This is a guest post by Sam Narisi. If you are interested to guest post in this blog, just head over to the Guest Post Guidelines.
As smartphones become more popular, more hackers are turning their attention to those mobile devices. Just as with computers, smartphones can be infected with viruses or spyware or otherwise be accessed by criminals to steal data or use the device for illegal means.
One big IT security challenge is that hackers specialize in conducting stealth attacks that go unnoticed. And, mobile security is still in its infancy and not all applications will be able to detect every type of attack. That means many smartphone users may have a device that’s been compromised without them even realizing it.
While the following symptoms can have a number of causes – including some legitimate apps – these are some potential warning signs that a smartphone has been hacked:
1. Suspicious items on the phone bill
One of the most common uses of mobile malware is to take control of a victim’s phone and use it to send text messages or make phone calls. Typically, the infected phone is made to automatically dial or message premium rate numbers. The victim’s phone bill is run up, and the criminals pocket the payments.
The scam often continues for a while as users fail to notice the calls or sent messages when they review their phone bill. That’s especially the case for company-issued smartphones – if a device is used for a lot of business calls, a few extra charges resulting from a malware infection might not stand out.
2. Big changes in battery consumption
One of the biggest drains on a smartphone’s battery life is the use of Wi-Fi or a mobile data connection to send and receive information.
Therefore, a dramatic change in how much battery power a device uses is sometimes caused by the phone sending large amounts of data. It’s not always the case, but that might be because a virus is being used to transmit data from the device.
3. Big jumps in data use
Another way to tell if a phone has been transmitting an unusual amount of information is simply to check data usage stats from the wireless carrier.
However, users don’t often check their data usage unless they go over their monthly allotment and have to pay overage charges. But it might be a good idea to keep track and watch for sudden and significant changes.
4. Drained resources
When a virus is running in the background and sending data, it will use up a lot of the device’s processing power, RAM and other resources.
Many smartphones have tools that show how much of those resources are being used – a big change may be the result of a malware infection.
5. Strange GPS or Bluetooth use
Some mobile malware is used to track a victim’s physical location using the device’s GPS or Bluetooth functionality. Therefore, if a phone shows those connections are being used when not running an application that requires them, it could mean a virus is being used to transmit location data.
6. Unusual disruptions in service
In addition to stealing data off of a smartphone, hackers may compromise a device in order to listen in on phone calls. Those attempts may cause an unusual amount of dropped calls or service disruptions.
7. Significant slowdown in performance
Finally, as with an infected PC, one sign a smartphone may have been infected with malware or otherwise compromised by hackers is that the device just doesn’t run as well as it used to.
That – as with the other symptoms on this list – can be caused by a number of factors, including some legitimate applications. However, they can also be warning signs that a smartphone has been hacked.
It’s important that users are aware of what issues to look out for, so the issue can be investigated further if those problems are experienced.