Mobile malware is being developed, refined and distributed at an extraordinary rate. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to determine if you have been infected and, if you have, what you can do to remediate the issue. If you are at all suspicious that you have downloaded malware, you should trust your instincts and take action, but there are certain signs you can look for that signal a malware infection on your smartphone.
What is malware?
Criminal organizations with significant expertise and resources are finding lucrative targets in small and large businesses, ensnaring them in intricate schemes that can include a combination of malicious code, false identities that take advantage of trusted relationships and simple human error.
Programs, apps, application programming interfaces (APIs) and websites can all carry malicious pieces of code that can not only “infect” a host device, but can also take less noticeable actions, like capture inputs, scrape information from contact lists, share location and mine cryptocurrencies — all of which can eventually result in stolen credentials, stolen identity, stolen resources or a ransomware attack.
Security awareness and suspicion
The biggest reason for the rise in security breaches and exploits is that most people have a trusting nature, even knowing that some free apps out there are fishy. There are two simple things you can do to prevent a malware infection: Maintain a higher level of skepticism and suspicion around technology, and put software or services in place to monitor for a breach.
Signs of infection
Some types of infection, called “exploits” by the security community, have a noticeable effect on the performance, reliability or function of a computer or mobile device — others do not. The most talented hackers will attempt to make their exploits act silently, without raising alarms from the unsuspecting users.
Statistically, there is a high likelihood you will encounter an infection many times throughout your life. Most of them won’t have an immediate or drastic effect, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do everything you can to avoid them. With this in mind, you should keep a keen eye out for the following signs of infection:
1: Speed reduction
Certain types of exploits are mostly interested in using the computing power in your device. Modern smartphones and tablets have processing power and storage that rival what you would have called a supercomputer just a few years ago, and unless you are an avid gamer or heavy multitasker, you probably don’t use much of that power during an average day.
You may notice that apps take longer to load or web pages pause before responding to clicks. There can, of course, be a lot of causes for this, and unsuspecting users usually just ignore it and blame the carrier or Wi-Fi — but keep in mind that speed reduction can be a symptom of a malware attack.
2: Battery life reduction
If your device is the target of an infection, quite often this will manifest as a noticeable degradation in the life of your battery. As is the case with speed reduction, most users have adapted to the idea that batteries become less efficient over time, making you all the more susceptible if you use an older device, when in fact it could be a malicious strain attacking your battery’s performance.
3: Device temperature
An unmistakable sign of an active phone is heat. Especially while idle, your device shouldn’t be particularly warm to touch. Both the processors and the power being consumed by active antennae generate significant heat when they are busy for extended periods of time, which may suggest computation and communication are happening beyond the typical background alerts and updates.
Rather than hope that intuition is enough to identify the presence of malware before it does damage, you can install a modern antivirus tool that applies artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to identify threats at the code level.
Early antivirus software would use scans of your storage to see if a virus could be spotted. This method, however, is no longer terribly effective. As new viruses were created, software updates became necessary to identify viruses, which delayed discovery by days or even weeks and often slowed down other operations.
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Modern antivirus software does a great deal more in an intelligent and adaptive fashion. It is so different, in fact, that some professionals classify it as endpoint protection or endpoint detection software. Modern antivirus software doesn’t need constant updates to find new threats. Using built-in AI algorithms, the software identifies suspicious code before it runs and then quarantines any malicious programs. Every computer running these protections can contribute information to the AI, so the algorithm becomes smarter on its own.
How do I remove malware?
The range of malware types makes it difficult to identify a single set of steps or processes for removing all types of exploits. Some organizations, such as the University of Colorado, that have employees who regularly travel to high-risk countries may ask these employees to leave their computing devices at home or destroy them upon return.
Short of pulverizing your smartphone, there are a few things you can try:
- Delete your browser cache
- Uninstall any unused apps
- Install a modern antivirus that can quarantine infected files and apps
- Reset your device to factory settings
- Ensure the latest OS and security updates are installed
When it comes to onboard security protections, some mobile device manufacturers set higher standards than others. Samsung’s devices with Samsung Knox have a hardware-protected core that can help ward off exploits.
Malware today can develop just as quickly as traditional antivirus software cycles updates, with diabolical sophistication and broad variety. If you want to prevent infection on your device, a modern antivirus solution is strongly recommended.
