If you are not a celebrity, a politician, a sports hero, or someone involved in a court case, you do not have anything to worry about your phone being tapped, right? Unfortunately, that is not the case nowadays.
In today’s digital age, smartphones are far more than devices we use to stay connected. They hold our email, contact list, financial information, and other data about your location, schedule, and even random daily activities. But, the problem is that smartphones are vulnerable to tapping. How does phone tapping work, and how to tell if your phone is tapped? If you are not careful, unauthorized parties can tap into your device to listen to your calls, read and send messages, or alter information on your interface.
What is Phone Tapping
Think about what you say over your phone. You may not be a high-profile individual, but identity thieves and hackers are there, biding their time, waiting for their next victim. They could be listening in, hoping to get your financial information—credit card, bank account, etc.
You may be in the middle of a divorce battle, and your ex-partner is looking for information to leverage against you. You may have a thriving business, and competitors want a look into your trade secrets. When you think about it, you will realize that there may possibly be people who would want access to your phone.
If you have a landline, a phone tap works the same way you remember from TV dramas. It is a mechanism that you can see and touch, connected directly to your line, splitting it into two. Mobile phones can be tapped too, and they are usually compromised using spyware installed on your phone, or other specialized hardware and software to listen to your phone conversations.
Wireless devices are also tapped too, and they are usually compromised using spy apps or other specialized hardware and software.
5 Signs Your Phone is Being Tapped
1. Reduced battery performance
Batteries can be a problem, whether or not your phone has been tapped. But, you cannot ignore the possibility of it. A hot and fast-draining battery can be a sign of some malicious software running stealthily in the background. When your phone is not holding a charge, is constantly warm, or consistently runs low on battery even when not in use, you may then have to look out for other indications of a phone tap.
2. Increased mobile data usage
When a mobile phone is tapped, it is recording your activities. It also tends to transmit them to a third party. Some spy apps use your data to send this information, so keep an eye out for any unusual spike in your data usage.
3. Unusual background noise
The clicking sounds, high-pitched humming, pulsating static, distant voices, or other strange background noises heard during voice calls is a sign that you are spied on. Such unusual noises can also crop up even when you’re not on a call. You can use noise detector apps from another device to check for and measure inaudible sounds on a potentially tapped device.
4. Unwanted ads and apps
You can become overly familiar with your device that you forget what apps you have there. But, it’s essential that you know the contents of your phone, particularly the apps running in the background. Keep an eye out for apps that you have not installed and at the same time, be cautious with any apps that request permission to access your call history, contact list, or require your login credentials.
5. Suspicious activities
Is your device lighting up its screen even when not in use? Does it reboot for no reason? Does it install apps automatically? If so, it is possible that someone may have remote access to your device. Other than these, some weird text messages, strange pop-up ads, and general performance issues could also point to the possibility of phone tapping.
How to Check & Prevent Phone Tapping
• Put your device into airplane mode
If you have any reason to think your phone has been tapped—with your device showing the signs listed above—the fastest way to prevent a phone tap is to put your device into airplane mode and turn off mobile data. It will allow you to investigate, look for suspicious apps, and reset your device while stopping any network activity.
• Download apps that will help detect symptoms of a tapped phone
There are also spy bug device detector apps that you can download when you think you are hacked. Some examples are the DontSpy 2 app for iOS and the WireTap Detection app for Android. Meanwhile, apps like My Data Manager from the Play Store and Data Usage from the App Store can help you detect a rogue app that consumes a significant amount of your data.
• Use Android forwarding codes
On an Android device, there is a way to find out whether your data is being transmitted to a third party. Go to your dial screen and type in either of the following USSD codes: *#21*, *#67#, or *#62# and tap the dial. These will direct you to a screen that lists your voice calls, data, SMS, and more. Now, each one should say “not forwarded”. But, if any, say “forwarded” instead without your knowledge. Your device is probably hacked. If that’s the case, type ##002#, and press the dial. It should clear all call forwarding settings on your device.
If your mobile phone has been tapped, then the most obvious reason is that it’s susceptible to attacks. No matter what device you use, you must take extra precautions to prevent taps. Create strong passwords for your phone emails and update them at least once every two months.
Be careful when allowing someone to use your phone or to sync their device with yours. Use encryption software to make your VoIP calls secure. Lastly, download apps wisely. Check app reviews first and download only from the Play Store or App Store.
For peace of mind, you may also want to have a professional check your phone for possible security breaches. For more online personal information security tips, visit CellularNews.com.