How to Remove a Hacker From Your Phone in 2024

Updated on: April 30, 2024
Fact Checked by Sam Boyd
Kamso Oguejiofor-Abugu Kamso Oguejiofor-Abugu
Updated on: April 30, 2024 Writer

Short on time? Here’s how to remove a hacker from your smartphone:

  1. Scan your phone. Use a reputable antivirus app like Norton to scan your phone for malware and suspicious activity.
  2. Remove any threats found. Once the scan is done, follow the antivirus’s recommendations to remove any threats.
  3. Stay vigilant and practice good cyber hygiene. Keep your antivirus updated and make sure all real-time protection features stay on. Exercise caution online and be careful with what you download.

Securing your smartphone is more important than ever. You probably bring your smartphone everywhere, and you certainly don’t want to carry a hacker in your pocket, stealing your data and invading your privacy.

Every day, countless individuals face issues like unauthorized access to personal data and sensitive information and the loss of control over their devices. As such, if you suspect your phone is compromised, you need to take swift action to regain control and safeguard your privacy.

A quality antivirus is the most effective way to ensure your phone is safe from hackers and safeguard against future intrusions. I highly recommend Norton, as it’s the best antivirus in 2024, offering a huge range of useful security features and flawless malware protection. It also offers a risk-free 60-day money-back guarantee, giving you plenty of time to try it out.

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How to Tell if Your Phone Has Been Hacked

Here are some warning signs that could indicate that you’ve been hacked:

  • Unusual battery drain. If your phone’s battery is depleting faster than usual, this might be a sign that malicious software is running in the background.
  • Unfamiliar apps. See any apps that you don’t remember installing? This could indicate that a hacker has gained access and installed malicious software.
  • Increased data usage. A sudden spike in data usage is another red flag. Many types of malware will use your data connection to transmit information from your phone.
  • Pop-up ads. Excessive pop-up ads could be from adware placed by a hacker to generate revenue, or worse — to trick you into downloading more malware.
  • Sluggish performance. If your phone is exceptionally slow or crashes frequently, it may be burdened by malicious software-hogging resources.
  • Unfamiliar calls/texts. Keep an eye on your call logs and messages. If you see texts or calls from numbers you don’t recognize, especially if they’re international, this could be a sign of a breach.
  • Changed settings. If your settings have been altered without your knowledge, especially those related to security and privacy, this could be the work of an intruder.
  • Unauthorized purchases. Check for any unauthorized purchases or money transfers from your accounts. Hackers often target financial data.

How to Remove a Hacker From Your Phone

Discovering that your phone has been hacked can be alarming, but there are steps you can take to secure your data and reclaim your device. These instructions cover both Android and iOS devices.

Step 1. Install an Effective Mobile Antivirus

Begin by installing a reputable antivirus app such as Norton on your phone. This will help you detect and remove malware. Whatever app you choose, make sure you get it from the official store (Google Play for Android users and the Apple App Store for iPhone users). Apps from third-party app stores might not have been adequately checked for malware.

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Step 2. Run a Virus Scan

Open the antivirus app and run a full scan (Android only). This will identify any malware or suspicious apps on your phone. Follow the app’s recommendations to remove or quarantine any threats. Most iPhone antivirus apps don’t come with a direct scanner (because they generally don’t need one). iOS users should make sure that all of their chosen app’s security features are turned on. This will then passively scan your phone for malicious apps and other threats.

Step 3. Delete Unrecognized Apps

Manually check your phone for any apps you don’t recognize. If you find any, uninstall them immediately. You can do this by long-pressing the app icon, then selecting Uninstall on Android phones, or Remove App if you’re using an iPhone.

Step 4. Update Your Operating System

Ensure your phone’s operating system is up-to-date. Hackers often exploit known vulnerabilities in older software versions. On Android, go to Settings > System > Advanced > System update. On iOS, go to Settings > General > Software Update.

Step 5. Restore to Factory Settings

If you believe the hacker is still active, consider restoring your phone to factory settings. Note that this will erase all data, so backup any essential files and media first. On Android, go to Settings > System > Reset options > Erase all data. On iOS, go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.

Step 6. Secure Your Online Accounts

Change passwords for all of your accounts, especially if you had saved passwords on your phone. Make sure to create strong, unique passwords, and consider using a secure password manager like 1Password to create and store unhackable passwords. I also recommend enabling two-factor authentication wherever possible for extra security.

Step 7. Alert Your Contacts

Inform your contacts that your phone was compromised. It’s common for hackers to use infected devices to spread their malware and commit cyber crimes. Letting your acquaintances know what’s happened will help them keep their guard up and prevent further hacks.

Step 8. Regularly Monitor App Permissions

Regularly review the permissions granted to apps, particularly those that access your contacts, camera, or location. Revoke permissions that are not necessary. Android users can do this by going to Settings > Apps > Permissions. iOS users should go to Settings and select the specific app to manage its permissions.

Step 9. Backup Important Data

Finally, start regularly backing up your data. This is a wise preventative measure to take so that if your device is compromised in the future, you won’t lose important information. iOS users can use iCloud, while Android users can use Google Drive, an external SD card, or another backup service like Dropbox.

Best Antivirus Apps for Removing Hackers From Your Phone (Android & iOS) in 2024

Quick summary of the best antiviruses for smartphones in 2024:

  • 🥇 1. Norton — Best overall antivirus for removing hackers from your mobile device in 2024.
  • 🥈 2. Bitdefender — Cloud-based malware scanner detects hackers without slowing down your phone.
  • 🥉 3. TotalAV — Good system optimization tools for improving your phone’s performance.

How Do Hackers Access Your Phone?

Cybercriminals use a variety of tools to initiate hacks. Here are some of their most common methods:

  • Phishing/smishing. Hackers often send emails or texts with malicious links or attachments. Clicking on or downloading such things could install malware on your phone or trick you into giving away sensitive information.
  • Spyware/keyloggers. These malicious apps run in the background, recording your keystrokes and spying on your activities, often sending this information back to the hackers.
  • Brute force attacks. By using software to generate an immense number of guesses, hackers can sometimes crack passwords and gain access to your device or accounts.
  • Public Wi-Fi/Bluetooth exploits. Hackers can exploit vulnerabilities in public Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth connections to gain unauthorized access to connected devices.
  • Compromised charging stations. Public charging stations can sometimes be compromised to install malware on your device once plugged in.
  • Text message redirection attacks. By exploiting vulnerabilities in cellular networks, hackers can redirect your text messages to their devices, which is particularly dangerous if you use SMS for two-factor authentication.
  • SIM swapping. In this method, a hacker convinces your cell provider to port your phone number to a new SIM card, which the hacker controls. This can give them access to any account that uses your phone number for security, such as your email, social media, or even bank accounts.

What Can Happen When Your Phone Is Hacked

A phone hack can be catastrophic. Here are some of the potential consequences:

  • Invasion of privacy. By using spyware, hackers can monitor your behavior, online and off. They can see which websites you frequent, scrutinize your search history, read your messages, track which apps you use, and even trace your physical location via GPS.
  • Theft of passwords and sensitive data. Hackers employ keyloggers or phishing attacks to harvest passwords and sensitive data, including banking credentials. This can lead to unauthorized transactions, intrusive access to your social media, and the exposure of personal information.
  • Spread of infected messages. Your device can be hijacked to distribute malware-laden texts or emails to your contacts. This can compromise their devices and cast suspicion on you as the messages will appear to come from you.
  • Unauthorized access to your camera and microphone. Sophisticated malware allows hackers to remotely activate your camera and microphone. This is alarming as it lets cybercriminals spy on your personal life, record conversations, and potentially use the information for blackmail.
  • Identity theft. With personal data such as your name, address, and social security number, hackers can impersonate you, which may involve creating fake IDs, opening new financial accounts, or conducting fraudulent activities in your name.
  • Ransom demands. Some hackers use ransomware to lock you out of your phone. This type of malware will encrypt your data, and cybercriminals will demand a ransom (usually in cryptocurrency) for the decryption key.
  • Data wipeout. Malware like crypto worms can erase all data from your phone, including photos, videos, and essential documents, sometimes with no possibility of recovery.
  • Monetary charges. Your phone can be manipulated to make premium calls or send premium messages, incurring high charges. Hackers might also use your mobile account to subscribe to paid services without your consent.
  • Exposure of corporate data. If you use your phone for work, hackers can gain access to sensitive corporate data, putting not only your security but also your company’s assets and reputation at risk.

