Do you feel like someone is watching you or listening in on your phone calls?
Spyware can be installed on any device: a PC or laptop, a tablet, an iPhone, or an Android smartphone. By definition, spyware is malware that is placed on your device without any alert. Usually, it does this by attaching itself to your operating system and running in the background as a memory-resident program. Sometimes it even disguises itself as a file that is innocent and a vital part of your OS.
These are apps that can compromise data on your phone, steal any passwords that you submit and even record conversations using your phone microphone. Special forms of spyware called keyloggers can even record everything you type. They then pass this information over the internet to fraudsters to use to steal your identity. Also, the installer of the app could monitor the texts, emails, web browsing history. It can find your real-time phone location using GPS tracking technology.
How do Spyware and Stalkerware become installed on a device?
The most lethal forms of spyware usually find their way onto user computers or phone through legit programs. It’s important to note that these types of downloads are usually bundled with not one, but several spyware apps. And, when you install the “harmless” programs, the spyware applications automatically get installed as well.
For example: Spyware can be illegally installed on a device when you download:
-Browser extensions, add-ons, and toolbars from third parties
-Ad-blockers and various video players
-Dangerous packages that are called anti-malware suits or anti-virus solutions that are, in fact, malicious. These kinds of packages usually come packed with certain types of malicious files called scareware.
Sometimes, all it takes to get infected by spyware is to visit a contaminated web site with malicious content.
When you see browser pop-ups, read them carefully. Plus, never click “Yes” or “Ok” when dealing with sudden prompts on the screen. And if these pop-up messages freeze the browser, don’t hesitate to restart your device.
Phishing and other email or SMS scams
If you see weird and suspicious emails, DM messages, or texts, delete all messages you’ve received and NEVER follow any of the provided links. It is the best way to protect your Android device from spyware.
Phishing and other email or SMS scams involve a cybercriminal impersonating a business or friend to trick their victim into downloading something malicious or revealing personal info.
These types of messages are known as phishing and “lure” naive and inexperienced users into clicking the links and/or downloading attachment files. Mostly, they include payment info (like “you won 5K dollars”, or “you only have five days to pay the taxes”).
What is Stalkerware?
When someone you know installs a spying app on your device without your permission or knowledge, it’s referred to as stalkerware. Stalkerware is a little different than other types of spyware, because it doesn’t send your data to unknown cybercriminals but to someone you know personally. Most of the time, this is simply done by installing the software on to the device physically, thus giving the app all the permissions it needs at the same time. Example, employers illegally monitor their employees’ cell phone activities. Also, parents or spouses may install this hidden spy apps for android on their child’s or partner’s cell phone to track their activities. Stalkerware can be used for blackmail, extortion, or as a tool in domestic violence or abuse. As such, stalkerware is a very dangerous privacy violation.
However, if the phone owner knows how to find hidden spy apps on android, they can detect if someone has installed spyware on their smartphone. Spyware is designed to be invisible, which makes it hard to detect and remove. But there are other telltale signs of infection that will help you locate spyware on Android devices.
How can you find out if your device has hidden spyware?
– Observe if your phone lights up on its own, shuts down automatically or makes strange sounds.
– Many spy apps can drain your battery quite quickly. If you have spy apps on your phone, there is a good chance you won’t be getting the same battery life as before.
– If your phone is suddenly experiencing sub-par battery life for no tangible reason, it could be spyware. If your phone is heating up for no discernible reason when it’s idle, the same rules apply.
– In addition to slowing the shutdown process of your smartphone, spyware can also prevent your device from shutting down or rebooting completely.
– Your phone may unexpectedly reboot or show signs of slowing down.
– Just like a pop up on your computer, a hidden spy app will often send advertisements and push notifications that you cannot cancel or hide.
– Most of us use the internet on a daily basis, and we probably have an idea of how much data we’re using, right? If someone is spying on your phone, you may see your device’s data usage increase. Spyware tools use data to access and send the information they collect from your device. But, if the hackers are using high-quality spy software, it is nearly impossible to notice.
– If you see your device’s screen, hear unexpected noises or sounds and then you don’t see any new notifications on the screen, something could be up.
– Have you either received unexpected messages with weird characters in them, or have your friends or other parties reported receiving weird or offensive messages from your phone? SMS worms spread themselves through the online world by sending text messages with links embedded in them. If the victim taps the link, the worm can infect their smartphone.
– If you notice your smartphone is lagging, performing much worse than usual, or is suddenly running out of resources like memory or storage space, it might be infected with spyware.
– If you have a file manager installed on your phone, look for any suspicious files or folders created on your phone. If you find some new files and folders you know that you didn’t install as part of an app or in any other way, then there’s a chance your phone has tracking or spyware software installed.
Don’t leave your phone unattended around someone you don’t trust, use encryption, protect your device physically. A PIN code, pattern, or enabling biometrics can protect your mobile device from future tampering.
Remember to change your passwords frequently. Rooted phones are more susceptible to malware.
What should you do if you find out someone is spying on you?
– Switch to safe mode. This will limit the malicious app(s) from damaging the OS. And Check your applications:
– Go to your smartphone settings.
– Click on “Applications”.
– Click the three vertical dots on the top right.
– Click “show system apps” to view all of your smartphone’s applications.
– See if there are any apps you’re unaware of.
– Resetting your cell phone to its factory settings or software repair will delete all third-party apps. which means any spy software will be removed as well.
– You shouldn’t just go to the Google Play Store and download any old antivirus app. There are many fake apps out there that are actually malware in disguise. You need to make sure you use a legitimate antivirus app from a reputable developer.
This content was originally published here.