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The possibility of getting infected on Android has been taken seriously ever since malware started appearing on Google Play. The market is flooded daily with different malicious applications, mainly because Google doesn’t regulate its ever-growing market sufficiently. This isn’t exactly good news for you, since your phone may behave strangely one day due to an app. I got a wake-up call recently when my phone was almost infected as a website automatically downloaded an app into it. For this reason, I decided it’s a good a day as any to talk about how you can tell if you’re infected, and what to do to prevent it from happening.

1: Your Calls Act Funny

If you’re calling someone and the conversation suddenly stops, try calling another number. Maybe the problem is on the other end. Call a land line. If you still get dropped calls once in awhile, you’re probably infected by malware (unless you’re calling from a tunnel). Malware has a tendency to interfere with calls when it uses your cellular antenna. Sometimes, it even records what you’re saying on the phone. This is a massive breach of privacy that must be stopped immediately.

2: You Get a Few (or Many) Surprises in Your Bill

The day you get your phone bill, pay close attention to it. If you see a spike in SMS activity or data usage that shouldn’t be there, an app is probably sending messages or relaying data without your knowledge. Some of them send messages just once in a while, making it difficult to distinguish. Ask people on your contacts list whether they’ve seen strange messages from you. If you’re lucky, some people might actually reply to the SMS sent by the malware, demonstrating that something is sending messages on your behalf without your knowledge. Android might even show the message in the conversation window.

3: The Phone has Enormous Amounts of Lag

Just like viruses in Windows, malware in Android can cause significant drops in performance on the platform you’re using. You’ll either find the phone nearly unusable in the most extreme cases, or you’ll have difficulty switching from an app to your home screen as smoothly as you’re used to. This kind of performance drop is experienced either by a rogue application acting weirdly or malware exploiting your phone’s processing power heavily.

How to Stop and Prevent Malware on Android

First of all, you should have a competent antivirus app installed on your phone. I’d recommend Avast! or Lookout. This will help you get rid of whatever malware you might have right now. To prevent any infections, take these precautions:

When looking at an app on Google Play, check the reviews. If you’re lucky, a few people will come out and say that it’s malware. How many people downloaded the app? If it’s not popular enough for at least 1,000 reviews, you’re taking a higher risk.

Got Any More Tips?

Miguel Leiva-Gomez

Miguel has been a business growth and technology expert for more than a decade and has written software for even longer. From his little castle in Romania, he presents cold and analytical perspectives to things that affect the tech world.

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How To Tell If Your Phone Has Been Hacked?

If you see suspicious things happening on your phone, like a new app you didn’t install or charges on your bill that don’t make sense, it’s possible that it’s been hacked.

Some of the most common methods hackers can use to hack your phone are:

Social engineering: Another common method hackers use is social engineering, which mainly exploits the human aspect. They manipulate our psychology/ emotion to get the required information for the attack. It could be as simple as asking for a password straight up for Wi-Fi or an OTP code.

Keylogger: Hackers can use keylogger software to track and record every keystroke you type, including account login credentials. Such programs get into your devices through malicious apps or any other form of malware.

Nonetheless, there are still some subtle signs that your phone is likely hacked or infected with malware.

If you see any unrecognized apps, you shouldn’t open them and consider uninstalling them immediately for your safety.

The major reason someone would try to hack your phone is for financial benefit. So, if you find any unknown purchase made from your phone, check the SMS alerts sent by your digital wallet or banking app. Furthermore, you can also download the entire list of your financial statements to review all your purchases.

If you get a message such as “Your phone is locked” or similar, your phone is probably hacked. In these cases, you cannot access your files, media, or documents and could be asked for a ransom to retrieve them. These are special types of malware called ransomware and are hard to get rid of. Also, there’s no guarantee that you will get your files back even if you pay the ransom.

A phone’s performance drops gradually after a certain point in time. However, it isn’t normal if the performance drops significantly and your phone suddenly becomes too sluggish.

Similarly, your phone can heat up abnormally even when you don’t seem to have any open applications, and the battery drains too quickly. Also, your phone may behave erratically and restart multiple times for no reason.

All the signs above indicate that a background process, most likely a virus/malware, is running in the background, hogging up your memory and taking control of your phone.

Sometimes your call history looks different, and unknown phone numbers exist without your knowledge, even when you haven’t actively used your phone. Also, some messages have been deleted, or there are unknown text messages. In these cases, your phone might have been in the control of the attackers. Or the text message could be malicious.

These days, scammers use this tactic to request money from people on your contact list, impersonating you when in reality, the money is being transferred to them.

