Our phones give us instantaneous access to limitless information. But sometimes that means others will have access to you. Your phone is the perfect access point for anyone looking to steal your information, or worse, spy on you. Smartphones have greatly changed the way live. They’ve also made us easy targets by consolidating so much of our daily business and communication to one device. Someone could access your phone’s data if they had the right tools. You’ve come to the right place if you want to catch someone monitoring your phone. You’ll learn how to tell if your phone is being monitored, and what you can do about it.
What Are Phone Monitoring Apps?
Cell phone monitoring programs allow remote access to a target device. This software makes most of the important data readily accessible including text messages, call logs, pictures, social media, and GPS location. They are useful tools for anyone who needs remotely controlled access to a device, but, like any tool, it has the potential to be mishandled. This technology is often used by parents as a way of keeping tabs on their child’s devices.
Getting issued a phone or a smart device at work is very common. Employers often use monitoring software as a way to keep track of company owned electronic devices. They are also popular for their ability to save and backup data.
GPS stands for global positioning system. It’s GPS trackers that can pinpoint your location anywhere on the globe. Your device pings a satellite and gives your precise location. Tracking apps, like Google Maps, tap into your phone’s built in GPS capability. Phone Monitoring apps track a device’s real time location by doing the same thing.
Are They Recording Me?
While your phone could easily function as a listening device, recording a phone call (phone tapping) is highly illegal. Because of this, most spy apps don’t include a call recording feature. While that doesn’t mean for sure that someone isn’t listening in, it means they would have to go beyond simply purchasing phone monitoring software.
What Are KeyLoggers?
A keylogger is a device or program that logs keystrokes. If a keylogger is present on your device, anything you type into it will be made visible. They are used by hackers to record passwords to your sensitive information. Keyloggers can either be hardware or software. Physical keyloggers are placed in between your keyboard and computer’s USB ports. These only work with desktops however. Keylogging software is used to record cell phones. Monitoring software will typically include keylogging capabilities.
Signs Your Phone Is Being Monitored
The presence of tracking software will eventually affect the performance of the phone. Keep an eye out for these indicators that your phone is being monitored.
- Short Battery Life: Monitoring software will run your battery down due to the extra activity on the phone. If you find you’re having to plug in more often, it may be due to a tracking app.
- It’s Constantly Hot: The extra data usage will heat up the phone. This is a strong sign.
- Phone stays lit when locked: If you notice your phone does not want to lock properly, this could be an indicator of monitoring software.
- Slow run speed: The extra activity creates a drag on the phone’s performance. If it takes longer than normal to do simple tasks, something may be up.
- Long shutdown time: You’ll notice your phone taking much longer than normal to shutdown if monitoring software is present.
- Excess data charges: If your bill is higher than normal, you can thank all the extra data the monitoring program is eating up.
- Text messages in code from unfamiliar numbers: Getting weird text messages that look like coding are a strong indicator you have spy software. The texts are your phone intercepting the communication between your phone and monitoring app user.
- Strange background noise when making a call: Similar to the texts, if you hear strange noises during phone calls, it could be due to the monitoring program.
Jailbreaking means that the factory settings on the device have been manipulated to allow access beyond what the designers intended for. It’s the only way to delete (usually) permanent apps like Camera, or Safari. It allows spy software to access usually restricted parts of a phone’s operating system. It means you can install apps on your phone that only become available once it’s jailbroken. Search for a program called Cydia. It’s present on nearly all jailbroken phones.
How To Prevent Phone Monitoring
Now that you know how to tell if your phone is being monitored, let’s talk about how you can prevent it.
- Always keep track of your phone. Physical access is sometimes needed to install monitoring software. Try to keep your phone on you whenever you can to prevent others from tampering with it.
- Keep the operating software up-to-date. We tend to put off those updates. Take a few minutes and just do it. The benefit is worth the time.
- Use anti-malware apps. There is a variety of anti-malware available that can help keep your phone safe.
- Delete suspicious files. Monitoring apps often aren’t subtle and the word “spy”, “tracking”, or “monitor” may show up.
If all else fails, you can always perform a factory reset. This reverts the phone back to its original factory settings, deleting malware and undoing any jailbreaking in the process. This method will guarantee that you’ve deleted monitoring software from your phone. However, it will also delete all of your data. Be sure to back up all the files that you don’t want to lose.
Android Factory Reset
- Open Settings.
- Tap System,
- Then Advanced
- If you don’t see “Advanced,” tap Reset options.
- Tap Erase all data (factory reset).
- Reset phone (enter your PIN, pattern, or password).
- Tap Erase everything to completely erase internal data.
- Restart Phone.
- Set up your device and restore your (backed-up) data.
iOS Factory Reset
- Go to Settings.
- Tap General.
- Click Reset, at the bottom of the page.
- Tap Erase All Content and Settings for a full factory reset.
- Enter your passcode.
- Tap Erase.
Follow these steps on your Android or iOS device to perform a hard reset. Remember that this will delete ALL of your phone’s data. Make sure you’ve backed up your files before you follow through. Once the factory reset is done, you can be sure that any monitoring program has been wiped from your device.
Your privacy will be safer now that you know how to catch someone monitoring your phone. Smartphones are precious commodities that store a lot of our important personal and financial information. You owe it to yourself to take precautions to prevent phone monitoring. Keep your eyes open for signs someone might be trying to remotely access your phone.
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