Cell phones, just like any other IT device, can become targets for spyware. Spyware can disrupt your privacy and give other people access to your personal information. Although this may sound disturbing, it is a problem that can be solved quite easily. In this piece, I am going to provide you with some basic tips on how to remove spyware from cell phone devices.
How to detect spyware on your cell phone
It is not that hard to notice that your phone is being tapped, bugged or monitored by spy software. Your phone will start behaving unpredictably. You will notice signs of spyware, such as a depleted phone battery, slow phone responses, constant noise in the background, strange phone calls or text messages, and unusually high mobile Internet usage.
There are two types of people who get spyware on their cell phones: those who have unwittingly installed spy software themselves and those who have someone specifically spying on them with spy software.
To make sure that you didn’t install the spyware yourself, check all the programs and apps that you currently have on your phone. Check the details and look for apps and programs from suspicious or unknown publishers. Try to get more information and if some apps seem suspicious, uninstall them immediately.
If the spyware on your phone has been installed externally, there is a chance that you can’t access that software as you would a regular app. However, there is no reason to panic. You can still remove the software and you don’t need to possess extraordinary technical skills to solve this problem on your own.
How to remove spyware from a cell phone
There are basically three methods for removing spyware from your cell phone: doing a factory reset, updating your operating system and removing spyware manually. Let’s take a closer look at these options, so you can choose the one that suits you the most.
Remove spyware with a factory reset
Although not the most popular method, this is certainly the most effective one for removing spyware. Nothing will wipe your phone clean from all and any spy software like restoring the device to factory settings.
You can perform a factory reset on all phones, including Android, iPhone and BlackBerry devices. The procedure is slightly different for each model, but some research will help you in the process. If you’re not comfortable doing the reset by yourself, you can just take the phone to a local supplier and ask them to do it for you. Most suppliers will do this for free or charge you a tiny fee.
Back up your phone!
This is a very important note – you need to back up all the data you intend to keep before you start the process of restoring your phone to factory settings. The factory reset will bring back your phone software to the state it was when you first bought it. All contacts, photos, videos, music and other files will be erased, so unless you do a backup before the reset, the data you have on the phone will be gone for good.
Update your operating system
The good thing about this spyware removal method is that it has a similar effect as the factory reset, but doesn’t erase data from your cell phone. If this method works at removing your particular infection, it will only remove the spy software and keep all of the data and apps intact.
The way this works is that by installing a different and upgraded version of your operating system, there’s a big chance that the spy software will no longer be compatible and will stop working. Hence, updating is a very effective method, especially if there is a brand new update released for the operating system that runs on your phone.
Again, you might want to consider backing up all of your data before you start the update process, just in case.
Remove spyware manually
The last option is to remove spyware from your phone manually. To do this right, you really need to know what you are doing.
To remove spyware directly from your phone, you need to go to the device’s root directories, find the files belonging to the spyware and delete these spyware files. The main issue with this method is that it requires good technical knowledge to identify which files may be affected by the spyware. Otherwise, you may end up making a mistake and deleting crucial files which can affect your cell phone’s performance. It also requires that your device be “rooted” or “jailbroken.”
Therefore, it’s really not worth the risk to attempt this method, unless you are 100% sure about what you’re doing.
Protect your cell phone
After you’ve successfully removed the spyware from your cell phone, you have to set your mind on securing the device, so problems like this wouldn’t occur again. Once someone gains access to your phone, it takes very little time to plant monitoring software. There are a couple of basic methods that will help you protect your cell phone privacy.
– Lock your cell phone
Making your cell phone password protected will most likely block everyone who wants to gain physical access. A pattern lock or a lock with numbers can be used to safeguard your cell phone.
– Use a password app
If you don’t have a habit of locking your phone every time you stop using it, a password app will do the job for you. There are both free and paid apps that manage security passwords and automatically lock your phone.
– Install a security app
This is probably the preferred option for people who are very careful when it comes to protecting their own privacy. Security apps can safeguard the instant messenger chats in your smartphone, keep the personal conversations and media private, and flag up any spyware apps.
Remember, the most important thing is to detect the spyware, as spy software developers are becoming more sophisticated and more difficult to catch. The good thing is that once you discover that there is spy software in your cell phone, it is easy to remove it and protect the device from future attacks.