In some cases, you are logged out of any account automatically on your mobile phone. And when you try to log in, you keep getting an error message like “Incorrect password” even though you entered the correct one.

If your password has been compromised, your phone might be hacked, and its passwords might have even been leaked online by hackers.

If you ever feel like your mobile data is being consumed more than usual, a third person might be using them to secretly upload your private information to their server. In such cases, your phone has abnormally high data consumption even when you haven’t utilized any data.

On Android devices, you can view the data usage graphs through the Settings app and check if the data traffic is unusual.

Instead of being a victim of a possible scam or hack, you should try to avoid/prevent them by being aware of the signs like the above. To prevent such incidents, you can do the following things.

Passwords are the key component when it comes to your device security. Whether it be your lock screen or your Google Account, the perpetrator can do severe harm if they get their hands on the passwords.

Therefore, you should always use a strong password that contains a combination of all kinds of characters; symbols, letters, numbers, etc. Also, consider using a longer password as it can withstand most brute-force attacks than a shorter one. To easily manage passwords, consider using a password manager.

On the other hand, don’t use the same password for every site you sign up for. It’s because if one of the passwords gets breached, others can also get compromised.

While a strong password is a great way of keeping your device safe from hackers, you should also consider turning on two-factor authentication. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring you to provide multiple passwords/information before you can finally log in to the account.

Public Wi-Fi is one of the most exploited methods used by cybercriminals to hack your smartphones. Such Wi-Fi connections are generally unencrypted and thus easier for them to hack and exploit.

Hence, you should avoid using public Wi-Fi, and in case of emergency, access the Internet through a VPN for a secure connection. Also, refrain from performing any financial transactions while using such Wi-Fi.

Another common way a hacker can get his hands on your device is when you install malicious apps from an external source. Therefore, you should only install apps from the official Play Store/ App Store.

If you have a habit of leaving your phone unlocked, other people can easily access its contents. So, consider signing out of your social media account when not in use. Or, at least secure your phone with a password/PIN to prevent it.

If your phone is running on an older version or has an outdated app, it may contain several bugs and issues which can be exploited by the bad guys. Such weaknesses are even circulated among illegal hacker forums, which means phones with older OS are easy prey for them.

Phone manufacturers and app developers constantly release newer versions of the app to fix the device’s previous vulnerabilities with the latest security patch. Therefore, you should always keep your phone and the apps updated to avoid such risks.

While some people root their Android phone for further customization, it isn’t recommended. Doing so voids the warranty, and you may not get any security updates for the device, which makes you vulnerable to malicious exploits.

Although saving passwords and enabling autofill on a browser is easier, it’s an unsafe practice. Any person, not necessarily a hacker, with physical access to your phone can easily log into websites and view your personal information.

You should always try to avoid getting into situations where your phone gets compromised in the first place. However, if you somehow fall into the trap and suspect your phone is hacked, you should consider doing the following things.

In case any of your accounts are breached, you should immediately change all their passwords. And, if the Google account is compromised on your Android device and you cannot change your password, you can reach out to Google Support.

If your phone is hacked, it most likely contains malware. Therefore, install a reliable antivirus app and use it to scan and remove all the potentially harmful software or viruses on your phone.

Resetting your phone clears all your phone contents and restores it to its initial configuration. All the malware or viruses are also wiped off along the process. However, consider backing up your files and other contents before doing so.

The moment you notice any suspicious activity on your phone, especially if you get a notification of an unknown purchase, you should immediately contact your financial institution. Then, ask them to freeze your accounts so that you can prevent further financial losses.

How To Check If Carrieriq Tracking Software Is Installed In Your Android Phone

The hottest news lately has to be the discovery of the CarrierIQ software residing in most Android phones. If you are still not aware, CarrierIQ is a tracking software that can track almost every single bit of information in your phone, including the characters you typed in your keyboard, the website you visited, the information stored in your phone and many more, without your knowledge and permission. Unlike most third party app where you have to install manually, this software comes in-built in the phone and since it lies at the kernel of the OS, it can’t be removed easily.

For those of you who are not sure if your Android phone comes with this tracking software, simply go to the market and search with the term “carrierIQ detector“. It should return a big list of CarrierIQ detector app that you can install to check if your phone is infected.

I tried with the Lookout CarrierIQ Detector and this is what it shows on the screen when you run the app.

What should I do if my phone is infected?

