How do I know if my cell phone has been hacked? This is a topic that seems out of a sci-fi movie. But, let me tell you that, with advancements in technology, this may happen to anyone.
In this article, you will find what does it mean to have your mobile phone hacked, and the red flags that may help you find out whether or not someone is spying you.
You will also find a list of security measures to protect your mobile phone from being hacked.
You will also learn about MMI codes, and which of them could help you know if your Android device is being hacked.
Lastly, we will make some clarifications regarding comments made on the internet about Android and Apple spying on us.
We hope that this information becomes useful to you and that you can make the most out of it so that you can protect the integrity of your information and protect your mobile phone from being hacked.
You can navigate through the content menu in this article to search for topics that may interest you. Let’s get to it. Let’s find out if your mobile phone has been hacked!
Tabla de Contenido
- 1) What does it mean that your mobile phone has been hacked?
- 2) Discover if your mobile phone was hacked – Red flags
- 3) Safety measures to protect your mobile phone from being hacked
- 4) Codes to find out if your Android device is being hacked
- 5) Is it true that Android and Apple are also spying on us?
1) What does it mean that your mobile phone has been hacked?
Before we start, it is important to make sure that we understand the concepts of hacking and being hacked, since they are terms that we hear frequently, and we may have an idea of what they mean whenever we hear them.
But, if someone asks us for a more technical definition, we may be at a loss of words when trying to explain it. To prove this, we will ask to many of our readers:
What’s the first thing that comes to mind whenever you hear the term hacker or being hacked? Most people had similar answers whenever they answered with the following words:
- Data theft
- Identity theft
- Stolen money
- Finding out my password
- Someone being able to see my photos
- Someone being able to see my emails
- Spying on my conversations
- Recording my calls
All of them are right, but the word “hacking” in its technical definition means to enter without permission into a system, device, or a computer network.
And the definition of hackers is the people that make these actions, and who take advantage of these advanced knowledge to access and modify IT systems for, generally, illegal purposes.
This is the reason why hackers are also known as “computer pirates” since, just as the feared men that assaulted ships on the sea in the past, they also tend to have the intention of stealing.
Although hackers do not seek jewels and treasure, they look for something even more valuable: “information,” since it gives you power and, of course, money.
Therefore, when someone says that your mobile phone has been hacked, they refer to the act of someone having access to the information on your device, without your consent, generally from a remote location, and with illegal purposes.
And, if you think that hackers only attack computer operating systems, you’re wrong! Any device connected to the internet is vulnerable to being hacked.
Therefore, our mobile phone is included into that category. We do almost all of the operations that we normally do on a computer or laptop in our smartphone anyways.
We receive and answer emails, we take pictures and store them in our mobile phone’s storage, we enter and interact with others in social network apps, and we consult information on the internet from our smartphones.
We listen to music, read books, and, if that wasn’t enough, we make purchases, pay bills, make payments and transfer money from our mobile phone.
This device has turned into our center of operations, it allows us to bring our office with us whenever we go, and, of course, it makes our lives easier.
But it also makes our mobile phones more vulnerable and susceptible to being hacked if we don’t take preventive actions nor some security measures.
Therefore, this information and methods to find out if your mobile phone has been hacked is for you and for anyone that has a smartphone.
You may still have some questions and think that it is unlikely that someone has the intention of hacking your mobile phone. After all, you’re not a celebrity nor a politician.
Once again, let me tell you that you’re wrong! Anyone could be the target of a hacker attack. You don’t need to be rich nor famous.
Of course, those people with a higher economic, political, or social status will gain more attention from hackers.
Also, you no longer need to be an expert in technology to spy another person. Anyone that has the right tools and mechanisms will be able to do it, regardless of whether it’s legal or not.
A few years ago, if anyone needed information about a person, they would hire a private investigator. That’s right! Just like in old movies!
If anyone suspected that their significant other was being unfaithful, a private investigator would offer their service, follow the suspect, and take pictures to find out the truth.