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It’s a bizarre proposition that a battery can have a virus, because batteries are not connected digitally in series or in parallel. Hence, each cell has its own coping mechanism although it does share its energy with others. However, a phone can have a virus that could affect its performance. Therefore we may wonder, can an android phone battery have a virus through those malicious alerts?
The Signs an Android Phone Battery Could Be Under Attack
Begin your research by looking for battery symptoms. Malware can affect a phone battery to make it drain faster. It can spitefully redirect your searches, or load commercials you don’t want. Your phone provider can thoughtfully load apps you do not need. These things all affect battery life if ignored
You are, however, largely free of third parties loading covert apps, unless you jump ship and jailbreak your phone. Never jailbreak, you lose protection for your phone. Understand their motives; they want your personal data. Never leave you phone with a service provider you don’t trust. Unless you never plan to enter a pin or a password on your device forever after. Thats as improbable as finding gold at the bottom of your garden.
The Five Warnings of Malware that You Should Know
If your phone bills are racking up, or your airtime is draining fast there is a chance some is using it to spread spam through a botnet. If your data consumption spikes, ask android by going to the settings > data usage > wireless networks > data usage. Then tap ‘set mobile data usage’ to impose a limit.
Your battery may be draining twice as fast, since malware runs in the background while you work or play. Try to remember any recent messages or apps that seemed strange. If in doubt, run a scan with your security app of choice. Malware uses RAM as it goes about its business. To check, tap apps > running: to see what is currently happening.
Your Carrier, Your Location, or The Weather Perhaps?
If you are dropping calls or experiencing disruptions, then malware may be interfering with your phone function. Of course, your carrier, your location, or the weather might also be the reason. If you don’t have an old phone or finger problems and there’s no thunder, then any of the above warnings may mean you need security software. To answer the question: Can an android phone battery have a virus? No, but your phone could, and it could affect your battery performance.
How to Keep Android Going Longer
Could Our Smartphone Batteries Read Our Minds?
Preview Image: Android Baby Steps Sooner
How to remove a virus from an Android phone
Viruses and other types of malware
What can viruses and other malware do to Android phones?
Signs your Android phone may have a virus or other malware
How to check for viruses and other malware on your Android phone
How to remove viruses and other malware from your Android device
Tips to help protect your Android device against viruses and other malware
Viruses and other types of malware
Malware is malicious software that can sneak onto your phone. Written with the intent to cause harm, malware can include viruses, computer worms, Trojans, ransomware, and spyware.
Cybercriminals can use malware to access your personal data and, in some cases, subsequently use that sensitive information to commit identity theft or fraud.
Viruses are a particular type of malware that infiltrate a computer or other device and their programs. A cybercriminal may be able to install a virus on your device without your knowledge or consent. The virus may then be able to insert new, malicious code on your device that can monitor and manipulate your online activity.
What can viruses and other malware do to Android phones?
Malware is designed to generate revenue for cybercriminals.
Malware can steal your information, make your device send SMS messages to premium rate text services, or install adware that forces you to view web pages or download apps.
Info stealers can steal your contact list, your personal information, your location, your passwords, and more.
With the aid of malware, cybercriminals can access your devices and steal your information for their own use or to sell on the dark web.
Hackers also use ransomware to lock devices and encrypt personal data. Then they can demand a ransom payment from the victim in order to regain access to their files.
Signs your Android phone may have a virus or other malware
Phones can be vulnerable to damage externally and internally. While the external damage is usually visible, internal damage is usually hidden from view.
Malware like viruses are known to perform repeated tasks that can take up resources on your devices. Signs of malware may show up in these ways.
- Your phone is too slow.
- Apps take longer to load.
- The battery drains faster than expected.
- There is an abundance of pop-up ads.
- Your phone has apps you don’t remember downloading.
- Unexplained data usage occurs.
- Higher phone bills arrive.
How to check for viruses and other malware on your Android phone
A good way to check for malware on your Android phone is to run an antivirus scan.
Before buying antivirus software for your phone, make sure you consider the most comprehensive product that’s available for your device.
There are many antivirus software choices available on the market. Some are free, and some are sold.
It’s a good idea to do your research to ensure the security software you invest in runs a complete scan and doesn’t overlook any vulnerabilities. An incomplete scan could give you a false sense of security when, in fact, your device could be vulnerable to cyberattacks.
Norton Mobile Security for Android is one product you might consider.