As the CarrierIQ is embedded in the kernel level, there is no way to remove the tracking software within the OS. If you are technical competent and are willing to void your warranty, the only way to remove CarrierIQ from your phone is to root your phone and replace the existing ROM with a custom ROM. Popular third-party ROMs such as Cyanogenmod and MIUI are community-based and are safe from CarrierIQ’s clutches.

Note: As there are too many Android phones, each with their own rooting method, we won’t be discussing in detail the method to root your phone and install custom ROM.


Apple admits that the CarrierIQ is included in iOS as well, but they do provide you with a way to turn it off.

That’s it.


Damien Oh started writing tech articles since 2007 and has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He is proficient in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS, and worked as a part time WordPress Developer. He is currently the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Make Tech Easier.

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How To Tell If It’s Time To Replace Your Macbook’s Battery

Compared to other laptops, MacBooks are known for their longer battery life. Even with extensive daily use, you can work on a Mac for hours without worrying about your battery dying. 

However, even the best tech loses performance over time. As your Mac ages, you’ll notice the need to charge it more often. For some people, having to be next to a charger all the time isn’t a problem, but others might find it more difficult. Not to mention how annoying it can be having your Mac unexpectedly die on you in the middle of an important task or an online meeting. 

Table of Contents

If you’ve been using your Mac for a while and are worried that your battery’s worn out, there is a way to tell whether it’s time to replace your MacBook’s battery. 

Does Your Mac Need a New Battery? 

Before you decide to replace your MacBook’s battery, here are a few things that you should pay attention to. 

Your Mac Keeps Dying

The first (and the most obvious) sign that your Mac needs a new battery is when your computer keeps dying even though you charged it up not so long ago. When you first bought your Mac, you could spend hours on it working, watching videos, and playing games on a single charge. 

If it seems like you now constantly have to look for a charger to keep your Mac working, there’s a good chance your computer needs a new battery.

Your Mac Is Overheating

There can be many reasons why your Mac is overheating. Sometimes it’s just the result of daily use. But sometimes overheating might be a sign that your Mac’s battery is faulty and you need to replace your Macbook battery soon.

You Get a Service Battery Warning

The worst and also the most reliable sign that your Mac’s battery needs replacing is if you get a service battery warning. If you get a warning in the drop-down menu where you normally see the percentage number in the top right corner of your screen, it means there’s no extending your battery life and it’s time to get a new one. 

How To Check Your Battery’s Condition 

Even if you haven’t got the battery service warning yet, it’s worth checking your battery condition before it’s too late. Your Mac has a utility that can help you understand better when you can expect your battery to die. 

However, if you get one of the following messages, it means your battery isn’t as good as new anymore and it’s time to start looking into replacement options. 

Replace Soon. 

Your Mac’s battery is functioning normally but holds less charge than it did when it was new.

Replace Now. 

The battery is functioning normally but holds significantly less charge than it did when it was new. You can continue to use the battery until you replace your MacBook’s battery without harming your computer.

Service Battery. 

The battery isn’t functioning normally, and you may or may not notice a change in its behavior or the amount of charge it holds. Take your computer in for service. You can continue to use your battery before it’s checked without harming your computer. 

Unless you get the Service Battery warning, your computer is in no imminent danger. Moreover, Replace Soon status means your battery will still last you a while before you’ll have to replace it. 

How Far Is “Soon” Exactly? 

If your battery condition says anything other than Normal, it’s no reason to panic but check the current cycle count instead. Cycle count means the number of times you use up all of your Mac’s battery and then fully recharge it. 

According to Apple, the modern-day Macbook’s battery can last through 1000 cycles before it starts aging. Past those 1000 cycles, your battery is designed to retain up to 80% of its original power.

That means you can continue safely using your battery past 1000 cycles, it will just gradually lose its power. You can use Your Mac’s System Information tool to find out the exact number of cycles that your computer is at. 

How To Check Your Current Cycle Count

Hold down the Option (Alt) key.

Select System Information from the top of the drop-down menu. 

From the left side menu, under Hardware, select Power. 

At my current cycle count of 1482, my battery is in the Replace Soon condition. That still gives me time to figure out whether I want to replace my battery or get a new MacBook later. 

Is It Time To Replace Your MacBook’s Battery?

Replacing your MacBook’s battery might seem like something unimportant at first. However, a good battery is what makes your Mac portable and ensures its best performance. 

In some cases, it might be worth looking into replacing your Mac altogether. Yet a new battery can go a long way and save you a decent amount of money. In case you’re not ready to spend at the moment at all, check out our tutorial on what you can do to extend the battery life on Mac without replacing it. 

