With more reports of spyware attacks coming out, you must be worried about the data privacy with your phone, There are tons of apps installed and uninstalled ever since we started using smartphones, but we do not know which of them are spying on us. With some research and collected experience, here are some signs you should suspect there is spyware on your phone.
Recent instances proved that the spyware could be infected on Android and iOS, so this guide will help you whether you’re using an Android phone or iPhone. If you suspect a spyware attack on your iPhone or Mac, switch to the Lockdown Mode that will block intruders.
- Unusual Battery Discharging
- Higher Resource Usage
- Phone Heating Even When Not In Usage
- Phone Slowing Down
- Apps Crashing Often
- Unnecessary Pop-Ups and Ads
- Unwanted Data Usage
- Strange SMS or Calls
- Unusual Phone Bills
- Suspicious Login Attempts to Your Accounts
- Seeing Apps You Never Installed Before
- Storage Space Running Out Unusually
- Phone Acts Strange or Works on Its Own
- Camera Working in Background
- Strange Photos or Videos Saved
- Strange Bookmarks or Calendar Events
- Friends Complaining About Messages You Never Sent
- Odd Sounds During Calls
- WhatsApp Web Logged In to Unrecognized Computer
- Files Shared with Unknown People in Google Drive or iCloud Drive
Unusual Battery Discharging
When your phone is infected with spyware, it will definitely need some battery juice in order to spy on you. If you are noticing any sudden dip in your phone’s battery life, this could be a sign of a harmful program running in the background.
Since the spyware tools work in the background, you might not find them in the forefront which will make you think either your phone is underperforming or some of your regular apps are taking extra juice. If that’s the case, head to Settings > Battery on your phone and see the most battery-consuming apps. If you see any apps that you are not familiar with, it could be spyware trying to steal information from you.
Higher Resource Usage
Higher battery consumption occurs when the apps on your phone use more resources like CPU and memory. If you cannot find anything unusual in your battery usage, check with the real-time resource usage. Most phones do not allow you to see the real-time CPU usage and memory consumption by apps. In such cases, you can install any task manager or task monitoring apps on your Android apps.
There are plenty of apps available on the Google Play Store to monitor the resource usage on your phone. Each of them differs with the functions they provide, however, they all basically show you all the background tasks that are running on your phone. If you suspect any background services, go to online forums to make sure they are safe.
Phone Heating Even When Not In Usage
It is very common for the ones to heat up while playing games or doing power tasks, However, if you are facing overheating even while you are not using the phone, there is something fishy going with the background apps. No apps are designed to use the maximum resources and heat up your phone unless they are to spy on you. This could be the sign of spyware or other malicious apps.
Phone Slowing Down
Is your phone slowing down all of a sudden? Are apps opening and closing takes too long and basic tasks like making calls are not even responding the way they used to? When some apps try to make use of the hardware and software resources in the background, other major tasks may get affected and causing a slowdown.
We cannot be sure if spyware is causing the issue, but if you checked your storage space and app usage and found nothing that causes a slowdown, there could be a harmful process running on your phone without your knowledge.
Apps Crashing Often
Since the spyware programs try to get into your personal information as quickly as they can, other apps might not be able to run properly with a ‘heavy task’ already running in the background. If you see many apps frequently running into “Crashed” or “Stopped working” messages, you need to be careful. There have been many people who faced app crashing whilst they found some unusual activities running in the background on their Android phones.
Unnecessary Pop-Ups and Ads
Spywares usually stay low and they don’t show off anything at all. It is common with adware or bloatware to show ads and popups on Android phones. However, these adware programs are not safe at all since they may try to access and steal all your data while acting as just a “spam” tool. If you are seeing popup ads here and there on your phone, it’s not a good idea to leave them as is.
Unwanted Data Usage
Spyware tools may try to send the stolen data to a remote server, which needs internet. They will use your cellular data or WiFi to steal your information. If you see any unusual cellular data usage or higher mobile data bill than you actually use, it is a red flag.
