Currently, it is possible to hack an Android smartphone as long as certain conditions are met, and in most cases, there is no major or clear evidence to determine whether the user is under attack or not. In this note, we show you the little details that you should pay attention to and the type of measures that can be taken to be safer.
Activation The Google Play for protection
One of the first steps is to use an Applications The one being used for spying is asking the user to deactivate any kind of protection Device. On Android, this is synonymous with Google Play Protect, the pre-installed default protection on most Android devices. Many spy apps require that Play Protect be disabled
Google Play Protect detects many of these apps as malicious, so it prevents them from working and in some cases you can uninstall them yourself. If you suspect that your smartphone has been tampered with, it is best to check that Google Play Protect has been activated.
To do this, you have to open the Google Play side menu and choose Play Protect. If it is disabled, a red icon appears. Tap on it and check search device security threats to activate Google Play Protect.
If Play Protect is deactivated, it is better to go back to the previous screen and force analyze installed apps to detect a potential spy app. To do this, press the Resume Scan button.
Then two things can happen: Play Protect says everything is correct, or it detects the malicious app and asks you to uninstall it. If this is your case, read on to find out what other actions you can take.
See your installed apps
Hackers often use phishing techniques to trick a user into asking them to install a malicious application, or when a spy has physical access to the device to perform the installation.
The developers of this type of application know that if the application is called Total Spy Monitor or Hacking Control Panel, the user can unintentionally discover them, so they use names and icons to make them look like boring system icons, like “Sync Services” or “System Service”. You have to watch out for these types of apps that are not what they seem.
In the Android settings, you have to go to Applications and review the list. In this step, the user will have to be patient and review all the apps on the list that he installed one by one on his initiative. Spy apps generally disappear with boring, generic names, usually in English.
However, the list also shows which system apps have been updated. When in doubt, tap on an app to see its information. System apps (only their updates) cannot be uninstalled, while apps that pretend to be from the system can.
A good way is to find out where the app is installed from, whether it’s from Google Play or from the APK (the .apk file is a package for the Android OS). Since spy apps are not allowed on Google Play, they will generally be installed outside of the store. To view it, tap on its name in the list of apps and look for app details under info.
Check which apps are consuming the most battery power
These are data that clearly indicate that something is abnormal in the operation of the device, especially those applications that take photos or videos of the user or record their location using GPS.
To check this, the user should go to battery usage. The location of this list changes frequently from device to device, which makes it easier to use the search engine.
Again, pay attention to the details as malicious apps often hide their name and icon. For example, if it says “Android System,” don’t ignore it and check if he’s the one it claims to be. You can quickly tell if it’s a strange app since system apps cannot be uninstalled.
In addition to wasting battery, spying requires a heavy use of data, especially if it takes photos with the device’s camera without your permission or receives files in the gallery.
To check this, you have to go to Android Settings and enter data usage, it is usually hidden inside the Connections and Network section. Check the apps that use the most data for a suspect you don’t know.
If the spying app is smart enough, it will likely wait until a Wi-Fi connection is available to sync the data thus not arousing suspicion. While some devices allow you to view data usage including Wi-Fi connections, others have no option.
If you receive SMS text messages, emails about verification codes, or requests for a new password, that is good reason to suspect. It is possible that someone has your credentials to access some services and the system sends you an email or asks you to enter a verification code. Most services notify you if someone attempts to log into your account.
Top accounts like Google, Facebook, or Twitter notify you via email of a suspicious sign-in attempt. Although it may be an ignorant person who mistyped their phone number, email, or account, it is also possible that someone was trying to impersonate you, especially if this happens frequently.
What to do if they are spying on your mobile phone
Safe Mode is the best ally. Restart the device in safe mode. This disables all third-party apps and will almost certainly prevent spyware from moving forward. The exception would be if the tool gained root access and modified the system from within, although this is not uncommon. You can check whether your mobile phone is equipped with apps like Root Checker.
The idea is to use safe mode to avoid spying and uninstall the respective apps. If you are not sure, you can always go back to the device’s factory settings to make sure there is no trace.
Another step to be quieter is to change the passwords for all accounts on the device. The most important is a Google account, but you should do the same with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more. Banking app credentials are especially important.
To avoid similar situations in the future, it is best to take maximum security measures and activate two-step verification in all possible services, and if possible not by SMS code, but with specific applications or through notifications. This way, even if an anonymous person can get a personal password, they will not be able to log into the accounts without your knowledge.