Just like laptops, desktops or any other device with internet access, our phones are also vulnerable to viruses. Unfortunately, the smartphones that are so useful to us every day can be victims of malware attacks, through spyware, adware or ransomware programs, which you may unknowingly download in device memory.
And precisely because, most of the time, the malware “hides” behind the applications that you might be tempted to download, it becomes almost impossible to realize that your smartphone has been infected. There are, however, some signs that might give you something to think about.
We will tell you more about these, but also about the methods by which you can avoid exposure to viruses on your phone, in this material.
The situations described below could be signs that your phone has been infected.
Your phone shows pop-up ads that you can’t get rid of
If, when you open a certain application, your phone screen is “flooded” with pop-up ads, it’s very possible that your device has been infected with adware.
Whatever you do, don’t click on the ads that appear unnecessarily in the application you want to use. These pop-ups can even hide malware, which can steal your personal data or use your bank details to empty your accounts.
Phone battery drains faster
Although the batteries our phones use lose their properties over time, a sudden change in this regard would be a real cause for concern.
In other words, it is perfectly normal to notice, after a certain period of using the phone, that its battery does not last as well as it did on the first day. But if the battery percentages drop with the naked eye, although a few days before this did not happen, it is possible that your phone is controlled by malware.
Malware can dictate the phone to perform all kinds of operations in the background, which will cause the device’s battery to drain unreasonably quickly.
The phone is overheating
If used within parameters, if not exposed to high temperatures and if not left charging in the case, your phone should never feel hot to the touch. On the other hand, if you notice that the device has a high temperature, it is possible that this reaction is due to the exposure of the device to malware. It will overload the phone’s processor, which will cause the device to overheat.
We recommend you act as fast as you can by disconnecting it from the charging cable (if applicable) or even turning off the device. Left unattended, a hot phone can malfunction or even explode or cause a fire or burns.
The phone is slower than usual
Malware that you may have downloaded to your phone will overload its components, causing it to perform tasks that your smartphone would otherwise be able to handle more slowly. So, if you notice that your phone is moving much harder than before or freezes often, malware might be the reason.
The phone loses signal or Wi-Fi connection stability
If you notice that your calls suddenly hang up in the middle of a conversation, or that your phone loses its connection to the Internet, while others using the same Wi-Fi network are not complaining about these symptoms, it could be that the fault for these is exposure to malware. However, it is advisable to exclude the demagnetization option of the GSM card you are using, before suspecting the vulnerability of your device to the virus.
An app pops up on your phone that you don’t remember downloading
Even though hackers try to “tether” viruses to other apps you might want to download to your phone, there’s also the possibility that malware can make its way into your smartphone’s menu as a stand-alone app. Take a look at the list of apps and make sure you recognize them all.
In the unfortunate event that you notice a strange app, DO NOT OPEN IT, or uninstall it (as it may be part of your phone’s operating system), but reset your device to factory settings. This is the safest way to clean your phone of viruses. It would be ideal to make a regular backup, so as not to lose all the data you were used to finding in your phone (photos, contact list, application history or messages).
If you’re using an iPhone, go to Settings > General > Reset and wipe the device’s memory completely. If you have a Samsung phone, open Settings > General > Reset > Factory Data reset.
iOS vs. Android: which operating system is more vulnerable to viruses?
As you probably already know, Android phones use an open ecosystem, which can be seen as an advantage. In other words, the operating system with which phones from Samsung, Huawei or other brands work allows users to download applications from multiple platforms to their devices, something that might excite you at first sight.
But not if we think about the exposure of devices to possible viruses. Even though Google has made great progress recently to block from the virtual store applications that “come bundled” with a Trojan virus, the number of downloads that resulted in the theft of users’ banking data remained high .
If you use an iPhone and you smiled reading the paragraph above, it’s good to know that Apple devices are also exposed to viruses. While it’s true that iPhones are less vulnerable to malware infection than phones running Android, thanks to Apple’s rigorous approval process, that doesn’t mean these smartphones are immune to danger.
So, regardless of the mobile operating system you’ve opted for, it’s important to always pay attention to what and where you’re downloading. You never know when a seemingly harmless app might be hiding a virus that will control your device or steal your data.
How do you avoid getting viruses on your phone?
You can avoid being a victim of a cyber attack in the first place when you download new apps to your phone. Be very careful what and which apps you give permission to access your personal data or the data stored in your smartphone memory.
The safest method and the first one you can apply before downloading an application to your phone is, however, to check the reviews that other users have left next to it in the Store. Be careful, however, of reviews that are repeated or of ratings that are too high. These could be a sign that they are fake.
Also, be wary if an app you knew was free might ask for personal information other than just your name and email address, or bank details.
As a general rule, regardless of the application, you should only give it access to the features you expect it to need. If it’s a flashlight or compass app, for example, they won’t need access to your camera, contact list, or phone storage.