How to remove viruses and other malware from your Android device
If you think you have malware on your phone, it’s important to stop the malware from causing any further damage. Here are a few steps you can take.
- Power off the phone and reboot in safe mode. Press the power button to access the Power Off options. Most Android phones come with the option to restart in Safe Mode. Here’s how, according to Google, although Safe Mode can vary by phone: Press your phone's power button. When the animation starts, press and hold your phone's volume down button. Hold it until the animation ends and your phone restarts. You'll see “Safe mode” at the bottom of your screen.
- Uninstall the suspicious app. Find the app in Settings and uninstall or force close it. This may not completely remove the malware, but it could prevent further damage to your device, or from it transmitting the malware to other devices on your network.
- Look for other apps you think may be infected. There’s a chance that some apps may have been infected by the malware. If you think you can identify those apps, delete them immediately.
- Install a robust mobile security app on your phone.
Tips to help protect your Android device against viruses and other malware
Here are seven key steps you can take to help protect against future risks.
- Invest in and use robust security software to protect your Android device.
- Keep all operating systems and software updated with the latest versions.
- Don’t click on suspicious or unfamiliar links in emails and text messages.
- Use strong, complicated passwords or a password manager.
- Never use unsecure Wi-Fi connections. Always use a VPN when connecting to public Wi-Fi.
- Always use strong cyber safety protection on all devices that connect to the internet.
- Always install apps from trusted sources, such as the Google Play Store. Read the fine print and permissions on the apps to understand how much access you are giving the app developers.
It’s a good idea to not wait until your device gets infected. Make protecting your Android device a priority. Having good antivirus software that helps protect your PCs, tablets, and other Android devices could help prevent malware from spreading from device to device.
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Android virus may be draining your battery and you should remove it NOW
Millions of Android devices ran malware that users had downloaded from the official Google Play store, according to security researchers. This affected users phones by draining their battery more quickly than usual.
The malicious software, called Andr/Clickr-ad, hid within other apps - including Sparkle Flashlight, which was downloaded a million times.
Other apps like Snake Attack, Magnifeye and Neon Pong were also affected along with many more - a full list is available from Sophos.
The slightly odd thing about Clickr-ad is that in some cases it made Android devices look as if they were running Apple's iOS. This was so the malicious software creators could defraud ad networks with fake ad clicks from fake devices.
That worked because, apparently, advertisers are prepared to pay more money to reach Apple iPhone users.
The malware didn't pretend all users were on iPhones, which may be part of the reason it wasn't detected as advertising fraud at first. Instead devices with apps installed would vary their device identities to show a mix of devices and platforms.
To maintain this the malware needed to be running constantly. If "force close" was used it would re-open three minutes later. It also downloaded new versions of itself every 10 minutes, draining mobile data and the phone battery.
Users would have no idea that any of this was happening. Instead the phone would be busy working away in the background, using a hidden web browser to click adverts - thus generating money.
According to Sophos the apps were removed, by Google, around November
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However users who installed the malware will still be participating in this network of devices designed to make money for nefarious developers.
The only way to remove the troublesome software is run a mobile antivirus app. These can be found in the Google Play store but are often themselves fronts for malicious activity.
However Sophos, who wrote about these exploits, has software it say can detect and remove this particular malware. It's also available for free, according to the company.
Users could also perform a factory reset on their device, but this would remove everything. If you're planning on this you must make a backup of photos, music and other data first.
Galaxy battery virus samsung
How to remove a virus from an iPhone or Android phone
Whether they’re stealing your data, using your phone to mine cryptocurrencies, or siphoning money out of your bank account, smartphone viruses can be a nightmare. Luckily, you can discover and remove malware on both iOS and Android phones.
The word “virus” technically refers to a specific kind of malware that spreads through infected files. However, most people use “virus” to mean malware in general, so we’ll use the terms interchangeably here.
In this article, you’ll get a complete picture of how malware ends up on your phone, what it does, how to remove it, and how to avoid it in the future.
To start, let’s look at how to find whether your phone is infected with malware.
The easiest way to remove malware is using a quality antivirus. TotalAV has apps for both iOS and Android and can provide good protection against most malicious programs.Protect yourself with TotalAV
How to protect your phone from viruses
Phone malware is just like your physical health: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Protecting yourself against malware is not too difficult for most people who aren’t high-value targets, but it takes some forethought:
- Consider installing a strong antivirus like TotalAV on your phone.
