypted websites; you can spot them immediately by the “https” in the address bar, accompanied by a closed-padlock icon. [See related article: A Small Business Guide to Computer Encryption]
Key takeaway: Combining security tools and best practices can protect your computers and your network from unauthorized access.
How to secure your phone from hackers
To secure your mobile device, you may need to take different security measures than you would to secure a computer. Follow these tips from Webroot to help you protect your mobile devices from hackers:
13. Turn off Bluetooth.
When you’re not using Bluetooth, turn it off. Keeping your Bluetooth on but dormant opens another back door for computer hackers.
14. Don’t use unsecured public Wi-Fi.
Password-free, widely used Wi-Fi networks have no security features. As such, they’re prime targets for computer hackers.
15. Get a security app.
Install a security app on your phone, just as you should install a firewall, antivirus software and an anti-spyware package on your computer. Popular options include Avast, Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus and Bitdefender.
16. Use a better passcode.
Unlock codes like 0000 and 1234 are easy to remember, but they’re also easy to guess. Instead, opt for a randomly generated, six-number passcode.
17. Switch off autocomplete.
Autocomplete is the feature that guesses what you’re typing and completes the word, phrase or other information for you. While convenient, this tool all but hands your email address, mailing address, phone number and other important information to hackers. Switch it off.
18. Clear your browsing history.
Your mobile web browser has a browsing history, too. Clear it often – including cookies and cached files – to give hackers as little information as possible to work with if they do break into your phone.