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HomeWeekend SpecialIs your spouse/partner using your phone to spy on you?

Is your spouse/partner using your phone to spy on you?

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We’re all familiar with the outward physical manifestations of domestic abuse – but other forms like coercive control are less obvious to spot.

And electronic devices including mobile phones, laptops and even voice assistants like Alexa can act as tools for abusers, who use them to track movements and snoop on messages, finances and other personal information.

Here cyber expert Paul Vlissidis, author of How to Survive the Internet: Protect your Family from Hackers and Cyberstalkers and star of Channel 4’s Hunted, tells Femail the tell-tale signs that indicate your partner is spying on you.

Is your social media being used to stalk you?

If your phone or laptop are regularly accessed by anyone else, then they may have changed the settings to facilitate their stalking of you.

In cases of coercive control, it’s often done when a partner offers to set up a new device for you; a seemingly well-meaning gesture that is usually gratefully accepted and given little thought.

Most social media platforms allow you to view recent log-in activity – it’s the best way to see whether anyone else has logged in.

See where your accounts are logged in and end all sessions – assuming it’s safe to do so.
Are your movements being tracked?

Disable location tracking completely on your phone – it will stop location history from being generated.

You may need to turn this off regularly if someone has regular access to your phone. If you have a Google account, you should also disable location and browsing history there too.

Are your microphones and cameras being misused?

Beware of any device with a microphone or camera that you haven’t set up yourself – including digital assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home.

These days, a lot of internet connected devices allow remote login and access to recordings – even live viewing and listening – so if you haven’t set it up and set the password yourself, that will need to be looked at.

If you have reason to believe your phone has a tracker installed get a full back-up and ask an expert to do a full reset and reinstall.

Similarly, if you think your laptop or computer could have trackers or keystroke loggers loaded, get it thoroughly checked by an expert.

Is your partner spying on your phone?

There are telltale signs that you aren’t the only one with access to your mobile phone.
For example, suddenly using an unusually high amount of data, signs of activity in standby mode, or quickly deteriorating battery life are all potential giveaways that spyware has been installed on your phone.

Difficulty shutting down devices completely is also a red flag as it could indicate malware is running in the background.

Phones being spied on often make strange noises during telephone conversations so that’s also something to watch out for.

A good commercial antivirus should be able to detect whether malware has been installed on your device.

Is your partner tracking your laptop?

Keyloggers are a type of monitoring software designed to record keystrokes made by a user.
One of the oldest forms of cyber threat, these keystroke loggers record the information you type into a website or application and send to back to a third party.

There is no easy way to tell if you have a software keystroke logger installed, but it’s important to trust your instincts and, if you do suspect you’re being spied on, take the computer to someone you can trust to have it checked out.

Hardware keystroke loggers are far more obvious as you would see an unusual extra plug on the keyboard cable.

Is your partner snooping on your social media?

With social media accounts that have a messaging element – like Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram – one of the first signs that someone has been snooping is often messages marked as read that they don’t remember reading – they assume that they must have read it and forgotten, but that may not be the case at all.

Similarly, are you receiving odd remarketing adverts for interests that aren’t yours or ads connected to your partners’ hobbies?

If so, it could mean that they’re logged into your social media accounts on their own device.
A lot of laptops hold records of login attempts – if you look in the Event Viewer app in the Security Log and see ‘Audit Failure’ logs, it means that someone has been trying to login.

When it comes to social media, most platforms and cloud-based email apps will let you know if a new login occurs from a previously unknown devices and it’s really important not to ignore those messages – it does mean someone has accessed your account.

Are your passwords secure?

This is an obvious point but so many people fail to do it – I recommend using a password manager app, provided you’re the only person who has access to the phone.

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It will make sure all your passwords are strong and random. If you do need to know a password, use three or four random words, never dates, hobbies or nicknames.

I strongly recommend using a 2-factor authentication on all email and social media accounts, provided you can set this up safely – it will make sure nobody else can login.

Is your email secure?

Check what back-up email is set and make sure it’s an account you’ve created, with 2-factor authentication enabled.

Remember that if an account was set up by a friend or partner it might grant them access via a backup email account – even if you change the password.

However, it can be difficult to change the back-up without alerting that email so, if it is being monitored, it’s safer to set up a new account where you can be sure of your privacy for emails you don’t want to be tracked.

Make sure you look for any email forwarding ‘rules’ and remove any you didn’t put there – make sure you take screenshots as evidence.

* Culled from dailymailonline

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