With practically every electronic device becoming computerized nowadays, it’s given hackers a broader playing field. It’s not uncommon to see headlines about massive data breaches and wireless networks getting infiltrated, with many incidents stemming from Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
I mentioned in a previous article how hacking was once largely relegated to affecting “conventional” computers – desktop PCs, laptops, etc. With most “smart” technology like cellphones, appliances, and vehicles having computers or computer-like software, it makes these devices just as vulnerable to cyberattacks as PCs and laptops. Most people take it for granted that their smartphones are immune to the tricks and techniques hackers use. The facts can be quite mind-boggling with nearly one million smartphones having been infected by malware in 2016 alone, and almost one billion susceptible to being hacked.
While most signs of data breaches on a smartphone are going to be subtle (if noticeable at all), there are ways you can determine if your device has been compromised by a cybercriminal. Your phone’s performance is a big indicator. If your smartphone is performing slower, draining battery faster than usual, or experiencing dropped and disrupted phone calls, these are all strong indicators of malware.
Whether we realize it or not, you’re going to quickly notice when something is off, mainly because we’re so used to instant access and high-speed network coverage from smartphones. On average, most smartphone users have a good idea on how long their battery life can last. While constant activity, cold temperatures, and having several apps open at once are all factors that reduce battery life, your phone dies a lot quicker if malware is present. Granted smartphones sometimes get hot while running, another sign that coincides with shorter battery life is if your smartphone gets physically hotter than usual.
In terms of dropped or disrupted phone calls, this usually doesn’t happen if you have strong reception. While all provider networks are susceptible to the occasional dropped phone call, having this happen excessively (even with a strong cellphone signal) is a strong indicator your phone was hacked. Hearing strange noises or experiencing disruptions during calls is another red flag that smartphone owners might pick up on a lot quicker, because of the constant distractions.
While this doesn’t necessarily pertain to performance, websites appearing differently on your smartphone also points to a potential data breach. Mobile devices have continual network connections, and attacks where traffic between a device and the Internet is being manipulated are being seen more often. Websites can appear differently on your smartphone for several reasons, but the main ones are if all of the website’s data doesn’t fully upload or the connection between the website’s server and smartphone’s network is disrupted. More often than not, this usually means another entity is on your network line.
Hackers even have the ability to send spam and text messages from your smartphone. This is perhaps the biggest sign a cyberattack took place, if people on your contacts list begin complaining about receiving strange texts or spam you have no recollection of sending. Newly downloaded apps is just as obvious. Hackers use malicious apps to track your activities, GPS locations, and personal information. The presence of this kind of malware even prevents other apps you’ve downloaded from working properly. It’s also wise to always check your data plan bills. If you notice fluctuations in downloading or uploading patterns or data usage that you can’t explain, it’s a good sign that malware has been downloaded onto your smartphone and is being actively controlled by a cybercriminal.
Filed Under: M2M (machine to machine)