Nine red flags that your phone may have been hacked


Phone users have received a new warning amid news that WhatsApp users have fallen victim to a new form of scam, potentially hijacking their accounts through a single phone call, exposing personal information such as private messages and contact lists.

As users become more savvy about scams, it would appear that cyberattacks on mobile technology are becoming more sophisticated. Global search trend data highlights 20,000 Google queries for “how to know if your phone is hacked”, and so the experts at have created an in-depth checklist of nine tell-tale signs, to help you identify if you have been the victim of a cyberattack.

Battery life is getting weaker

Decreased battery life is common the longer you have a phone. However, if your phone is relatively new and in good condition, chances are that if your phone has been hacked, you will notice your battery deteriorating significantly.

The reason is that malware has been installed on the device, which secretly uses your phone’s existing resources and apps, transferring all data to the hacker or server.

Your phone is getting hot

It is inevitable that excessive use of your phone can make it a little warmer than usual. While this is relatively normal, a telltale sign of your phone being hacked is your device getting hot without this excessive use. This is again because a hacker will have installed malware in the background which will cause extra activity causing your phone to overheat.

Background noise during calls

Some telltale signs might not be so obvious, but if your phone has been hacked, you might notice a lot of noise in the background, during a phone call, or when your audio is on. It could be a sign that someone is listening to your conversations or that a hacker has gained access to your device.

Consistent pop-ups and mysterious browsing experience

Pop-up ads are relatively normal and we won’t often question their authenticity. However, the time to start wondering if you have been hacked is if you start noticing constant pop-up advertisements, where an adware has been triggered, causing the device to click on revenue-generating pages . You should also avoid clicking on links asking for personal or financial information if they are not vetted or acknowledged.

Likewise, if your browser looks weird and every website you visit doesn’t look right, or you got redirected to other sites, chances are you’ve been hacked. Again, it’s best to always change passwords and uninstall any programs you don’t recognize.

Slow performance

As with anything, the minute you download something a bit “fishy,” your device is bound to slow down, frequently freeze, crash, or just crash. The same goes for malware, because again, it overloads the phone’s resources more than usual. You may also need to force restart your device to close apps that run regularly despite being closed.

Apps, messages, outgoing calls that you don’t recognize

Strong telltale signs that your phone may have been hacked are an influx of unknown numbers, text messages, and downloaded apps using your details. Be careful because it could signal that you have been the victim of a data breach, and especially you do not answer or do not answer anything. If you suspect unusual activity, block the caller and report it as spam to your provider.

Another reason to avoid answering a number you don’t recognize is that these are often expensive, high-premium numbers with all profits going directly to the cybercriminal. So it’s best to check your monthly bills as well.

Data usage is abnormally high

Most cell phone users will know roughly how much data they use on average per month. Any unusual spikes may signal malware on your phone. Some warning signs include downloading large data files and loading apps usually taking a long time. This could all be from spy apps or malware running in the background sending information back to the server it came from.

Suspicious activity on personal accounts

From social media apps to your emails, your personal data is vulnerable to hackers, and a clear warning sign that your phone may have been hacked is suspicious activity on all linked accounts. Beware of emails about resetting your password or a security message saying a new device is linked. Unless you’ve personally done one of these things, don’t open any emails, links, or apps.

It’s best to change your passwords immediately by logging into your online browser (outside your device).

Your signal has disappeared

Known as a ‘porting attack’, this is when you receive a notification or message from your mobile carrier about a change to your account that you did not make. Eventually you’ll lose signal completely, as well as being unable to connect to bank accounts or email.

As soon as this happens, you should contact the police saying that you have been the victim of identity theft. And of course, contact your provider afterwards with the police report.


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