Hacked Devices

A hacked device, such as your phone or computer, can expose your personal and financial information. Find out how to recover.

Step 1:Recognize

Red Flags of a Hacked Device

If you think your smart phone or tablet may have been hacked, there are several warning signs to look out for, such as:

  • Your device starts acting differently than usual. This could include anything from new and unexplained apps appearing, changes to your home screen or settings or unusual behavior from the device itself (overheating, shutting down unexpectedly, etc).
  • You notice strange and unsolicited text messages or emails appearing on your device.
  • You start seeing unexpected charges on your phone bill, or unusual activity in your bank or credit card accounts.
  • Your contacts list suddenly changes, or you start receiving strange calls or messages from people you don’t know.

Step 2:Immediate Actions

If you suspect that your device has been hacked, it is important to take action immediately:

  • Contact your service provider (i.e. Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, etc.) and let them know what has happened. They may be able to help you secure your device and prevent further damage.
  • Change any passwords that you use on your device and install any available security updates.
  • Run a full system scan to check for malware.
  • If you believe that your personal information has been compromised, you should take steps to protect yourself. This may include changing your passwords, monitoring your credit report and bank accounts, and being careful about any emails or messages that you open.
  • If you believe financial information has been compromised, like your credit card number or bank account information, contact your bank or credit card company right away. They will be able to help you secure your account.

Step 3:Report

Reporting any type of cybercrime, including hacked devices, is imperative to help others avoid being scammed. As a society, the more people that report online scams and fraud, the more national reporting data that is collected, and the better chance law enforcement has to catch the criminals and decrease cybercrime.

Step 4:Recover

How to Prevent Your Device From Being Hacked in the Future

There are steps you can take to protect your devices. Here are some tips:

  • Do your research and choose the apps and software you download to your device carefully.
  • Don’t use public networks. Instead access the internet through your cellular data plan.
  • If you want to use public networks, use a virtual public network (VPN). A VPN is a type of networking technology that allows users to create a secure connection in public. VPNs can be used to access remote resources, encrypt traffic, and hide your IP address.
  • Don’t jailbreak or root your devices, which can compromise security features built into the operating system or app.
  • Be cautious of links sent to you via text message.

Take 5 Steps for Better Online Security

it’s important to strengthen your online security to help avoid all types of online scams. Take action to improve your digital posture by following these steps:

  1. Implement Multi Factor Authentication (MFA): Passwords are generally easy for scammers to crack, and even if you use strong passphrases, there’s still the possibility that a cybercriminal can obtain your passphrase in a data breach. Implementing MFA is a great way to maximize your security and ensure that you are the only one who can gain access to your accounts. MFA should be implemented on all accounts where it is available. Check your account’s security settings to see if it is something you can set up.
  2. Update Your Privacy Settings: Privacy settings allow you to control your personal information (name, address, phone number, date of birth, financial details, photos or videos, etc) and how that information is used. Review your privacy settings on all of your accounts including your social media accounts. Consider restricting who can see your friends list, contacts, photos and posts.
  3. Activate Automatic Updates: Automatic updates are a set of changes to an app, software or operating system that are automatically pushed by the developer to fix or improve it. Oftentimes, cybercriminals take advantage of security flaws to plant malicious software on your devices. By activating automatic updates, you will automatically patch security vulnerabilities to protect your data.
  4. Use a Password Manager or Create Strong Passphrases: A password manager is a software tool that securely stores all of your login credentials in one place, allowing you to create and manage strong, unique passwords for all of your accounts. If you are unable to afford a password manager, use strong passphrases. A passphrase is a combination of random words or a sentence that is much longer and more complex than a typical password. Using a passphrase instead of a password makes it much harder for hackers to guess or brute-force their way into your accounts.
  5. Learn the Elements of a Phishing Attempt: Familiarize yourself with the elements of a phishing email. Phishing emails tend to include a sense of urgency and multiple grammar and spelling errors. If they are asking you to reveal personal information, be suspicious. If you get a strange email, try contacting the company another way to confirm they sent that email. If the email is suspicious, mark it as spam.

TestimonialHear from Other Victims

Without Fightcybercrime.org, I don't know if I would have been able to react as quickly to protect my personal information.
Mary - Indianapolis, IN