It’s not unusual to hear about someone’s computer camera being hacked; there’s a reason why so many people decide to cover their cams for most of the time. And because of the fear of hackers spying on us through our computers, more and more users wonder what they can do to secure their phones as well.
Not everyone realizes that smartphones also get hacked. But this is very much the case, especially in today’s world, when we have all our devices and personal accounts connected through clouds and networks. The issue even has a name right now: camfecting.
If you look for a new phone, you want it to be functional, dependable, and affordable. You can browse devices reviewed by Best Budget and tech experts, and when you decide on a specific model, you want to be sure that you will be satisfied and safe while using it – safe also from hackers.
How Can a Phone Camera Be Hacked?
It may sound surprising, or even scary, but there’s actually widely-available and cheap (with some around as little as $30) software specifically-designed for spying on people through their mobile devices. A victim may not even be aware that their smartphone was hacked.
What’s even more worrying is that a hacker doesn’t need to have any advanced skills to spy on other people. Once the spyware is installed on a victim’s device, a hacker only has to follow the producer’s guidelines. You can even read their text messages, Email, Facebook Messenger, Hangouts, Slack and all other messages on any phone, be it Android or iOS, without the knowledge of the target user.
Phones can also be accessed through unsecured networks, public charging stations, phishing texts with malicious links, online viruses, or SIM card swap attacks (a hacker transfers your number to their card and gets access to your accounts).
Depending on the purpose, phone cameras can be hacked in various ways.
- There’s spyware enabling other people to take photos from your phone camera without you knowing. They are automatically uploaded on the desired server or a cloud.
- Similarly, some hackers may hijack your phone to record videos and download them on their devices.
- There’s also spying software for monitoring people and streaming it live.
How to Know Your Phone Is Hacked?
You always need to be wary of anything out of the ordinary, for example:
- it’s not normal to find an app on your phone that you’re sure you didn’t download yourself,
- you probably know to be alarmed if you see something was purchased from your phone, or there’s a message you didn’t send,
- if your device suddenly slows down, or apps start to work worse (or completely stop working), it may mean that its battery life and other resources are being used by malware working in the background,
- you notice that data usage increases though you still use your phone as usual,
- too many popups almost always signify the presence of malware.
When it comes to the camera itself, you may suspect your phone is hacked when:
- you find photos and videos in your gallery that you didn’t take/record,
- your camera’s flash is acting up, turning on and off when you don’t use it,
- as a result of the two previous signs, your phone gets unusually hot.
How to Protect Yourself From Spyware?
The safety measures you should take depend on the device and the operating system you’re using.
For example, Androids are easier to hijack than Apple devices with their closed iOS. However, it still doesn’t require very advanced skills to hack either. Though in many cases, a hacker needs physical access to install the spyware on your phone in the first place, it won’t be enough to simply keep a close eye on it.
It’s a good idea to get anti-malware software and run a detailed scan regularly.
Use a reliable password manager for all your accounts, and don’t store them in your browser. Try not to connect to any public networks, especially if they are not secured. Also, don’t broadcast your personal hotspot if you don’t have to (and it’s best to do it only at home).
For 100% control, high security, and privacy guarantee, you may consider getting VPN services for your mobile device.
When it comes to technology, choosing the strategy according to the saying better safe than sorry is best. Since we have everything on our phones right now (photos, contacts, personal details, bank accounts, and more), it’s better to think about your safety beforehand. Make sure your device is protected, and if you’re not sure you can manage on your own, contact an IT services company in your area. And stay cautious, especially online.