If what we wrote about the warning signs your phone might be spying on you got your attention, buckle up because there’s more that ConsumerAffairs uncovered thanks to experts from VPNOverview. Spoiler alert: one may be your spouse.
6. Unfamiliar apps in your app list
In and amongst your WhatsApp, Words With Friends, and all the other apps that suck up your time, the VPNOverview analysts said that some viruses and spyware could be hidden alongside your legitimate apps.
“It is good practice to regularly go through your installed apps and check for any apps you do not recognize or don’t know the function of,” the analysts said, suggesting that people uninstall these apps by going to the settings on their phone and locating their apps list.
Here’s how to do that on an iPhone and how to do it on an Android device.
7. Battery draining fast
Battery sluggishness comes from one of two things: the age of the device or it is using a lot of resources that require a lot of energy. In the latter case, this could be caused by a legitimate app like Spotify, Snapchat, or Tinder consuming too many resources or something more sinister, like spyware.
To rule out the possibility of a hacker spying on your phone, VPNConnect experts suggest replacing the phone’s battery by a suitable technician or by yourself if you think your tech wizardry is up to snuff. “If your battery life hasn’t improved, this could be due to spyware executing various tasks on your phone,” they said.
8. Taking a long time to shut down
If your phone takes a long time to shut down, again another sign that it may be contaminated with spyware. The reason is that the spyware rats are running constantly in the background sucking up all the data they can find and uploading it to third parties.
9. Weird sounds during phone calls
Is your phone making weird noises? Hmm, could be another warning sign that you’re being snooped on.
“Phone tapping is perhaps one of the most well-known indicators that your phone is being monitored as many movies and TV shows portray this form of hacking,” VPNConnect’s team said.
Spyware can be used to eavesdrop on your phone calls, and it frequently makes beeping and flashing sounds while doing so. These sounds should not be dismissed as they could be a warning sign of spyware.
10. Signs of activity in standby mode
“Suppose your phone begins to light up or make unusual noises when in standby mode; your phone could be infected with spyware,” the analysts suggested. “If these noises and flashing lights are not due to notifications of calls, texts, emails, or any other familiar activity, you should check to see if there are any legitimate apps that are malfunctioning or restart your phone.”
And, about your spouse stalking you…
The last reason anyone wants to hear that their phone is slowing down is that their spouse is dogging their every move. Suspecting spouses are starting to get stealthy and the weapon of choice for many is “stalkerware.”
Stalkerware comes dolled up in all forms – looking like calculators, child monitors, accessibility, etc. apps – all running in the background with no one the wiser.
Well, no one except the scorned spouse. Anyone who downloads these apps probably knows the real purpose and uses those apps to record every keystroke, web search, geolocation, text message, photo, voice call, and more.
“Believe it or not, there are many apps that have been designed to spy on people that can be downloaded in the app store or on Google Play today,” VPNConnect’s analysts said.
Here’s a quick video from the Coalition Against Stalkerware explaining how stalkerware does its thing:
If you have a sinking feeling that stalkerware is on your phone, the Coalition offers tips you can refer to, as does Cornell’s Clinic to End Tech Abuse (CETA) with a checklist of preventative measures you can take.