4 Ways To Tell If You’re Using 32

Although we’re gradually transitioning into a fully 64-bit PC world, not everyone is currently running a 64-bit version of Windows. Knowing if your Windows is 32-bit or 64-bit is important when it comes to installing some software, especially drivers.

Finding out if you’re running 32-bit or 64-bit Windows isn’t difficult, though, and there are multiple ways for you to do so. In this article, let’s look at four of the most simple and easy ways to determine which version of Windows is running on your PC.

Table of Contents

System Information

My pick for the simplest and most straightforward way to determine if you’re using 32-bit or 64-bit Windows lies within Windows’ system information.

Halfway down this page, you’ll find the Device Specifications heading.

Here, the information listed as your System Type will plainly state

Command Prompt

Another simple way to figure out the architecture of your processor and if you’re running 32-bit or 64-bit Windows is by using the Command Prompt.

When the Command Prompt terminal has opened, type in the set pro command. After hitting the Enter key, the prompt will return a list of information about your machine’s processor and operating system.

Here, there are three ways to determine which version of Windows you’re running:




The processor-specific flags should indicate whether you’re using a 32-bit or 64-bit processor.

Unless you’ve changed your PC’s hardware, the presence of the ProgramFiles(x86) flag should tell which version of Windows you’re running. This will only appear if you’re on a 64-bit version of Windows.

Program Files

This simple trick is a spinoff of the Command Prompt method. Again, if your machine has never gone through a hardware change since installing Windows, the presence of multiple Program Files folders tells you everything that you need to know.

First, navigate to your C: drive in Windows Explorer.

If you’re running a 32-bit version of Windows, you should only see the Program Files folder (and all programs inside of it will be 32-bit).

However, for 64-bit versions of Windows, the Program Files folder will contain 64-bit applications, while the Program Files (x86) folder will contain all 32-bit applications.

The 64-bit versions of Windows have backward compatibility with 32-bit applications, but the 32-bit versions of Windows cannot run 64-bit applications. This is why the folders are structured this way.

If you’d like to know more, check out Help Desk Geek’s article explaining why 64-bit Windows needs two Program Files folders.

Task Manager

While this method takes a bit more effort than the others, it also provides information specific to the applications you’re currently running.

There will now be a Platform column that displays the software architecture of each of your running processes.

It should quickly be easy to figure out which version of Windows you’re running based on this: 32-bit will have no 64-bit applications shown, while 64-bit versions of Windows are apparent if even a single application is 64-bit.

As the number of newly released systems running a 32-bit architecture continue to plummet, the confusion between 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows will become less of a problem. Until then, though, it’s

How To Sort And Remove Junk Files From Your Android Phone

Android phones of this age have a generous amount of inbuilt storage but if you’ve come to own your device for an extended period of time, you might have ended up accumulating a pile of junk on it. These files aren’t dumped inside a particular folder so that you can easily delete them but are the result of installing and uninstalling a ton of apps, browsing through the web, and downloading files.

In order to speed up your sluggish phone and free up its storage, you’ll need to find a service that actually does the job, unlike the thousands of cleaner apps that are present on Google Play. Enter – SD Maid. The app, unlike its popular counterparts, can find and delete leftover files from uninstalled apps, duplicate files, superfluous files from the system, and optimize databases.

How to sort and remove junk files from your Android phone

In this guide, we’ll help you search and find junk files on your Android device and remove them so that you may retain some additional storage and also speed up your phone at the same time.

Step 1: Download and install the SD Maid and SD Maid Pro – Unlocker apps from Google Play. The latter of the two is a paid app but for the price you pay, you get all additional features present on SD Maid.

Step 2: Open the SD Maid Pro – Unlocker app and tap on Launch SD Maid at the bottom.

This will activate all the Pro features of SD Maid and also open the SD Maid app on your screen.

Step 3: Tap on the Scan button at the bottom to start checking for redundant files.

SD Maid will now check for files from uninstalled apps, duplicate files, databases and expendable files.

Step 4: After the scan is complete, tap on the Run now button. This button will also display the size of the junk files that will be cleared up during the process.

Step 5: Confirm the deletion process by tapping Run.

SD Maid will now start deleting the detected junk files from your internal storage.

Finding and deleting duplicate files

On many occasions, the space on your phone gets crowded simply because of your media files and how often you share them. Sometimes, your phone and the apps you use create a duplicate of files that you’re sharing to others and sometimes, you yourself might have created one for a particular use.