- Don’t install apps from third-party app stores.
- Don’t jailbreak or root your phone.
- Keep your phone updated. If you no longer receive timely software updates, purchase a new phone.
- Be careful and exercise caution when installing apps, browsing the web, and following instructions.
How do I know if my phone has a virus?
Before taking any drastic measures to rid yourself of malware, you should verify that your phone issues are, in fact, caused by viruses. Viruses can be tricky to find because their symptoms are similar to the symptoms of other phone issues. In general, if you have multiple issues that you can’t easily explain, you might have malware.
1. Overheating or battery drain
Some kinds of malware mine Bitcoin, click on ads, or perform other nefarious tasks in the background that cause your phone to heat up. Aside from worse performance and battery life (covered in the next section), this processor-intensive malware can make your phone hot.
Not all phone overheating is malware-related, but this is a fairly common symptom that you shouldn’t ignore.
Similarly, malware such as cryptocurrency miners and worms can drain your phone’s battery.
That said, most battery drain issues aren’t caused by malware. Check Settings > Battery > Battery Health on iOS or an app like AccuBattery on Android to see if your battery has degraded. Over time, batteries start to hold less charge. This isn’t something you can reverse; it’s just how batteries work.
If your battery is quickly being drained, check which apps are using your battery, then make sure the battery hasn’t degraded. If there is no good explanation for why your battery is draining so fast, you might have malware.
2. Unexpected ads, redirects, or pop-ups
Malware generally exists to make money for its maker. Sometimes, this means inundating you with ads. If sites or apps that are normally ad-free or ad-light suddenly become filled with ads, pop-ups, and redirects to sketchy sites, here are some possibilities:
- The service has changed ownership or been compromised.
- Your network is injecting ads into insecure (HTTP) connections.
- Your phone has viruses or malware.
Although this particular symptom is somewhat rare on iOS, it used to be quite common on Android. Most of the time—especially when a trusted app is covered by an ad—the issue is caused by malware. If you are an Android user and are currently having problems with unwanted apps, follow this guide on how to stop pop-up ads on Android.
3. Unwanted, suspicious new apps
Finding apps you don’t remember installing is a huge red flag.
Before you start worrying about malware, check to make sure that you’re not signed into a shared iCloud or Google account. Both iOS and Android have features that can sync apps across devices, so it’s possible that you share an account with someone else and they installed the app.
To check whether you're using Family Sharing on iPhone, go to Settings > [your name] > Family Sharing.
On Android, go to Google Play > Account > Family.
If this isn’t the case, malware is a likely explanation for the unwanted apps appearing on their own.
4. Extreme Data Usage
Unlike legitimate apps, phone malware doesn’t care about your data plan. If an app you hardly use eats up tons of data—or worse, you get a huge phone bill from data usage but can’t find the culprit—you might have a virus.
Can an iPhone get a virus?
Yes. Although Apple does a very good job protecting the security of iPhone users, you can still inadvertently install malware on your iPhone. Malware on iOS generally comes from one of a few places:
- Jailbreaking. When you jailbreak your phone to install apps and tweaks that aren’t approved by Apple, you can mistakenly install malicious software as well. Jailbreaking inherently involves bypassing the iPhone’s security restrictions.
- Compromised networks. Although this issue isn’t technically malware, it presents similar symptoms. Pop-ups and unexpected ads on insecure sites (HTTP, not HTTPS) are symptoms of a compromised network.
- Stolen iCloud credentials. Again, this issue is not necessarily malware. However, if a hacker steals your Apple ID credentials, they can do all sorts of things to your devices and accounts, so it’s just as dangerous as actual malware.
- Security bypasses due to old software. New iOS versions nearly always include fixes for critical security issues. Historically, many iOS devices have been compromised through known vulnerabilities that were already patched in newer iOS updates.
- Nation-state-level hacking. Human rights activists, journalists, and other high-value targets are frequently attacked by governments and other powerful adversaries. One extremely advanced example was likely government-commissioned and could not be stopped until Apple patched the vulnerabilities.
Can an Android phone get a virus?
Yes. Even though Google has greatly improved Android security, plenty of viruses are still out there. Here are a few of the most common places where viruses come from on Android:
- Third-party app stores. Users occasionally choose to get apps outside of the Google Play Store. Doing this can be dangerous, as these alternative stores aren’t subject to Google’s malware screening.
