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How To Discover Concealed Spy Apps On Your Mobile Device
Date: 12/12/2023

Identifying hidden spy apps on your mobile device can pose a challenge, given their discreet nature. Nevertheless, there are several measures you can adopt to detect and eliminate such apps effectively.

Identifying Spyware Infiltration

Spyware has various forms and multiple traits. This intrusive software disrupts browsing and collects data for advertising. Basic spyware primarily steals information for phishing. On the other hand, advanced spyware, also called stalkerware, monitors calls, tracks victims, and controls social media. Besides, government-grade commercial spyware, such as Pegasus, is sold to governments for covertly monitoring criminals and terror groups and we’re seeing lots of evil in 2023.

The Warning Signs to Look For

Look out for these signs of spyware or stalkerware.

  • Strange social media messages or emails
  • Suspicious SMS messages with links. Don't click such links or download files.
  • Initial infection messages personalized for stalkerware.
  • If your phone goes missing and returns with unfamiliar settings.
  • Your phone's battery drains quickly, overheats, and the operating system or apps behave strangely.
  • GPS and location functions may turn on unexpectedly with random reboots.
  • You notice increased data usage, indicating that information went from your phone or that remote connections are active.
  • Unable to turn off the device.
  • Unauthorized services or premium SMS plans on your phone bill.
  • Malicious software infects your phone through seemingly benign apps.

Detecting Spyware on Android and iOS

Android: One way to detect surveillance software on an Android device is by checking if the setting to download apps from outside the official Google Play Store shows enabled. This step could indicate unauthorized tampering. Additionally, unfamiliar apps appearing in the special access section may be spyware.

iOS: Generally, installing malware on non-jailbroken iOS devices is hard, but they can still get compromised through exploits or vulnerabilities. Keeping your iPhone's firmware updated and running antivirus scans can help prevent infection.

Steps to Protect From Spyware

Check Administrative Settings: Go to device settings and search for security or device administrators. Find apps with administrator access, then disable and uninstall suspicious apps.

Review Installed Apps: You should review the list of apps installed on your device. Be cautious of unfamiliar or suspicious apps, particularly those with generic names or unclear purposes. Look for apps you didn't intentionally download or don't recall installing.

Check App Permissions: Check the permissions given to each app. Spy apps usually need a lot of permissions to reach your messages, call logs, location, and more. If an app asks for unnecessary or invasive permissions, consider removing it.

Perform Scan: You can perform a scan using mobile antivirus solutions. Install reliable anti-spyware or anti-malware apps from trusted sources. Popular mobile security apps include Avast, McAfee, Malwarebytes, and Bitdefender. Based on this, effectiveness may vary, so do due research.

Data Usage: Watch your data usage to spot any unusual activity. Unusually high data consumption might indicate a spy app.

Jailbreaking or Rooting: Ensure your device isn’t jailbroken (iOS) or rooted (Android). Look for indications of unauthorized changes and regularly update your operating systems to ensure the application of security patches.

Reset or Update: Resetting your devices or performing updates can help address spyware concerns. Remember to back up your data before resetting. Stay updated with the latest operating system versions for added security.

Final Thoughts

Seek assistance from experts if you can't eliminate spy apps. It’s better to stay cautious, avoid downloading apps from untrusted sources, and regularly update your device's software and security measures. Always control your device's privacy and security by being mindful of app permissions.