ESET: have your cell phone been hacked?

Is your cell phone battery draining faster than usual? Or do you seem to be consuming more data even though your Internet browsing habits have not changed? You may need to consider being hacked. In other words, has a scammer broken into your cell phone?

hacked mobile

Today, mobile phones have evolved into smart laptops capable of performing tasks previously performed on laptops and PCs. We use them to take photos, send and receive emails, communicate on social media, make electronic payments… and the list goes on.

But all this wealth of data attracts scammers who want to get your data for δ their own reasons - rather than selling your data on the dark web.) until they steal your ID.

In recent years it has been proven many times that even your trusted mobile device can be compromised by malware. With Android holding the lion's market share, we will focus on this operating system and leverage its knowledge Lukas Stefanko, researcher of the global cybersecurity company ESET, who has extensive experience in exposing malware targeting Android users.

How your phone can be compromised

In several ways, in fact. One of the most common tactics used by cybercriminals to break into a victim's device is through phishing emails and malicious emails (malspam) containing malicious links or attachments. Once the victim clicks on the attachment or link (which then downloads the malware to their device), the malware allows hackers to commit their crimes.

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Another strategy used by cybercriminals is to copy the web pages of popular companies or organizations - these copy sites are full of malicious links that, once clicked, download malicious software to your device.

In addition, it is not uncommon for cybercriminals to develop fake applications that disguise themselves as real fitness tracking applications, or cryptocurrency applications, and lead unsuspecting victims to download keyloggers, ransomware or spyware. These applications are usually spread through unofficial application stores.

How to check if your phone has been compromised

There are several signs that your smartphone may have been compromised:

"The most common signs of a device breach are that the battery drains faster than usual, you seem to be consuming more data even though your internet browsing habits have not changed, GPS function or data usage (or Wi-Fi "or mobile data) appears to be enabled or disabled on its own, and random pop-ups or unknown applications are installed without your permission," says the ESET malware researcher. Lukas Stefanko.

Another sign is that previously running applications are starting to behave strangely, such as abruptly launching, shutting down or shutting down, and causing unexpected errors. However, he says Stefanko, this is not limited to applications - you may notice that both your smartphone and its system are starting to behave strangely.

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Other signs of your device being tampered with are that you receive strange calls or text messages, or that your call and text message history contains strange and unknown entries due to certain types of malware trying to make calls or send messages to high international numbers.

And let's not forget one of the most obvious signs: if your Android phone has been affected by ransomware, your device will simply be locked and you will not be able to open it.

Keep malware away from your phone

There are no magic or easy solutions to reduce the chances of your device being infected by malware. However, by following a combination of precautionary steps you will be able to be safe from threats:

  • Upgrade both your operating system and your applications as soon as the latest updates are available,
  • Download and save a copy of your data in case your device is compromised,
  • Use a reliable mobile security solution with a proven track record to protect you from most threats.
  • Prefer the official store when downloading applications and always make sure to check the reviews of both the application and its developer, and finally,
  • Find out what are the most common tactics used by cybercriminals to break into and compromise devices.

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