Related: How to remove duplicate contacts easily

In addition to removing junk files, you can also sort through other folders in your storage and find duplicates through SD Maid. SD Maid will only display the fiches that are exactly the same by comparing sizes and checksums without keeping in mind the date of creation and names of files. In order to find and delete duplicate files on SD Maid follow these steps:

Step 1: Tap on the hamburger menu at the top left and select Duplicates.

Step 2: Inside this page, tap on the circle arrow icon at the bottom right to start searching for duplicate files on your storage.

You will be shown a list of duplicate files that are present and can be cleared up. A bunch of duplicate files will be clubbed inside a single box displaying their file sizes, the location they’re saved to and their date of creation. This will help you sort which files you need to delete and which one you might need to keep.

Step 3: To manually delete a duplicate file, tap on any of the two or more files and hit Delete.

Step 4: If you wish to mass-delete your duplicate files, tap on the wand bubble at the bottom right, and let SD Maid select your duplicate based on location data. After that, tap on the trash icon at the bottom right and confirm by tapping Delete.

Scheduling automatic removal of junk files

When it comes to cleaning up your device, you might find yourself forgetting about it and often, delaying it for a later time, only to realize that the storage on your phone is full and needs to be cleared ASAP. SD Maid doesn’t only clear your storage when you’re using the app but you can also schedule it to do the clean up for you after regular intervals.

In order to set up automatic cleaning through SD Maid, follow the instructions:

Step 1: Tap the hamburger icon at the top left corner of the SD Maid home screen and select Scheduler.

Step 2: On the next page, tap on the toggle adjacent to the type of cleaner you want to enable for scheduling. You can choose from CorpseFinder, SystemCleaner, AppCleaner, Duplicates, and Databases. When you enable a particular section, a sub-section labeled Delete will pop up, tapping which will allow SD Maid to not only look out for unnecessary files but also give them the permission to delete them on its own.

For best results, you can enable all of SD Maid’s cleaners with the Delete option except for Duplicates since the latter might sometimes include important files that you wouldn’t want to remove.

Step 3: In this step, you will be setting a schedule that the SD maid app should follow to automatically search for junk files and remove them. You can do so by tapping the clock icon at the top right, setting the time for the cleaning process and then sliding through the bar below the clock for adjusting the schedule interval. You can wish to schedule SD Maid’s auto-cleaning between once in a day to once every 31 days.

Step 4: Tap Set to confirm scheduling the automatic removal of junk files.

Clearing system files

Step 1: Tap the hamburger icon at the top left corner of the SD Maid home screen and select SystemCleaner.

Step 2: Tap on the circle arrow icon at the bottom right to start searching for unnecessary files from your system.

Step 3: SD Maid will show you a list of cleanups that needs to be done. In order to clear up your storage by deleting unnecessary files from your system, tap on the trash icon at the bottom right and then tap Delete.

Step 4 (optional): You can filter the kind of system files you want to remove by tapping on the cogwheel icon at the top right and selecting the toggles adjacent to the options you want to enable for SystemCleaner.

Removing unnecessary application files

SD Maid removes files that are no more essential to running an application on your phone or can be easily retained. For instance, a music app will save album covers on your device as thumbnails and sometimes these images could occupy hundreds of megabytes on your storage. The same goes for other applications present in your phone.

SD Maid will help users regain back some memory by finding these unnecessary application files and removing them from their respective folders. You can do so by following the steps given below:

Step 1: Tap the hamburger menu at the top left and select AppCleaner.

Step 2: Inside this page, tap on the circle arrow icon at the bottom right to start searching for unnecessary files from your apps. Once the search is complete, you will be shown a list of apps that no longer require some files. The number of unnecessary files and the expected storage to be cleared will be displayed for each app in their respective boxes.

Step 3: Clear the unnecessary application files by tapping on the red trash icon at the bottom right and confirm by tapping Delete.

Analyzing folders by size

While SD Maid is primarily used for cleaning purposes, the app can also help you search and find which folder takes up most of your space. The inbuilt Storage analyzer tool can be used to show files and folders sorted by size and will continue to show up inside every folder you open through it.

Step 1: Tap the hamburger menu at the top left and select ‘Storage analyzer’.

Step 2: Tap on the circle arrow icon at the bottom right to start scanning your storage.

Step 3: Once the app has analyzed the space, tap on the main directory and subdirectories to check which of your files and folders are taking up the most space. For example, tapping on the WhatsApp folder showed us different folders with a graphical representation of how much space a particular folder takes up.

Step 4: If there’s a file or folder you want to delete, long-press on it, tap on the trash icon at the top right and confirm by tapping ‘Delete’.


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