A little paranoia may protect us from hackers 

Are you just being paranoid if you keep worrying that your phone has been hacked? 

With all the bad people using modern technology to steal money, personal information and other valuable data from digital devices, you have good reason to be concerned.   

The corona virus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic showed us that there was no escaping technology. Even the most conscientious objectors found that, unable to go anywhere because of the lockdowns, technology helped them get the food, services and other essentials they needed.  

But, as more and more people go digital, scam artists are also going online to find potential victims. So paranoia, if it keeps you alert and constantly on your guard, may not be so bad as long as you maintain a healthy dose of common sense.  

In his article for komando.com, Albert Khoury says there are red flags that will alert you if your phone has been or is being hacked. He lists some of them: 

* While too many processes running at once may slow down your phone, if you are not using any apps (applications) and your phone is still slow, a malware (malicious software designed to disrupt, damage or gain unauthorized access to a digital device) may be causing the problem and eating up a lot of resources. The malware may also cause your phone to heat up. 

* Your battery is draining much faster than usual due to some unknown activity. 

* Significant spikes in data usage could signal adware and the like, which run in the background. 

* Malware can slow down your internet by redirecting your traffic to unsafe servers or simply hogging your bandwidth to steal more information from you or target others. 

* If you notice activity that you had nothing to do with, like sending emails and messages and social network posts, your phone and accounts have been hacked. Check your streaming history and credit card purchases for unfamiliar activity as well. 

* Spammy pop-ups are a good indicator that your phone has been hacked. 

* Check for changes to your home screen and unfamiliar bookmarks. 

So how do you protect your phone from hackers? 

Khoury says a little effort can make a huge difference and help keep hackers off your phone. He suggests: 

* Keep your phone updated with the latest security fixes and patches. 

* Use strong, unique passwords. A password manager can take the guesswork out of this.  

* Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) with every account that offers it. 

* Don’t click on unsolicited or suspicious links, no matter where they come from, even if they appear to be from friends and family. 

* Don’t forget to secure your home network.  

* Have trustworthy antivirus software on all your devices.  

We can take the first steps in protecting ourselves from digital criminals by being constantly vigilant and being careful in how, where and when we use our gadgets. 

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