iPhone users were shocked to know that their iPhone is at risk of being hacked. This came to light through various studies, research, and reports conducted in 2019. The first question that comes to our mind is, can iPhones be hacked even though Apple has taken extreme measures to make it secure? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. The iPhone can be easily hacked using different tools, just like any other smartphone device.
If you feel your device is hacked and need some ways to verify this, then you can check out the various signs mentioned later in the article.
Studies and Research Related to iPhone Hacking
In 2019, according to Forbes, Google’s Project Zero team disclosed phishing websites had targeted iPhone users for the last 2 years. The iOS version 10 to 12 were all said to be affected by these malicious websites. There was no specific target for this attack; people who opened the hacked website using their iPhones were affected.
The hacked website, when opened, installed the monitoring app on your iPhone. This malicious app could access crucial data from the iPhone. Later, Apple released a security patch in the 12.4.1 update, where this issue was fixed.
According to India Today, iPhone users are 167 times more prone to be hacked, then Android users. While this is tough to believe, it is primarily because iPhone users are better targets for hackers.
How to tell if your iPhone has been hacked? Let’s look at the few ways we can figure it out.
How to Know if your iPhone is Hacked?
The below-mentioned indications can also be because of some defect on your device. However, if your device does not have any faults and you still face any such issues, then that could be because of the presence of a malicious app or code.
1. iVerify App
iVerify App developed by Trail of Bits determines the integrity of your device. It does not access any app directly as that is against Apple’s policy. However, it still detects if there are any security vulnerabilities to your iPhone and warns you if found one. You can download iVerify from the Apple App store to find out if your iPhone is hacked or not.
2. Battery Draining Faster
Your battery is draining faster. Can iPhones be hacked in such cases? If your iPhone battery doesn’t last long, it is an indicator of something not being right on your device. The monitoring app hiding and running in the background can be the reason for your phone’s battery draining too fast.
The battery can also drain because of other issues like battery integrity or charging problems. However, if your iPhone is brand new, then the chances of such faults in the device are minimal.
3. Unusual Apps
You are generally aware of the apps that are installed on your device. If you see any unusual apps which you didn’t install, then there might be some suspicious activity behind it. But, can iPhones be hacked by apps? Well, to be on the safe side, you need to uninstall that app and check if there are some other apps lurking around.
Hackers’ apps usually hide in the background, but if you look carefully, you will be able to find them. And as soon as you find such unusual apps, uninstall them.
4. Jailbroken iPhone
Can iPhones be hacked by hackers? Yes, some advanced hackers can jailbreak the iPhone without your knowledge. If you see the app called Cydia on the iPhone, then your iPhone is jailbroken. Cydia is an app where all the “unofficial” apps for the iPhone are available.
5. Different Activities on the Linked Accounts
If your iPhone has many accounts configured, and you can see unrecognized emails, messages, and other activities on it, then your iPhone might be a target of some malicious activity. In such cases, can iPhones be hacked? Possibly, yes. Changing passwords, resetting the phone or restoring from an older backup is advisable here.
6. iPhone Acting Weird
When your iPhone is not in use, and you see weird activities on it as the display on, something being typed, open apps, then this can scare you. In this case, can iPhones be hacked remotely? Well, it is not a paranormal activity, but your phone is controlled by someone else without your knowledge.
7. Increased Phone Bill
The hackers and intruders can call, text, and use your mobile data, which can substantially increase your phone bill. Can someone hack my iPhone just to make calls and send messages? Yes, this is more common than you know.
You can ask the network provider for the detailed bill and check the call history to check if you see any weird number on the list.
8. Background Noise
We tend to hear the background noises when the person we are calling is in a public place. If you keep on hearing the background noise when the person on the other side of the call has a silent background, then your iPhone could be hacked.
The above-mentioned alarming signs can answer your question of how to tell if your iPhone is hacked. Here are a few ways to remedy this situation.
How to Fix a Hacked iPhone?
A hacked iPhone can leak all your data to unwanted sources, and this data can be misused. If your iPhone is hacked chances are that your data is exposed. To stop this you can immediately put the iPhone in Airplane mode as the precautionary step.
To enable the Airplane mode, go to iPhone Settings, and toggle the switch next to Airplane Mode to enable it. You can then select any of the one ways to fix the hacked iPhone.
1. Erase the Data and Settings
Erasing data and settings can help you get rid of hackers. The backup saved on your PC or iCloud can help you get the data back on your iPhone easily.
Want to backup your iPhone now? Check this guide on how to backup your iPhone.
To erase the settings and data, go to the iPhone Settings ➜ General and click on Reset under General settings.
Click on Erase All Content and Settings.
Confirm the reset, when asked for confirmation. All the data and settings are erased after this step.
