Spywares are programs or apps that keep tabs on what someone is doing be it on their computer or smartphone. Depending on their usage, spyware can be helpful, for example when monitoring your kid’s online habits. But a large percentage of people and cybercriminals use these spy apps for malicious intents such as blackmail, eavesdropping and even stealing confidential information. Latest developments in spyware apps even enable them to fetch details on what someone is doing. For instance, popular spy apps can show social media chats, text messages, call logs, real-time location and even they act as keyloggers.
Detecting spyware on a smartphone is a hard task if you don’t know what to look for. This is because they don’t even show their icons on your launcher. In this article, we’ll show you how to know if you have been bugged and ways in which you can get rid of the apps.
Unusual battery drainage/device getting too hot
A smartphone gets too hot when the battery is being drained or charged at a faster rate than usual. For this case, we’ll stick to battery drainage. Excessive battery drainage happens when you are doing resource-intensive tasks. These include gaming and accessing the internet(e.g., via streaming). But if you notice that your battery is draining drastically/your device and is getting hot even when you are not using it intensively, something is amiss. This could indicate the presence of spy apps.
Spikes in data usage
After keeping tabs on you, spyware sends the information to the command and control server. If this info is large, there will be a spike in your data usage. If you are on a limited plan and you realize you have started to pay for data even when the usual cycle is not over, something fishy might be happening. A combination of battery drainage and a spike in data strongly suggest that there’s spyware in your smartphone.
Unusual phone behavior
This is another indicator that someone could be keeping tabs on you using a spy app. unusual phone behavior when there’s spyware include; the screen randomly lights up even when there’s no notification, your phone restarts unexpectedly, and it takes time to shut down or power on. At times, your device runs slower than usual.
Suspicious sounds and texts
Besides fetching your call logs, spywares are meant to eavesdrop on real-time phone calls and record or tap into your conversations. When this happens, you might hear some crackling, white noise, and even echoes. If these noises persist and your cell provider has no reception problems, it could be spyware.
Apart from suspicious sounds, you may also get strange texts which do not make sense as they contain characters and special symbols. It turns out these texts are commands which are used to enable various functions such as turning on your GPS, your camera, and other intrusive functions. If you are getting these messages from an unknown sender, your smartphone may have spyware.
Getting Rid of Smartphone Spyware
If all the above pointers hold, go to Settings and check all your apps. Be sure to note each app as spyware can masquerade using a legitimate app icon. For instance, if you realize you have two Facebook apps, one of them is the spyware. Proceed to uninstall it. Some spyware may reinstall or even lack the uninstall button. In this case, do a factory reset or update your phone’s software.
After getting rid of the spyware, take measures that ensure you don’t get bugged again. Such measures include setting strong passcodes/passwords, avoiding downloading apps from third-party stores, and also be diligent when granting app permissions.