How to Protect Your Phone From Being Hacked

Given the risks and effects of hacks, it’s important to take steps to stay safe. Follow these measures, and you’ll dramatically reduce the likelihood that you’ll become the victim of a phone hack.

  • Use a mobile antivirus with real-time protection. Invest in a reliable antivirus app like Norton or Bitdefender. Norton’s App Advisor and Bitdefender’s App Anomaly Detection are particularly noteworthy, as they both scan apps for malicious behaviour.
  • Don’t click on suspicious links. Be cautious and avoid clicking on links from unknown sources in emails, texts, or social media messages, as these may be phishing attempts.
  • Avoid third-party app stores. Only download apps from reputable sources, namely the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Third-party app stores won’t have the same security standards and might host malicious apps.
  • Avoid jailbreaking your phone. Jailbreaking can make your phone vulnerable by disabling security features. It also makes your device an easier target for malware.
  • Use secure passwords and biometric logins. Employ strong, unique passwords for your accounts and use biometric authentication where possible. Password managers like 1Password can help you create and store strong passwords without the need to remember them all.
  • Enable two-factor authentication (2FA). Whenever available, use 2FA to add an extra layer of security, making it harder for hackers to break into your accounts even if they know your password.
  • Use a VPN on public Wi-Fi. Public Wi-Fi networks are often unsecured. A VPN encrypts your data, making it difficult for hackers to intercept any information you send or receive while using public Wi-Fi. Norton has a good VPN that comes with unlimited data on all its 360 plans.
  • Keep your operating system updated. Regularly update your phone’s OS and apps. Updates often include security patches that protect against newly discovered vulnerabilities.
  • Monitor app permissions. Regularly review and manage app permissions, ensuring that your apps only have access to the data they need.
  • Be wary of unsolicited communications. If you receive unexpected calls or messages asking for personal information or access to your device, be skeptical and don’t share any information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you remove hackers from your phone?

Yes, you can remove hackers from your phone. Start by installing a reputable mobile antivirus application like Norton, then perform a full scan, and make sure that all protection features are turned on. Next, remove any unfamiliar apps and change all your passwords. It’s also wise to check app permissions and ensure your operating system is up-to-date. In severe cases, restoring your phone to factory settings may be necessary.

What is the solution for a hacked phone?

The primary solution for a hacked phone is to install antivirus software. A reputable antivirus like Norton will scan for and remove malware installed on your phone. In addition to installing an antivirus, I recommend changing all passwords on the device and any online accounts that were accessed from the phone. If you suspect that the hacker still has access even after these steps, it might be necessary to perform a factory reset on the phone. Finally, always keep your operating system and apps updated to the latest versions, as these updates often contain security patches that can prevent hacking.

What do I dial to see if my phone has been hacked?

There is no universal number to dial to check if your phone has been hacked. The best way to check if your phone has been compromised is to run regular scans using a mobile antivirus application. Additionally, look out for unusual behavior, such as battery drain, slow performance, or unfamiliar apps. I also recommend you stay informed about the latest security threats.

Can turning a phone off stop a hacker?

Turning your phone off can temporarily disrupt a hacker’s access. However, this is not a permanent solution. Once the phone is turned back on, if the malware or unauthorized access tools are still present, the hacker can regain access. It’s vital to follow proper security protocols like installing an antivirus, removing suspicious apps, and changing passwords to truly secure your device.

How to remove a hacker from my Samsung phone?

To remove a hacker from a Samsung phone, start by installing a trustworthy antivirus like Norton or Bitdefender. Run a full system scan and follow the app’s recommendations for dealing with any threats. Next, uninstall any unfamiliar or suspicious apps. Then change all your passwords, especially for sensitive accounts like email and banking. That done, you should make sure your phone’s operating system and apps are updated to the latest versions. As a last resort, consider performing a factory reset.

Best Antiviruses for Protecting Your Phone Against Hackers in 2024 — Final Score:

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About the Author
Kamso Oguejiofor-Abugu
Updated on: April 30, 2024

About the Author

Kamso Oguejiofor is a former Content Writer at SafetyDetectives. He has over 2 years of experience writing and editing topics about cybersecurity, network security, fintech, and information security. He has also worked as a freelance writer for tech, health, beauty, fitness, and gaming publications, and he has experience in SEO writing, product descriptions/reviews, and news stories. When he’s not studying or writing, he likes to play basketball, work out, and binge watch anime and drama series.