How to Tell if Your Technology is Spying on You

With technology infiltrating our lives via smartphones and smart home devices, is it possible for us to truly live a private life?

Technologyvia Who is Danny/Shutterstock

Back in 2016, former FBI director James Comey revealed some disturbing news. When asked if he covered his laptop’s webcam with tape, he responded: “Heck yeah, heck yeah. Also, I get mocked for a lot of things, and I am much mocked for that, but I hope people lock their cars … lock your doors at night. I have an alarm system, if you have an alarm system you should use it, I use mine.”

These are the most common cybersecurity missteps that will make you vulnerable to an attack.

Indicators that your technology is spying on you

With technology infiltrating our lives via smartphones and smart home devices, is it possible for us to truly live a private life? The answer begins with knowing what technological devices you may have that could be spying on you and how. There are also some noteworthy indicators that can reveal you are, indeed, being spied on.

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1. According to Backgroundcheck.org, a good indicator that your technology is spying on you is if your phone feels unusually warm. “When your battery heats up, and your phone is hot to the touch even when you aren’t using it, that’s a possible indicator that data is being sent to and from your phone without your knowledge.”

2. Another sign is if you have inexplicably high data usage. Hackers using older spyware utilize cellular data to collect information on you from your phone, resulting in a surge of data usage. And, if a hacker is using Malware, it could drain your battery quickly.

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3. If you receive an odd text message, such as from an unrecognizable code, this could be a sign that spy software is using a remote control feature, or a phishing scam could be at work.

How to check your phones settings for more information

“To check your phone for malicious or suspicious-looking programs or files, go to Settings > Applications > Manage Applications and delete any files or programs that look unusual,” suggests Backgroundcheck.org. “The problem is that a lot of spyware software is disguised under innocent looking file names, in which case installing a spyware program like Anti Spy Mobile is a more sure bet for removing malicious spy software.”

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Why your technology could be spying on you

You may be wondering: Who really cares this much about me?

Manufacturers seek data on your habits to better their products, thereby targeting a greater audience and making more money.

Security agencies seek out personal information via devices like your Fitbit, Garmin and Apple Watch. “What they discovered is simply by looking at the data they can find out with pretty good accuracy what your gender is, whether you’re tall or short, whether you’re heavy or you’re light, but what’s really intriguing is you can be 100 per cent identified by simply your gait,” said Former CIA chief technical officer Gus Hunt.

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Hackers thrive on new age technology—easily gaining access to your device via apps, PDF files, multimedia messages and even emojis.

How to prevent your technology from spying on you

Be sure to pay attention to what permissions an app asks for. Ask yourself if the app should have access to your camera, microphone, etc. Choose wisely the apps you really need, and be sure to read reviews and search for any negative information before you download.

It may seem extreme, but covering your webcam with tape and plugging your microphones when you’re done using them will interfere with whomever out there is trying to watch and hear you via your smart devices.

Lastly, turn off location services if you don’t need them. Not every app needs to know where you are!

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Alexa Erickson
Alexa is an experienced lifestyle and news writer, currently working with Reader's Digest, Shape Magazine and various other publications. She loves writing about her travels, health, wellness, home decor, food and drink, fashion, beauty and scientific news. Follow her traveling adventures on Instagram: @living_by_lex, send her a message: [email protected] and check out her website: livingbylex.com