Spyware is an application that allows a hacker to remotely access information on a computing device such as a smartphone. Finding spyware on your phone can be challenging because it’s specifically designed to remain undetected, although there are signs that can indicate that your phone is infected with spyware. Once detected, you’ll need to remove the spyware as quickly as possible to avoid further disclosure of your personal information. Prevention is also a key aspect of dealing with spyware.
Spyware must access your data to be effective, often each time you make a call or send a message. Checking your data usage is therefore one of the most effective ways to detect spyware. If your data usage increases and your phone activity hasn’t changed, you should consider the possibility that you have spyware.
A phone that stays warm even when you aren’t using is a strong indication that an app is running in the background. Spyware almost always runs in the background to avoid detection, so you need to identify the background app to determine if it’s one you expect. Unexpected noises during a call are another sign that spyware is running, especially those that monitor calls.
An iPhone with the Cydia app installed could also indicate spyware if you haven’t performed a jailbreak. This third-party app allows you to download jailbreak apps, but hackers can also use it to install spyware on your phone. Cydia can be hidden, making it difficult to detect by direct observation. However, you can find it by entering “4433*29342” into the spotlight search on your iPhone.
The most effective method of removing spyware from your phone is to install anti-spyware software on it. These programs scan your phone for the signature of known spyware as well as apps that behave like spyware without leaving a known signature. The anti-spyware then asks if you want to delete the apps it has identified as spyware. Many anti-spyware apps can detect and delete spyware, although their efficiency can vary greatly.
Updating your operating system (OS) is another good way to get rid of spyware, especially when Cydia is on your device and you haven’t jailbroken your phone. This method works because OS updates often include security patches that remove spyware. You can update iOS on your iPhone by going to Settings > General > Software Update and tapping “Download and Install.”
Restoring iTunes can also remove spyware that copies music files to a hacker’s own device. This method restores iTunes to its original state, which deletes additional files like spyware. However, it also removes any files that you have added, so you should backup your iTunes directory before attempting this method. Bear in mind that the spyware could exist on your backup, so you should use caution when restoring files.
Remaining vigilant is the best way of preventing your phone from getting infected with spyware. In particular, you should avoid clicking on links in emails from people you don’t know.