Your iPhone contains a lot of information and because most of this data tends to be in the form of sensitive personal data, it is not uncommon to worry about the safety of the device.
Anyone with enough influence to monitor your iPhone can have access to a lot of data about you including all your personal details, your physical location, and even your photos and videos.
If you think that your iPhone is being monitored, it may be a good idea to try to find out once and for all so you can take steps to bolster the security of your data.
Let’s start with the common signs you will see if the device has been hacked.
Signs Your iPhone is Probably Hacked
6 signs may indicate that your device has been hacked. They include the following;
The Battery Doesn’t Last Long
You should expect some form of battery wear and tear as the device gets older, but if you find that the battery on your relatively new iPhone is draining too soon, this could indicate a problem.
Your battery draining too soon indicates that there is some activity running in the background as you use your iPhone. You may have left too many apps running in the background, but it also points to a device that may have been hacked.
More Data Are Used
If you find that you keep getting data limit warnings, or that you are hitting your limit when you never did before, this could be a sign that there is a problem with your iPhone.
Hidden software on the device could be connecting to the internet to send information to third parties, which is why you see a spike in the amount of data you are spending.
Your iPhone Has Been Jailbroken
While this may seem unlikely unless someone else has access to your device, a jailbroken device (if you didn’t do it yourself) could indicate a hacked device.
If you find strange apps on your device (like Cydia), then the device has likely been jailbroken, a sure sign that it may have been hacked.
But installing Cydia on your device means that someone else had to have physical access to the device. So, if you didn’t do it yourself, try to figure out when it may have happened and you should be able to find your culprit.
Jailbreaking an iOS device can open it up to hacking in various ways with the hackers having unprecedented access to the device, allowing them to monitor it remotely.
It is worth noting that sometimes the hackers will hide the jailbreaking apps and you may have no way of knowing that your device has been jailbroken.
Enterprise or Developer Apps Installed on the Device
Apple allows iOS devices to use developer beta versions of software or MDM software. This can be useful if you want to be among the first to test a certain app or if you work for a company that uses an internal app for business purposes.
But hackers have been known to install these developer apps on iOS devices as a way of getting access to the device’s data.
Therefore, if you see apps on your iPhone that you don’t remember installing or that don’t seem to have a purpose, your device may have been hacked.
Background Noise and Interference
While it is normal to get some interference while on a phone call, unusual sounds like clicks, echoes, and static could be signs that your device has been hacked.
This form of interference may indicate that someone else is listening in on your calls.
How Can the iPhone be Hacked?
All iOS devices have a level of security that may not be accessible on any other type of device. But this doesn’t mean that iOS devices are completely secure.
There are some things that may get through this security, including the following:
Jailbreaking your iOS device may help you install apps that may not be available on the App Store, but these apps may also be malicious and only there to siphon off your data.
Clicking on phishing links that you may get on iMessage or email from anonymous individuals can compromise your device in various ways.
This is one of the most common ways that hackers get access to your device and its data.
Apps from Unknown Sources
All the apps that you see on the App Store have been tested extensively to ensure that they are not harmful to your device in any way.
It is also not possible to download apps onto your device from any other source unless you jailbreak your device.
This means that the chance the apps on your device could be compromised is reduced significantly. But the fact that you can still get apps from other sources (if your device is jailbroken) means that the risk is not eliminated.
One of the most common types of apps that have been known to be malicious in this way is third-party keyboards, particularly if you give them full access to your iPhone’s security.
Using Pubic Wi-Fi and Charging Stations
Using public charging, particularly if your iPhone is unlocked is one of the ways that you can expose the device to hackers. The same is true of connecting your device to a public Wi-Fi network.
You should try to avoid public Wi-Fi as much as you can and if you must charge your phone, make sure your device is locked before connecting it to an untrusted public charging station.
Visiting malicious websites and clicking on any links within the websites is one way to expose your device to various security and privacy issues.
You should particularly avoid clicking on buttons that seem camouflaged or websites that seem to open popup tabs when you click on any buttons.
These popups install profiles on your device that may give anyone access to your device and its personal data. And since they remain completely hidden on the device, it is almost impossible to know they are there.
How to Prevent Your iPhone from Hacking
With so many risks, it can be difficult to know what you can do to prevent your device from falling victim to hackers. The following is a good place to start;
Install Updates Frequently
Updates, particularly iOS updates are more than just for introducing new features, updates also fix any security vulnerabilities that may be on your iPhone.
It is therefore very important to always install any updates as they may be the only thing standing between you and a hacker.
Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Another way to ensure the safety of your device is to set up two-factor authentication. Doing so will protect all your Apple and iCloud accounts from unauthorized users.
Using this biometric security option is the most secure way that you can choose.
Avoid Using Public Wi-Fi Network
If you can avoid it, it may be a good idea not to use public Wi-Fi at all. But when you need to, always use a VPN to protect your device from vulnerabilities that may be introduced by the public Wi-Fi.
Strengthen Your Password
Ensure that any passwords you use are the strongest you can make them. Use a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters in your passwords.
It is also important to make sure that the password you use for your Apple ID contains at least 12 characters.
Avoid Sharing your Personal Information
Whenever a website or service requests any kind of personal information, investigate the request before providing any information to confirm the legitimacy of its request.
Set up a Passcode
Setting up a passcode is a good way to make sure that no one but you will have access to your device. This makes it impossible for someone else to install any nefarious software onto your device.
Follow these steps to set up your passcode:
- Step 1: Open the Settings.
- Step 2: Tap “Touch ID & Passcode”.
- Step 3: Turn on “Passcode”.
- Step 4: Tap on “Passcode Options” and choose “Create a Custom Alphanumeric/Numeric Code”.
Set up Find My iPhone
Find my iPhone will help you locate your device if you ever lose it. It also activates iCloud Activation Lock, meaning that anyone else will not be able to use your device even if you lose it.
Here’s how to set up Find my iPhone:
- Step 1: Open the Settings and tap on your name at the top.
- Step 2: Tap “Find My”.
- Step 3: Tap “Find my iPhone” and then turn on the switch next to it to activate it.
- Step 4: If you would like to see your iPhone even when it is offline, turn on “Find My Network”.
- Step 5: If you would like to send your phone’s last location to Apple when the battery is low, turn on “Send Last Location”.
Turn Off Bluetooth When Not in Use
Hackers may also be able to use the Bluetooth devices you’ve connected to before to gain access to your device.
So, it may be a good idea to turn off Bluetooth when you’re not using it. Use these steps to turn off Bluetooth:
Step 1: Go to Settings.
Step 2: Tap on “Bluetooth” and tap on the switch next to it to turn it off.
How to Respond to a Hack
It may be difficult to figure out exactly what hackers used to gain access to your device.
But the following tips should be able to help you remedy the situation if you think that your device has been hacked:
- If you think that Wi-Fi is to blame, disconnect from the network and forget it.
- If a URL you clicked on may be to blame, remove anything that you may have downloaded after clicking on that URL.
- If an app is to blame, the best course of action is to uninstall and delete the app from your iPhone and then update the iPhone.
- If your Apple ID or iCloud account is compromised, you need to contact Apple directly using a different device or visit an Apple Store.
Your iOS device gives you access to a lot of information and data and in so doing may make your own personal data vulnerable to hackers who may know how to manipulate the system better than you.
To avoid falling victim to these nefarious characters, avoid clicking on links from unverified sources, protect your device using strong passwords and passcode, and do not offer personal information to any website or service unless you can verify that their request is legitimate. Do this and you will be better placed to protect your device.