Is your iPhone hacked?
Sure, the iPhone is one of the most secure smartphones out there. However, it doesn’t matter how many security features and processes Apple puts in place if a user decides to swing the proverbial doors open and let the hackers come in and ruin everything. Of course, nobody wants to be that guy, but what if you’re already that guy and you just don't know it?
Bad news: there are people out there who develop malware specifically for iPhones. But the good news is you can definitely know when you’ve been targeted by malicious hackers. We’ve written some tips below on how to tell if your iPhone has been hacked, and also some tips on what you need to do to keep it secure.
“Is My iPhone Hacked?”
First thing you need to know is that there’s not going to be any flashy warnings cropping up on your screen notifying you that your iPhone has, indeed, been hacked. Like a physician, you have to “feel the pulse” of your iPhone by checking if it’s experiencing one or a few of these symptoms.
- Your Data Has Been Leaked or Breached. You somehow discover that files on your phone have found their way to the internet or to other people without your consent.
- You’re Getting/Sending Strange Messages. Your iMessage or SMS app of choice seems to be getting strange messages, or sending them out without your knowledge.
- Your Emails are Registering as Spam. You discover that emails you’ve sent from your device are registered as spam.
- Additional Charges on Your Data Plan or SMS Credit. You have unexpectedly higher bills on your postpaid, or you’ve burned rather quickly through your prepaid text credits.
- Your Calls Keep Getting Dropped. You’re experiencing frequent service disruptions, including dropped calls and strange noises on the background during calls. You might also find yourself unable to call or text despite having good signal strength.
- Your iPhone is Slower Overall. You find your iPhone slower to perform or connect to the web than usual. Malware in the background tend to use up both hardware and network resources.
- Your Device Generates More Heat. As a consequence of the previous bullet point, your device may be a tad hotter than usual.
- Your Battery Seems to Run Out a Lot Faster. Your battery is draining very quickly, even when you’re not using any performance-heavy apps.
- There are Apps on Your Device that You Didn’t Install. You find strange, unfamiliar apps on iPhone that you didn’t install. NOTE: before you uninstall—if you decide to uninstall—make sure that the app you’re targeting isn’t a system app.
- Some of Your Regular Apps are Misbehaving. You discover that some of your apps aren’t loading properly, which might be malware impeding its operation.
- Strange Pop-Ups on Your Screen. Pop-ups keep appearing on your screen when you perform certain actions.
Feeling paranoid yet? Just a reminder, though: if you’re experiencing one or a few of these symptoms in tandem, don’t just jump to the conclusion that you’ve been hacked. There might be another cause, like, say, older iPhones tend to overheat when using newer, graphics-intensive apps, or it might be that your battery’s draining quickly healthy because it’s in bad need of a replacement. In any case, it’s prudent to say you’re iPhone’s been hacked only after you’ve eliminated every alternative explanation for the problems you’ve been having.
How to Make your iPhone Hacker-Proof
Okay, so you iPhone is safe—for now. But we’ve also established that your iPhone isn’t invulnerable from malware or hackers that will go to great lengths to steal information from you, so you need to learn how to protect yourself and spare yourself the trouble of being hacked. You can do that by following these key but simple rules:
Rule #1 DO NOT Jailbreak your iPhone
Jailbreaking your iPhone does afford you more control over your apps and user experience, but it also eliminates a great amount of the security features Apple has put in place. If you want to keep your iPhone and privacy safe, we highly recommend that you do not jailbreak your iPhone.
Rule #2 Be Vigilant when on Public Wi-Fi
While free Wi-Fi is always a great way to save up on your data, it can also leave your iPhone vulnerable to the prying eyes of hackers. As a rule, do not access sites that contain sensitive info (like your bank) on public Wi-Fi.
Rule #3 Keep Away from Public Chargers
A little known fact to some is that public chargers can be used to download malware into your phone. It’s always safer to charge your iPhone at home or in your car. Better yet, invest on a personal power bank, preferably one you can carry around so you don’t have to worry about losing battery outdoors.
Rule #4 Browse Safely
In these modern times, browsing the internet has become part and parcel of our daily lives. And with internet browsing comes pop-up ads, which, in turn, are a primary source of malware. There’s no real way to avoid these ads, especially if you’re browsing on less-than-reputable sites. So if you don’t know how to deal with them, it’s better to keep away from suspicious sites.
Rule #5 Keep iOS Updated
Like we mentioned earlier, Apple regularly updates the iOS and increases/introduces security measures to keep users safe from new malware and known pathways of hacker entry. For safety reasons, keep your iOS updated to the latest version.
Rule #6 Delete Messages From Unfamiliar People
Malware can come from all sorts of places, and it just so happens that your emails might be one of them. If you have difficulty distinguishing between which mail is spam and which one isn’t, a good rule of thumb would be to not open messages from people you don’t know or haven’t personally subscribed to.
Rule #7 Uninstall Suspicious Apps
If you’re downloading apps from the App Store, you’re good. However, if you are installing apps from unknown or downright disreputable sources—which you can only do from a jailbroken phone—you are in direct danger of installing an app that might download malware into your phone, if it isn’t malware itself. If you have downloaded apps that you think are suspicious one way or another, it might be a good idea to remove that app as quickly as possible to prevent or mitigate further leaks and security breaches.