How to find secretly installed tracking apps on your phone

In today’s increasingly digital and connected world, looking after your privacy and personal data has never been so important. Tracking apps and spyware can be an unpleasant invasion of your privacy – capturing data on your device, accessing text messages and phone calls, and even monitoring your phone’s location in real-time.

Unfortunately, this kind of spyware can sometimes be installed onto a person’s phone without their knowing. In this article, we’ll take you through how to detect malware on iPhone and Android, how to remove mobile trackers and spyware from your phone, and how to stop someone from tracking your phone in the first place.

How does mobile tracking and spyware work?

Spyware and mobile tracking malware typically infiltrate a mobile device by installing software onto the device physically in order to give the app access to all the permissions it needs to run.

There are also remote methods of installation that don’t require physical access. These will typically employ the same tactics as cybercriminals, such as a malicious link or email attachment.

How do I know if someone is tracking my phone?

There are a few ways you can tell if your phone is being tracked or has spyware installed:

  • Your phone’s battery is dying more quickly than usual
  • Your phone’s screen lights up for no reason
  • Your phone is randomly restarting or shutting down
  • Your phone’s performance is slower than usual
  • Your phone bill is higher than usual due to greater data usage
  • There are jailbreaking apps on your phone (for example, Cydia, Icy, Installer, Installous, SBSettings are some of the most common jailbreaking apps)
  • You start receiving strange text messages from an unknown number (they might be ‘instruction’ messages sent by the remote controller of the tracking software)
  • You hear a strange background noise when on a call
  • There are strange files, often with suspicious names (names like ‘stealth’, ‘spy’ and ‘mobilespy’ in them) in your phone’s folder and directories – you can use a file explorer app like ES File Explorer to check this.

How can I prevent someone tracking my phone?

Because installing most tracking apps and spyware requires physical access to your phone, the best way to prevent unauthorised installation is to keep your phone secure. Since you can’t quite take your phone everywhere with you – we’ve all got to sleep and shower some time – be sure to also set a PIN on your phone that isn’t too easy to guess, Further, install anti-theft mobile security software with handy features like app control and remote locking. ESET offers a mobile security package for Android – by far the more susceptible platform to malware and tracking apps.

To stop remote hacking from occurring, a strong security app like ESET Smart Security Premium will help to block any unwanted access across a range of mobile devices. Only install legitimate apps you know and trust, and be sure to keep your device’s operating system up to date in order to get access to the latest security updates.

Don’t jailbreak your iPhone, as this reduces the security of your device and makes it more vulnerable to cyberthreats. Finally, if you think your device has been breached, reset your phone completely by restoring factory settings. Just remember to back up any on-device data you want to save before doing so.

Everyone has the right to the privacy and protection of their mobile data and personal location. These tips from ESET are a great way to stay protected against

unwanted mobile tracking and spyware and unmask potentially unwanted applications. 

For further support in your mobile security, visit ESET today!

Reckoner had its humble beginnings way back in June of 2013.

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