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Have I Been Hacked? Signs and Tips to Prevent Account Compromise

Cyber-attacks are continuously on the rise. And you increase your risk for cyber-attacks and security breaches if you’re not careful when doing activities on your mobile device.

Are your mobile devices sufficiently protected? Because your digital footprint holds a lot of information, you need to take extra precautions so that cybercriminals won’t be able to tamper with your files and steal your personal information. In this article, know the signs of phone and email compromise and what you can do to avoid it.

6 Warning Signs That Your Phone Has Been Compromised

Some of the most important things about our lives are stored in our phones―photos, videos, phone numbers, financial information, and other personal data. Once your phone falls into the wrong hands or gets hacked, criminals can infect it with malware, steal your data, and even transact on your behalf. Here are some signs that your phone has been compromised. 

Your phone battery drains quicker than usual.

If you always use your phone to make video calls, listen to music, or watch videos, it’s normal for the phone battery to drain quite quickly. However, if your phone battery is draining faster than usual without you doing anything, it can be because of malware.

Malware (malicious software) is designed to wreak havoc on a device, server, or network. It can also use up your battery while running in the background and capturing and monitoring your phone activities.

You have apps you don’t remember installing.

The pre-installed apps are okay because they came with the phone when you first bought it at the store. However, if you have unexplained apps on your device that you don’t remember purchasing or downloading, it can be a sign that your phone has been infected with malware.

When malware enters your device, it will plant traps in the form of apps, extensions, and plug-ins that you never installed. These will attempt to expose and steal your sensitive information.

Your data usage increases inexplicably.

You probably know how much data you consume when you’re not connected to your home or office Wi-Fi network. If there’s a spike in your data usage that’s not normal, this can be because hackers are running apps in the background to capture your phone activities. 

There are way too many pop-ups.

Notice too many pop-ups that don’t go away while browsing the internet? Like alerts that a virus has infected your phone or that your bank is closing your account unless you do something about it right now? It’s a sign that your device has malware. Never click on these pop-up ads or download anything that it asks you to, no matter how seemingly irresistible the offer is.

Your phone settings keep changing.

You’ll notice changes to your web browsers and search engines when your device has been compromised. There may also be Chrome extensions that keep coming back or have been installed without your permission. Also, when you’re browsing the internet, you keep getting directed to unfamiliar pages with a lot of suspicious-looking pop-ups.

Your device is slower or constantly crashes.

Another sign to watch out for is sluggish device performance.  It can be a sign of malware when it’s slower than usual, keeps crashing, or stops responding altogether. Malware consumes a lot of memory, causing legit apps to work with limited resources. This results to slow performance and inconvenient disruptions. 

You can no longer sign into your email and messaging account.

If you log in to your email or messaging account and it doesn’t work, then it’s likely that someone else has changed it. Once criminals have gained access to your email and messaging account, they usually change the password to prevent you from logging in. They do this to receive your one-time passwords (OTP).

Tips to Avoid Compromising Your Mobile Devices

Nobody is immune to cybercriminals. But you can take steps to protect yourself and prevent your devices from being compromised. Stay safe by following these tips.

Never provide One-Time Passwords (OTP) you receive

Whenever you receive an OTP, do not divulge this information to anyone. If you receive an OTP that you did not initiate, please immediately report it to your bank or messaging platform.

Avoid downloading apps from third-party app stores.

You usually explore third-party app alternatives when you really want an app that’s not available in the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. Although there are legit third-party app stores, there are also unauthorized ones selling unrecognized or unreliable apps that can harm your device.

So whenever you’re downloading a new app (even if they’re native apps), always read the reviews, terms and conditions, and app permissions first. This way, you’ll know which information the app requests access to (like the camera, calendar, contacts, etc.).

Never jailbreak/root your device.

When you jailbreak/root your phone or tablet, you expose your device to security holes in its operating system. And when cybercriminals find this security hole, they can easily take control of the operating system. In short, jailbroken/rooted phones and tablets are more unstable and vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

Update your Operating System (OS) regularly.

Don’t ignore those notifications about upcoming OS updates. As soon as they’re available for download and installation, update your device to ensure that critical security patches and updates are in place. These updates also provide bug and security hole fixes and clean up anything outdated, causing your device to be slow.

Secure your browser security settings.

Your browser’s security settings determine the websites you visit and prevent you from going to potentially risky sites. Potential phishing sites will be automatically blocked when you have browser security settings.

Observe safe email protocol.

If it’s an email from someone you don’t know or if it’s a fishy-looking email, don’t open or download any attachments as they may contain viruses. Mark the message as spam and then delete it. For this, use a spam filter to eliminate junk emails automatically.

Moreover, when sending emails, don’t put your sensitive information like passwords, credit card numbers, or bank account numbers. You don’t know where your email will be forwarded or who’s taking a screenshot of your information.

Periodically check if there are settings changes like forwarding rules, filters, recovery phone, or email in your account if provided by your email service. Hackers often change these for them to observe you and how best to defraud you.

Avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi.

When you connect to open Wi-Fi, you’re also increasing your risk of being found by hackers. If you’re logging in to emails, social media accounts, or mobile banking apps, use your mobile data or home Wi-Fi network instead. But if you really need to use a public Wi-Fi connection, don’t sign in to your accounts where you store sensitive information.

Safe Banking Transactions with RCBC on Your Device

Remember that the data stored on your devices is worth more than the device itself. With cybercriminals growing more sophisticated, potential security threats are everywhere.

Aside from being hyper-vigilant about mobile security, you must also use mobile apps with advanced security features. With the RCBC app, do digital banking easily and securely with its enhanced security features such as face and touch ID login, one-time password validation, and card lock and unlock. Enjoy the benefits of convenient banking using a secure platform and the reassurance that only you can access your accounts through your own devices.

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