Nowadays, those private detectives with raincoats and sunglasses have disappeared because you can now find out everything about a person by the digital tracks that they leave behind.
Instead of saying the classic quote “follow that car”, it should now be something like “follow that cell phone.” Although it may sound funny, it’s true!
Our intention is not to make you feel unsafe whenever you use your mobile phone, nor to make you go to the extreme of become a paranoid by feeling that a hacker is spying or following you.
Our mission is to inform you to help you make good decisions and preemptive actions so that you don’t become a victim of computer spies, and to make you avoid saying that your mobile phone has been hacked.
We want you to have the information and tools to protect yourself or find out if your mobile phone has been hacked.
2) Discover if your mobile phone was hacked – Red flags
Regardless of whether or not you suspect that your mobile phone was hacked, make use of this information and find out if your mobile phone shows any of these red flags, and take preemptive measures.
I can’t turn off my mobile phone
If you can’t turn off your mobile phone, even after pressing the power button for many seconds, and you also notice that there are windows showing up that you didn’t open and that the flashlight turned on, then it is highly likely that your cell phone may have spyware.
It restarts frequently
In this case, make sure that this isn’t caused by a flaw on the operating system. If it isn’t, then maybe what’s causing this error is a virus or spyware.
Contacts that I don’t recognize
According to experts, this may indicate that someone added these contacts with the intention of spying or hacking your mobile phone. Delete them immediately!
The battery runs out too quickly
It is possible that an app may be running in the background to track your information and all your activity on your mobile phone. This is why the battery may be running out quickly.
Interference and noise during calls
Some may mix up this red flag with bad signal. If this happens frequently, it is likely that someone may be trying to eavesdrop your conversations.
The mobile phone is frequently overheating
If you have a new battery, it would be rare that your phone overheats. This happens when a program runs in the background to the point that it drains your battery quite quickly.
You receive messages from unknown numbers
Be it SMS messages or via WhatsApp, this is another red flag of someone that is trying to hack your mobile phone. Some of them may include fake ads that are being transmitted from a device to the other.
If windows asking you to do some action show up, this is a red flag that someone is trying to have access to your mobile phone. Do not click on “accept” under any circumstance!
Suspicious apps that you didn’t download
Having new apps that you didn’t install and having an unusual increase on your data consumption is another indicator that something bad is happening, such as a malicious program running in the background. Delete them immediately!
3) Safety measures to protect your mobile phone from being hacked
Now that you know the red flags to identify whether your mobile phone has been hacked, it is time to urgently take safety measures!
Be it that you identified one of these red flags on your mobile phone or not, these safety measures may stop you from becoming a victim from a hacker attack.
So now you know it. The best safety measure is prevention! Also, these methods are simple to follow, and you can incorporate to your daily life in all of your smart devices.
To make it difficult for hackers to attack you, you don’t have to be an expert in technology. You only need to have good security habits, be aware and not fall for tempting offers. Just use common sense. As the saying goes, “they don’t give out a lot of that stuff if it’s too good.”
You know that good things in life have a price, so, if they offer it to you for nothing, become skeptical since nothing is fee. They go after your information.
Let’s start with a checklist to make your mobile phone a safer device.
a) Always use a lock screen system
Be it a pattern, a numerical password, your SIM card’s PIN code, your fingerprints or identification via your iris on phones that have these mechanisms, remember to use a system to protect your phone.
b) Do not download unknown apps
Even though the Play Store apps are checked by Google, do not let your guard down. Start being really selective with the things that you download on your mobile phone.
An app that apparently offers you a simple service may be a virus or other malicious software that may heck your mobile phone. For this reason, never download apps outside of the official stores.
c) Keep your operating system updated
The developers of the Android and iOS operating systems try their best to be at the forefront to protect their users. That’s why it’s important to update the operating system, since, generally, the new versions fix security flaws.
d) Make a backup periodically
Protect your information with a periodical backup on the cloud or in an external storage device that you may use to restore your information in case of an attack from hackers.
e) Use good and strong passwords
You may need to use your imagination a little bit more, but your safety is quite important. A good technique is to use the initials from words that make up a phrase that inspires you and that only you know and combine it with upper-case letters, lower-case letters, and special characters.
