In today’s online-driven world, you most likely understand cyber security. You may have antivirus software installed on your laptop, and you might even use a VPN to protect your identity while surfing the web.
However, when most people think of hackers and cybercriminals, they think of large-scale attacks on major enterprises or annoying viruses on your computer from visiting the wrong website. The truth is as the digital age switched from computers to smartphones, so did the hackers, making your smartphone just as vulnerable as your laptop.
Can Phones Really Get Viruses?
Although we have been raised to believe that Apple products like the iPhone are indestructible when it comes to online security, it is very possible that your phone can get a virus.
There are now viruses known as mobile malware. While traditional viruses that attack your laptop are known to constantly replicate, mobile viruses attack the weak points in your operating system for financial gain, data mining, or to corrupt a network.
These viruses can gain access to your system through unsecured websites and vulnerable apps that mishandle data.
Signs Your Phone Has a Virus
Just like traditional viruses, there are different levels of mobile malware. Some viruses will just disrupt the function of your phone.
Some are more malicious and are designed to steal data or make unauthorized purchases. While some mobile viruses are difficult to recognize, there are many signs that your smartphone may have been breached. So whether you use an iPhone or an android, here are the top signs your phone could be infected with mobile malware.
A. Unauthorized Charges
If you notice unrecognized charges for mobile apps or premium texting charges, you may have some form of trojan malware.
B. Excessive Data Usage
Even if you have unlimited data, you should check your usage. A phone that has been hacked may have significantly high data usage.
C. Crashing Apps
If a form of mobile malware compromises your phone, you may notice that your apps repeatedly crash or won’t open. However, before assuming the worst make sure your storage isn’t full or have a bunch of different apps running at the same time.
D. Increased Battery Drain
If you constantly need a charger, it could be a telltale sign that your phone has been corrupted. If malware is always running in the background of your smartphone, it could drastically drain your battery.
E. Spam Texts
If you are constantly getting texts from unrecognized numbers, your phone could have a form of malicious malware. These viruses are particularly dangerous as they can infect your contacts and send out hazardous links.
Another telltale sign that your phone has been infected is if your phone is overheating for no reason. Hackers have designed malware that directly affects the CPU of your device, causing your phone to overheat.
Of course, some pop-ups are normal while browsing the internet on any device, but if you notice pop-ups while your internet browser is closed, you most likely have a dangerous form of malware designed to steal your private data.
H. Unrecognized Apps
If you find an app on your phone that you know you never downloaded, your phone is most likely compromised by malicious mobile malware. In addition, trojan horses can also cling to safe applications and cause further damage.
Types of Mobile Malware
Like traditional viruses, there are different types of mobile malware. Viruses can be hidden behind emails, hazardous attachments, and even legitimate apps. Some of the most common mobile viruses come in the form of adware, ransomware, worms, spyware, and trojan horses.
How To Protect Your Smartphone From Viruses
Luckily like laptops and desktops, there are simple steps anyone can take to protect their data, finances, and mobile operating system from malicious mobile malware. Whether you swear by your android or are team iPhone all the way, here are the best ways to ensure your online safety while using your smartphone.
»Use Secure Wifi and VPN
While using your local coffee shop’s free wifi may seem like a great way to save data, you are opening up the possibility of hackers and cybercriminals stealing your online data. It is always important to use secure private Wifi whenever you can. Another way to protect your online identity while using a mobile device is by using a VPN.
Only Download Verified Apps
Whether you are looking for the next online game or helpful study apps, it is always important to make sure they are verified and legitimate. In addition, making sure you never download any third-party mobile app is essential to minimize the risk of a cyberattack.
i. Check App Permissions
It may seem like a daunting task but reading the terms and conditions of an unfamiliar app is crucial for your smartphone’s safety. While scrolling through the terms and agreements, keep a lookout for any suspicious wording regarding your personal information or the change of use without notification.
ii. Install Anti Virus Software
Antivirus software is not just for laptops and desktops anymore. If you are looking for a strong first line of defense against mobile malware, consider installing mobile antivirus software.
Don’t Open Suspicious Messages
If you receive strange emails or text messages, do not open them and delete them immediately. They could be holding hazardous links and dangerous attachments that could wreak havoc on your phone.
i. Update Your Operating System
Even though it can be time-consuming, always install the updates on your operating system. They usually help fix bush and any issues found in previous versions.
ii. Never Jailbreak Your Phone
Jailbreaking your phone puts you at a higher risk of cyberattacks and security breaches. You should always keep your mobile phone rooted to allow updates and patches on your operating system.
iii. Restore Your Phone
If you do find that you have a virus on your smartphone, consider restoring your phone to a previous version to irradicate the virus.
Stay Safe and Secure
Cyber security is just as important on your smartphone as it is on your laptop or desktop. Follow these guidelines to ensure your online safety.