How to scan your phone for spyware?
Today’s technological world, while incredibly exciting and rapidly evolving, also has its dark side. In fact, virtually any device can be hacked, directly threatening an individual’s security and privacy. This is a rather grim prospect, especially when social media and technology even outgrow the “gray man”. Fortunately, there are a few ways to protect yourself from hacking attacks.
What spyware actually is?
For most people, the term computer virus is already familiar, but they often don’t realize that there is also such a thing as spyware. Spyware is unwanted software that may be installed on your cell phone. It allows another person to remotely monitor activities on your device.
In most cases, a hacker has access to information such as:
- Call history, including phone numbers, date and length of call
- Text messages, both phone numbers and SMS content
- Web browsing history
- Phone location
- Image gallery
In more advanced cases, when “Jailbreak” is installed on an iPhone or “Root” is installed on an Android, you can additionally have an insight into the m.In:
- Messages in applications such as. WhatsApp, Viber, Skype
- Conversations on the phone
- Using the phone’s microphone to record the phone’s surroundings
Symptoms of having spyware
Given the cleverness of hackers, spotting their activity can be difficult to detect. Symptoms can be many, so careful observation of your phone’s “health” is key here. The most common are:
- battery overheating – some spyware can overload the phone’s processor, which causes the battery to run out faster
- The device connects to the internet without your knowledge
- A constant request to log into e.g. Apple ID
There are some forms of spyware that can be easily identified by a retail store or technical service. Unfortunately there are also types that require detailed research that are not so easily accessible. Depending on your particular situation, if spyware surveillance is the only one of the abuses you are experiencing, you can ask for help from the staff to guide you properly in securing your device. We remind you that we are talking about proven points, preferably in official stores or professional service points.
What to do when spyware is detected?
If you suspect that your phone is “contaminated” by mobile spyware, there are a few steps you can take:
- Consider using another device for private communications. Continuing to use the “old” phone may be a good solution – the hacker will then not suspect that you have noticed its activities.
- For security reasons, we recommend that you keep any conversations you want to keep private out of the hearing range of a “tainted device”, as some spyware can record the phone’s surroundings.
- It is worth remembering that some spyware can also monitor your location, so we recommend being careful when using your phone. When you decide to take your device to the police station – the hacker will know about it.
- Spyware programs work when the phone is on and connected to the Internet. Turning off your device frequently will temporarily slow down tracking.
- If it’s safe to do so, resetting your device to factory settings, updating the operating system, or changing your Apple ID/iCloud/Google account password can remove the spyware. However, this step will only work with some programs.
- Buying a new device can also help solve the problem. However, if you buy a new Android device, avoid automatically reinstalling apps from the GooglePlay Store.
If you want to remove spyware on your own?
In addition to the above options, there is also the possibility of removal by software. First of all, you need to remember to use the highest quality antivirus to properly scan your device (a list of antispyware tools that we recommend can be found here). If you know exactly where the infection is located, you can help the antivirus and choose a custom scan targeting a specific area. After correctly identifying the problem, use an anti-spyware tool and “clean” your phone to remove the hacking influence completely.
If you are aware of the source of the problem, you can remove the program manually. When you open the menu, all active applications will be displayed. If you know which application is causing the complication, choose “uninstall” and “remove program” option. It is worth noting that manual removal may involve some kind of risk. When you choose the wrong operating system program, you can prevent the device from working.
Getting your device infected is not a pleasant experience. Fortunately, after recognizing this fact, you can take steps to solve the problem. The most important thing in this case is to follow the “health status” of the device and pay attention to the first symptoms that we described above. Technology is a beautiful thing, but in the wrong hands it can be used against us. It is worth remembering not to download applications from unknown sources, do not open suspicious attachments, be cautious when clicking on ads and make frequent browser updates. It is also a good idea to use VPN type software and a good antivirus.