The longer, the better. Also, don’t use the same password on different applications.
f) Double-check the websites that you browse
If a website asks you for your personal information without even requesting a service, or if they ask you to install something, get out of there.
Public networks are not recommended, especially for doing transactions from your bank account. Instead, it is recommended that you use an encrypted service to avoid access from hackers.
g) Install a security app
A good antivirus will keep you safe and it will also scan your new apps to delete any hidden malicious software that they may carry.
4) Codes to find out if your Android device is being hacked
Another way of finding out if your mobile phone has been hacked is through the use of MMI codes (man-machine interface,) which consists of a series of numbers that start with characters such as an asterisk (*) or a pound sign (#,) which are designed so that the phone doesn’t interpret them as a phone number to call another phone.
The main MMI codes that may help you discover if your mobile phone has been hacked are:
In case that someone is redirecting our calls, we can deactivate the redirection by using this code.
Use this code if your friends and relatives are complaining since they can’t contact you since your phone number shows up a message saying that it is offline.
By dialing this code, an onscreen message will appear indicating the phone number where the calls are being sent which, by default, should be your carrier’s phone number. If you see a different number, your cell phone has been hacked, and someone is receiving your calls.
Just like the previous code , this code also indicates if the calls, messages, and data are being redirected, that is, being sent somewhere else. But, unlike the previous code, this one shows detailed information onscreen about each service.
If any message says that the service is being redirected or activated, make sure to double-check it and contact your carrier to solve the problem immediately.
This code doesn’t tell you whether or not your mobile phone has been hacked, but it shows you the IMEI number of your mobile phone, which is like your device’s official ID number to the authorities. In case that your phone gets stolen, this is the number that you need to report. Write it down and store it in a safe place.
5) Is it true that Android and Apple are also spying on us?
When you buy a mobile phone, be it an Android or an Apple one, you need to show proof of your identity through your email in order to have access to the services of many of the device’s official apps.
Among those are the apps designed to protect your safety. When you use said apps, you accept their terms and conditions (which almost no one reads) and, therefore, you, as the user, are giving your approval to these giant tech companies to use your data.
Therefore, this wouldn’t count as spying since you’re the one who’s willingly giving out your information. This is different to the cases explained on the previous sections, where there was no consent from your part for other people to use your data.
The point is that the information that you give out through the apps that you use in your mobile phone is used for offering you products and services according to the information about your profile that is collected each time that you use the network.
Evidence of this is the scandal in which the giant Facebook was involved in for, apparently, giving out information about their users during the previous presidential elections in the United States.
So, even though we can’t say that Android and Apple spy on us through their apps, it is true that they collect information about their users.
And all of that information is used for commercial purposes, that is, to create profiles and use them for advertisement purposes.
We are pleased to know that you reached the end of this article. That means that we managed to get your attention with this topic, which is a bit controversial for some people, but it is still a pretty important one.
Because, as we have previously mentioned, prevention is the best safety measure. So, you’re all set to find out if your mobile phone has been hacked, and you know the main security measures to avoid it.
Said measures can be summarized in the following checklist:
1. Always use a lock screen system.
2. Do not download unknown apps.
3. Keep your operating system updated.
4. Make a backup periodically.
5. Use good and strong passwords.
6. Double check the websites that you visit. Avoid public networks.
7. Install a security app, such as an antivirus.
8. Use MMS codes to delete any redirecting configuration.
9. Do not click on “accept” on any pop-up message.
10. Check your phone bill and data consumption frequently.
Now that you know everything to find out if your mobile phone was hacked, and that you know the available tools to avoid hacker attacks, take proper action.
It is very easy, it won’t take you much time and, if you share this information with your friends and relatives, you will also help them so that they can also find out if their mobile phone was hacked.