Strange SMS or Calls
Some spyware programs send information in encrypted or encoded ways, and sometimes through SMS. Check the Messages app on your phone and see if there are any strange text messages sent to unknown numbers. Also, if you see any unusual outgoing call logs to unknown numbers, that’s a big sign that your phone is infected with spyware.
Unusual Phone Bills
If your phone bill is skyrocketing without making too many calls, there may be someone (or something) that is using your phone line to make calls. These calls may be to steal your data or to spy on your conversations in the background without your knowledge.
Suspicious Login Attempts to Your Accounts
If you save your account passwords to the Chrome browser or any other password managers on your phone, spyware can collect this login information and use them to access your accounts. If you find a series of attempts to sign in to your various accounts, better start taking measures against Spyware and change your passwords ASAP.
Seeing Apps You Never Installed Before
When someone can remotely access your phone, they will try to install more malicious apps to your phones and hack more data. If you are seeing apps you never installed on your phone, it may be harmful to you. Do not try to open the app. Simply get rid of them first if you want out of the risk.
Storage Space Running Out Unusually
If a program tries to replicate the files on your phone or grows itself like a trojan, your storage space will run out like never before. If you are aware of the storage space left on your iPhone or Android, you will understand when this eventually gets filled up. Watch more closely with the apps you installed if the storage gets filled up much quicker.
Phone Acts Strange or Works on Its Own
Have you been noticing some “ghost” effects on your phone? If so, there could be a backdoor opened in your device that lets the hackers access your hone and operate it remotely. If your phone works on its own without any nation from your side, and without any screen damages, that’s a warning for you.
Camera Working in Background
Unlike iPhones, Android phones can record videos and capture photos in the background without actually showing them on the screen. The same provision can be used by the spy apps to record your movements and photograph you without your knowledge.
Until Android 12, there was no option to know whether the camera is being recorded in the background. If your phone is on Android, you can get privacy dots and information on whether an app is recording in the background without your knowledge.
Another method is to check the temperature near the camera. On most new phones, the camera sensors get heated up when it is working in the background. So that’s a sign that the camera is working in the background and so some spyware.
Strange Photos or Videos Saved
If you see any strange photos/pictures or videos saved into your gallery, it may be using or used for the spying purpose. Be cautious with such red flags.
Strange Bookmarks or Calendar Events
It is not very uncommon for malicious apps to hijack your calendar events and add annoying calendar notifications. These events will contain links to malicious websites and will lead to even more data leaks. If you see ay such unwanted annoying bookmarks on the browser or the events on the Calendar, there can be possible spyware on your phone.
Friends Complaining About Messages You Never Sent
Your friends may get stage messages from you, without actually you sending them. Spyware with SMS permission can send messages to your contacts that may contain links to harmful apps. If your friends accidentally click on such links their devices
Odd Sounds During Calls
If you hear any odd beep sounds while making or answering a call, there’s a hidden call recorded in the action. This will record your phone calls without your knowledge. Another possibility is remote phone tapping which may still make some noise while making calls. If somebody hijacks the whole network to tap your calls, there is nothing you could do.
WhatsApp Web Logged In to Unrecognized Computer
If somebody wants to spy on you, the easiest method is to take your phone and access your WhatsApp via the web on their PC. You can log in to WhatsApp Web just by scanning a QR code. If somebody scans the QR code on their PC using your WhatsApp, they will likely be able to see your WhatsApp messages.
You can check for the WhatsApp Web signed in browsers by going to the “WhatsApp Web” option from the WhatsApp app. If you see any, immediately remove and log out of the device.
Files Shared with Unknown People in Google Drive or iCloud Drive
Sometimes, it will be too late when you realize that your phone is infected with spyware. Even if you find them, some things will stay unrecognized. For example, if spyware shared some important folders from your Google Drive or iCloud Drive, you may not easily find them. The moment you suspect something, go ahead and check your cloud storage apps to make sure nothing is shared with the wrong hands.