Factory resetting a phone is considered a last resort. It is usually done following a software flaw that renders the device difficult to use, a hacker intrusion, or to clear out unwanted files before selling or transferring the device.
A factory reset can remove malware that is present on the device at the time of the reset, but it will not remove malware that has already been installed on the device. Additionally, a factory reset will not remove malware that has been installed on the device’s firmware or operating system. It’s recommended to install an antivirus software and run a scan after factory reset.
How Persistent Are Hackers?
If a hacker is specifically targeting a individual or organization, they can be quite persistent in their efforts to gain access to the target’s systems or information. They may use a variety of techniques, such as phishing scams, social engineering, and exploiting vulnerabilities in software, to try and gain access.
Additionally, they may continue to try and gain access even after they have been discovered and blocked, using new tactics or tools to bypass security measures. In some cases, hackers may even conduct surveillance on their target to try and gain information that can be used to aid in future hacking attempts. It’s important to be vigilant and have a robust security plan in place to defend against these persistent attacks.
Even if a device has been factory reset, it’s very possible that the attacker will continue to attack you and your device. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do if you are targeted except take screenshots, keep track of evidence of contact from the hacker, and texts/logs. You can possibly use this to inform law enforcement and possibly open an investigation.
How To Tell If A Hacker Is Targeting You?
If you are being targeting by a cyber criminal, it’s important to ask yourself if there’s a specific reason why. There may be different reasons like someone you upset in person or online, someone hired to harass you, or a nation state actor targeting your business.
There are several signs that may indicate that a hacker is targeting you or your organization:
- Unusual network activity: Increased traffic to certain websites or ports, or unexpected connections from unfamiliar IP addresses, may indicate that a hacker is trying to access your network.
- Suspicious emails or messages: Phishing scams and social engineering tactics often involve sending emails or messages that appear to be from a legitimate source, but are actually attempts to trick you into giving away sensitive information.
- Unusual activity on your accounts: If you notice that someone has been accessing your accounts without your permission, or that settings have been changed, it’s possible that a hacker has gained access.
- Unexpected pop-ups or pop-unders: Some hackers use malware that displays unwanted advertisements or pop-up windows as a way to make money.
- Slow performance: A hacker might use malware that uses up a lot of system resources, causing your computer or network to run slowly.
- Antivirus software alerts: If your antivirus software detects and blocks a suspicious file or program, it could be an indication that a hacker is trying to infect your device.
It’s important to keep in mind that these signs can also indicate other types of security issues, such as malware infections, so it’s always a good idea to have a professional check it out if you suspect that you are being targeted.
How Can I Protect Myself From A Malware Infection?
There are several things you can do to protect yourself from a malware infection on your devices. Keep in mind, these are not fool proof techniques especially if the attacker is particularly focused on you. They will try many different techniques to get to you and your data.
There are several steps you can take to protect yourself from a malware infection:
- Keep your operating system and software up-to-date: Software updates often include patches for security vulnerabilities that malware can exploit.
- Use antivirus software: Antivirus software can detect and remove malware that has already been installed on your device.
- Be cautious when clicking on links or opening attachments: Malware can be spread through email, instant messaging, and social media. Don’t open attachments or click on links unless you’re sure they’re safe.
- Use a firewall: A firewall can help prevent unauthorized access to your device, and can also block incoming malware.
- Use a VPN: A virtual private network (VPN) can help protect your online activity from being monitored by hackers.
- Be careful when downloading apps and files from the Internet: Only download apps and files from trusted sources, such as the official app store for your device.
- Back up your data regularly: In case of a malware infection, it’s important to have a backup of your important data so that you can restore it after cleaning your device.
- Use multi-factor authentication: Multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds an extra layer of security to your accounts by requiring a second form of verification in addition to your password.
It’s important to keep in mind that no single method can provide 100% protection, so it’s a good idea to use a combination of these methods to help minimize the risk of infection.
Using cyber security best practice, user awareness, and some suspicion, you can avoid a lot of different attacks on your devices.