My Phone Was Hacked. How Do I Fix It?

Secure your phone before it's too late

A hacked phone is bad news, so if you think your phone has been hacked, you need to fix it as soon as possible. This article explains how to repair the damage (as much as possible) and get back to normal life.

How Do I Know If My Phone Has Been Hacked?

Signs that your phone has been hacked includes losing charge quickly, running slowly, strange activity like pop-up windows or unexpected apps showing up, or unfamiliar calls or texts in your phone logs.

A hacked phone can often leaded to hacked online accounts, since hackers often use the autologin feature with saved passwords to access your accounts from your phone. So, after following this guide to fix your phone, make sure to regain control of your hacked Facebook account, hacked Google account, and a hacked email accounts.

Causes of a Hacked Phone

Your phone can get hacked for a variety of reasons, not all of which are entirely under your control.

  • Clicking on links on social media sites that take you to a site that installs malware on your phone.
  • Selecting links in phishing emails that install malicious software.
  • SIM card hacking where the hacker convinces your provider to send them a replacement SIM card.
  • Hackers connecting to your phone via a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection.

Regardless of how hackers managed to install malware or a virus on your phone, the results are usually the same. The hacker will attempt to exploit any information contained on your phone to profit in some way.

This can include searching through files on your phone for personal or sensitive information like bank account details, your social security number, or online account passwords.

How to Fix It If Your Phone Was Hacked

You can clean your phone and get rick of hacking activity using the steps below. These fixes apply to any version of Android and any Android phone manufacturer.

  1. First, turn on Android Safe Mode. Once this is enabled, delete all newly installed or unrecognized apps from your Android. Make sure to look for hidden apps as well. You can also see recently installed apps on your Android by opening the Google Play Store app and selecting My apps & games, then sorting Installed apps by Last Updated. Uninstalling unrecognized or recently installed apps can help with removing any potential malicious software you accidentally installed.

    Why use Android Safe Mode before removing apps? In Safe Mode, Android disables all third-party applications from running, which also prevents unnecessary background apps from running. This makes it easier to remove unwanted apps from your phone without seeing any errors.

  2. Install and run mobile antivirus software. These applications will scan your phone for malicious files and apps that are compromising your phone's security and permanently remove them.

  3. If you've rooted your Android phone, you've opened up areas of the system that are normally protected by security privileges. To reverse this, you'll need to use one of the root apps like SuperSU to unroot your Android and make it secure again.

    Rooting or unrooting your Android can "brick" the phone and make it unusable. If this happens to you then you'll have to follow instructions to unbrick your Android and recover it again if you can.

  4. Reset your Android lock screen and PIN code. This will ensure that if a hacker did get access to your login details and hacked your phone that way, they won't be able to get back in once you restart your Android. You can also lock apps using screen pinning for extra security.

  5. Reset account passwords. You might need to reset your Microsoft account if you use Office365 apps, or reset Instagram password, or even reset your Gmail account. It can be a hassle to change all your passwords, but if a hacker has been active on your phone it's the only way to ensure all your accounts are resecured.

    To protect all your accounts from future hacks, consider using a free password manager app on your Android. This keeps your passwords protected behind an additional layer of password protection and will make it harder for hackers to get access to your accounts.

  6. If you've noticed that you're no longer receiving phone calls or text messages, see unrecognized numbers or calls on your bill, or a location tracking app shows an incorrect location for your phone, your SIM card might have been cloned or hacked. This is usually accomplished by a hacker who uses social engineering to get your wireless provider to send them a new SIM card for your account. If you suspect this is the case, contact your wireless provider and let them know your SIM card might be cloned. They can work with you to shut down the cloned SIM card and provide you with a legitimate one.

    Since the hacker was able to get your wireless provider to send them a SIM card, it's important to take some time to work with the provider and insure all of your personal contact and billing information is still correct. Also ensure that they have a secondary contact phone number on file that they can use for confirmation if anyone ever calls asking to make any changes to your current phone's wireless plan.

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