2. DFU Restore
DFU stands for Device Firmware Update. It resets the code written for the hardware and software settings of your iPhone. You can perform this restore using iTunes. To know the detailed process, go through our guide on how to put your iPhone in DFU mode.
Can iPhones be hacked? How to protect the iPhone?
We have mentioned different ways in which your iPhone can be hacked and also the ways to avert it.
1. Jailbreaking iPhone
The jailbroken iPhone is more exposed to unwanted threats and hackers. People tend to jailbreak their phone to use the apps and software which Apple does not allow. Thus, can jailbroken iPhones be hacked? The constant fear of being hacked comes along with jailbreaking the iPhone along with the permission to use unauthorized apps and other features. So, to protect your iPhone and its data from being hacked, do not jailbreak it.
If you must jailbreak a device, it’s advisable to use a secondary device on which you do not have any important data.
2. Outdated iOS versions
As mentioned above, the iOS version 10 to 12 were prone to attacks by hackers. Hence, it is vital to use the updated iOS version on your iPhone. Apple tries to give the iPhone users the best security; hence, it releases frequent updates to fix any security loopholes if present.
When Google disclosed the security issues in 2019, Apple released a security patch to fix that issue in its 12.4.1 update within a few days.
To check if there are any updates for you, go to the iPhone Settings ➜ General ➜ Software Update
You can download and install the update if available.
3. Mails and Messages from Unknown Sources
Can iPhones be hacked via emails and messages? Well, this is the oldest trick in a hackers’ book. The mails and messages from unknown sources can sometimes contain malicious links that can hack your iPhone. If you receive any such emails and messages, then you should not open it. The links in the emails or messages, when clicked, can put your iPhone’s data at risk.
The link can be phishing sites that can steal your data and credentials. One of the other precautionary measures, in this case, is to delete such emails and messages from your phone. Better yet, block or report such numbers or emails so that you don’t open any by mistake.
4. Public WiFi
We love to use public WiFi in cafes, railway stations, and other public places. What if this public WiFi is controlled by hackers to gain access to sensitive data? Can iPhones be hacked through WiFi? There are many different approaches to this problem.
We recommend you to stop using public WiFi completely. However, if you wish to use one, then follow some safety measures listed below.
- Use public WiFi only to download apps, watch movies, and TV series.
- Avoid logging in to financial sites and other crucial accounts.
- Open the sites which are secured (https)
- If you wish to log in to the banking sites because of some emergency, then use a VPN (Virtual Private Network).
- Avoid Airdropping and file sharing.
If you follow the safety tips given above, then you can protect yourself from getting hacked.
5. Compromised Security
Your iPhone is at a major risk of getting hacked when good security measures are not in place. Follow the below-mentioned steps to ensure advanced security.
Enable Two-Step Verification:
Mostly, all the important accounts have two-step verification features, including your bank and email accounts. So, if you need to protect your phone from hacking, then you should enable this feature. This can give you control of disallowing a login to an unauthorized person and an unrecognized location. You can enable it for crucial accounts like banks, emails, and other payment apps.
Keep your iPhone Passcode Protected:
People usually have pins, passwords, or pattern locks for their phones, and it is a good practice. As this can keep away all the intruders trying to gain access to your phone without your knowledge. And hence it will reduce the risk of your iPhone getting hacked.
Once you enable two-step verification and passcode protection on your iPhone will have fewer chances of unauthorized access.
7. Public Charging Stations
Public charging stations can help you when your phone’s battery is dead, and you are not carrying a charger. Do you know such charging stations can install a monitoring app on the connected phones? So, can iPhones be hacked in public places? Yes, public charging stations can cause harm. In Nov 2019, Los Angeles District Attorney’s office issued a warning via Twitter to stop using public charging stations.
If you are going to stay away from the charging point, then you can carry a portable charger. This way you can avoid the public chargers and keep your phone safe and juiced up.
8. Other Precautionary Measures to Avoid Hacking
You need to take some preventive measures to avoid exposing your data to hackers and intruders. The other precautionary measures include:
- Practice safe browsing; that is, do not go on some unknown site or click on any button of ads.
- Disable ad pop-ups on your phone
- Erase all the data and settings before selling your phone
One should be careful while handling sensitive data on the site. As said, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Are you still thinking can iPhones be hacked? We hope not. Most of the devices we use today are at risk of getting hacked. The hackers can get into the device byways we can’t even imagine and access all the critical data. The precautionary measures can help you save all your devices from unauthorized access.
If your iPhone is already hacked, the only way to stop further access is to erase the data on it. Always remember to take regular backups so that you can restore your data and use 2-step authentication to keep your account safe.
Check the various guides that assist you to set up 2-step authentication: