How to tell if Your Cell Phone is Being Tracked, Tapped or Monitored

Counter Surveillance

As technology advances, a lot of things become easier to achieve using our mobile devices. We can communicate over long distances, surf thousands of web pages at lightning speed, have visual interactions with people that are hundreds of miles away, et cetera.

On the other side of the coin, it is also a lot easier to commit crimes and spy on people using cell phones. The latter is the topic we hope to shed some light on. So, how to tell if your cell phone is being tracked, tapped or monitored by some third party? Let help!

Why Would People Want to Spy on You?

There are more than a few reasons why someone would want to spy on you. The primary goal of spying is, after all, to obtain information from you using your cell phone as an entry point. The motive could be political, business-related, financial, personal or even malicious. It could even be inspired by an ongoing court case. Or maybe your spouse monitoring your activities?

How do People Install Spyware on Cell Phones?

As someone who has never been spied on, having spyware installed on your cell phone is the last you would expect to happen when you take it for repairs. It is, however, one of the places where your cell phone is the most vulnerable to bugging. Other popular spying methods involve the use of backdoor applications or professional spy software with various levels of stealth that determine how easy they are to detect on your cell phone. There are various spying applications available even for general public, so do not get shocked if you will find your phone bugged. It does not need to be done by NSA, it could be done by even your best friend who is not technical person at all.

The spyware industry is actually a legit industry that seems to be thriving in the wake of numerous laws that permit institutions and government agencies to spy on cell phones.

Alarming sings that your phone might be bugged

Although most of these spy tools are incredibly hard to trace, there are a number of give-away behaviors that could mean your phone has been tapped, bugged or is being monitored.

  1. Reduced Battery CapacitiesOne of the most obvious signs that your phone could be bugged or tapped is if it goes through its battery faster than normal. Keep in mind, however, that your phone’s battery’s ability to retain charge will deteriorate with time, and therefore it will not necessarily mean that your phone is tapped.Nevertheless, if your phone begins to exhibit such behaviors shortly after you had temporarily relinquished possession of it, maybe for repairs and maintenance, chances are that a hidden software or application is draining the battery faster since it is relaying information from your phone.
  2. An Upsurge in Data UsageMost people don’t really know where most of their data packs get spent. The most data-consuming applications on any cell phone could be the browser, instant messaging applications, social media apps and various games which require an internet connection to run properly.If a quick diagnosis indicates that the bulk of your data is being used by an application that seems to be hidden, or if your data bundles just seem to be disappearing into thin air, there is a high possibility that a spyware is consuming the data as it relays information from your end. Keep in mind that top-notch spywares are built to use as little data as possible so they will not be easily detected using this approach.
  3. Random Clicks, Static, and Buzzes During Phone CallsThis is a prime characteristic of a cell phone that has been tapped. If you keep hearing random clicks or static every time you’re talking on the phone, this could be the result of a wiretap. Wiretaps are often small devices that have to be installed manually into the phone. They either record phone conversations or relay them immediately to the involved parties. So every time you answer a phone call, listen keenly for any background noises that may indicate a third party is listening in to your phone conversation. However, usually software based spying tools does not generate these alarming signals.
  4. Phone Battery Heats Up for No ReasonA cell phone that is not in use usually has no reason to dispel a lot of charges or even get heated. Spywares are power-intensive applications, especially those that are cheaper to acquire. As such, they will quickly go through a phone’s battery and cause your cell phone’s CPU to generate a lot of heat in order to keep up with the software’s demands.If your phone feels unusually warm when you pick it up, especially if you have not been using it, this is a sign that a hidden application is using the phone even when it is on standby. Very few applications are able to keep running even when the phone is on standby so there is cause to suspect that a hidden application has been given administrative rights without your consent. The only type of malware that would be so power hungry is spyware since it needs the large amounts of power to read and send information.
  5. Phone Vibrates, Lights Up or Makes Random Noises for no ReasonAside from text messages, instant messages, calls, notifications and alarms, there is really no reason why your phone should be vibrating, lighting up or beeping. If your phone suddenly develops a knack of doing weird actions such as rebooting out of nowhere or suddenly vibrating without being prompted by any of the above mentioned, someone else could have access to your device. Such actions are usually carried out as a test to see whether the spyware is active and whether it is functioning properly.
  6. Unusually Long Shut Down PeriodsUnless you have a ton of background applications that take the time to close, switching off your phone should take a few seconds. Any longer and you may have reason to question whether a spyware is responsible for the abnormally long period of time it has taken to shut down. The reason behind this is that spyware is built to relay data. As the phone begins to shut down, they have to finish the process before they can allow the phone to go off. This lag might be minor and barely discernible or blatantly apparent depending on the quality of the spyware being used.
  7. Random, Incoherent Flash and Text MessagesHas your cell phone been recently displaying random messages from unknown numbers? Are the messages mostly random numbers and letters that make no sense to you at all? If that’s the case, you could be dealing with a hacker. These messages are usually codes sent to either fix problems with the software remotely.

How to clean up your phone?

Getting rid of spyware is relatively easy depending on how powerful the software is and the tools you have at your disposal. While most of these cheap spyware applications can easily be removed by factory resetting your device, some might require you to ditch your phone totally and get a new one. The worst case is physically wire tapped phone as this kind of sophisticated bug is fully unvisible for operating system. However, is such rare cases, you are likely being monitored by some agency, and it is already too late…

However, in the most cases taps are app based, so you can detect them watching odd behavior of your phone. So, be on the lookout for those signs in order to know whether someone is secretly monitoring your every move.

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