Just like humans, phones can get viruses too. While a regular virus will replicate itself as it’s running on your computer, viruses on phones target vulnerable points in your operating system for financial profit, data-mining, or to corrupt a network. Data sharing capabilities are usually prohibited between applications, but some have been flagged for mishandling data, making its users more vulnerable to viruses and attacks.
How to Tell if Your Phone Has a Virus – 8 Signs
While some viruses restrict certain functions of your phone, some have more ill-disposed intention – to take and remove data or make unapproved purchases. People don’t often recognize a virus the first time around since malware can be dormant on your phone.
Unfortunately, even if you’re taking all the right steps to stop them, viruses may still infect your phone. Here’s how to know if your phone has a virus.
- Excessive data usage: An infected phone may significantly increase overall data usage because of an active, undetected virus working in the background.
- Unauthorized charges: Some forms of trojan viruses may increase your phone bill with unauthorized in-app purchases and send orders to hacker accounts.
- Apps crashing: If the software on your smartphone is infected, you’ll start noticing some apps crash more frequently. There are several reasons why apps crash, so check your storage and make sure you don’t have too many apps running before assuming it’s a virus.
- Pop-ups: While most pop-ups nowadays are a normal part of advertising while surfing the web, if you have a closed browser and you’re still getting pop-ups, you may be experiencing adware, a variety of malware with data-mining intentions.
- Low battery life: If a virus is running in the background of your phone, you may notice an inexplicable drain of your battery with increased RAM use.
- Unknown apps: If you see apps that you are confident you didn’t download, they may have been put there by malware. Trojan horses can connect themselves to your favorite applications and cause additional damage.
- Overheating: Malware can eat up RAM and the CPU quickly, which can cause your device to heat up. While it’s a normal part of a phone’s life to overheat occasionally, this chronic overheating could also be a flag that there’s something more serious going on.
- Spam texts: A common symptom of malware is collecting sensitive data and infecting your contacts by sending spam texts with virus-filled links.
Types of Mobile Viruses
There are many types of viruses. The most common mobile viruses are ransomware, adware, spyware, trojan horses, and worms. While the word virus has become universally accepted for any kind of safety risk, a virus is, in fact, a particular form of malware—just one type in a world of threats. Viruses can be concealed behind applications, bogus emails, or tainted attachments. Hackers continuously fine-tune their approach to find new ways to infiltrate your phone in the most unexpected ways.
How to Remove Virus From Phone
To manually eliminate the harmful viruses from your device, follow these steps.
Note: Steps will vary from phone manufacturers. Look for similar actions on your phone.
- Restart your device in Safe Mode so that only System Applications remain operational.
- Go to App settings and remove all the recently installed applications one by one. Make a list of the apps you want to get rid of and the ones you’re going to reinstall.
- Once you uninstall your applications, reboot your phone in normal mode, and monitor for the previously mentioned symptoms.
- Keep repeating the steps above until you uncover the culprit.
- After the virus-infected apps are removed, you can reinstall your other apps.
How to Protect Yourself From a Phone Virus
While hackers will keep finding new ways to infect your phone, you can protect yourself from these attacks—your first line of defense – an antivirus software to shield your phone from malware. Be careful when downloading new apps and understand what they can access before you install them.
- Only install legit apps: Avoid third-party apps. Doing so reduces the uncertainty of downloading a dangerous app posing as legitimate software.
- Only use secure WIFI: Always connect to a secured WIFI or a VPN. This prevents hackers from disrupting the data flow to and from your device.
- Check app accessibilities: Read the terms and conditions before installing a third-party app. Look out for any verbiage that states the app may use personal info or change the terms without warning.
- Get antivirus software: Antivirus software is your best line of defense against unforeseen attacks. Update and run the software frequently and get rid of any threats it detects.
- Update your operating system: Operating system updates often repair bugs from previous versions.
- Stay away from suspicious messages: Malware can come in the form of text attachments or email links. Don’t open suspicious messages or click unfamiliar links as they may be fraudulent.
- Jailbreaking compromises your phone: When you jailbreak your smartphone, you’re exposed to all sorts of viruses and holes. Staying rooted allows needed updates and fixes to your operating system.
This year marked a significant milestone; there are over six billion smartphone users globally. With such prevalence, smartphones are only going to become a bigger target to hackers. But, with a little understanding of what you’re up against and preventative protection, your phone can stay safe.