- Malicious Play Store apps. Although both Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store occasionally contain malware, the Play Store contains more total apps and less human screening. Google quickly removes any malicious apps from the Play Store as soon as they’re discovered, but millions of people have already installed malicious apps.
- Rooting. Like jailbreaking on iOS, rooting an Android device gives the user more control—at the expense of security features. The same is true for custom ROMs, which give users even more complete control.
- Google account compromise, security bypass due to old software, and nation-state-level hacking all work just the same on Android as they do on iOS.
How to remove a virus or other malware from an iPhone
As a result of the security features baked into iPhones, effective antivirus solutions for iOS practically do not exist. Antivirus software requires deep, unfettered access to the operating system’s internals, something that Apple is not keen to allow.
So, here are some steps you can take to get rid of a virus and different kinds of malware on your iPhone:
- Reboot your iPhone. Simple, unsophisticated viruses can be removed with a reboot. This kind of malware is known as non-persistent malware.
- Connect to a different network. Network-related issues can be solved by connecting to another network or using LTE instead of Wi-Fi. This might stop additional pop-ups and ads on HTTP sites. If doing this does not fix the issue, you’ll need to try more drastic measures.
- Change your iCloud password and add 2FA. Changing your iCloud password and adding two-factor authentication stops account takeovers. Be sure to also remove any unrecognized devices from your Apple ID.
- Perform a complete wipe of your iPhone. If all else fails, wiping your device completely should remove any trace of malicious software from the phone itself.
Performing a complete wipe
The most effective way to clean an iPhone of malware is to wipe it completely. However, using Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings is not enough when dealing with malware. Smart viruses may be able to survive that sort of wipe since it does not completely remove and reinstall the operating system.
To guarantee that every piece of software on your iPhone is set up anew, perform a complete wipe like this:
- Make a complete backup of your important data. Copy your photos, text messages, and other important data onto a trusted computer or another device.
- iCloud Backup is normally a great way to back up your phone, but it won’t work this time. Restoring a backup from iCloud could bring back the malware as well. Instead, manually copy all the data you want to keep.
- Put your device into recovery mode following Apple’s official instructions. The process differs slightly depending on which generation of iPhone you have.
- Plug your phone into a trusted Mac or Windows PC. Make sure you have iTunes installed if you’re using Windows.
- Choose Restore in the window that pops up. This will erase all the data on your device.
- Wait until your iPhone finishes installing iOS and set it up. Don’t restore from an iCloud backup—if you do, you might inadvertently bring back the virus.
- Install your apps and bring back your data. Be on the lookout for anything suspicious to avoid reinstalling malware.
How to remove a virus or other malware from an Android phone
Android works a little differently from iOS in a variety of ways. Apps have more access to the operating system, which is a double-edged sword. Android antivirus software can be legitimately effective, unlike iOS antivirus software. However, viruses can do more damage as well.
Try these steps to fix your malware problem and remove a virus from your Android phone:
- Remove unrecognized apps. Unrecognized apps will often be the culprit of your malware problems.
- Try a different network or connection method. Sometimes, your malware-like symptoms will be caused by the network you're connected to. If your problem is pop-ups and other similar issues, trying a different network may help to remedy them. You may also try switching between Wi-Fi and mobile data to see if that provides the fix you're looking for.
- Change your Google account password and add 2FA
- Use a strong password and two-factor authentication on your Google account. This will neutralize possible account takeovers, stopping attackers in their tracks.
- Perform a complete wipe of your Android device
Wiping your phone should be taken as a last resort, but it will fix the overwhelming majority of malware issues.
Here’s how to wipe your phone effectively:
- Make a backup of your data onto a trusted computer. Don’t rely on Google’s backup features.
- Remove your Google account, lock screen passcode, and manufacturer’s account like a Samsung account (depending on your phone brand).
- Factory reset your phone. This setting will be in a different location depending on your phone manufacturer.
Can smartphones get malware?
Yes. Just like computers, smartphones can get infected with malware. It can enter the system through infected apps, email attachments, and suspicious links.
Which antivirus program is the best for smartphones?
There are lots of good antivirus apps for mobile phones. If you want the best protection possible, you can download Bitdefender or Avira.
Can a factory reset remove malware?
Yes. Performing a factory reset on your phone will get rid of nearly all kinds of malware. However, there exist a few advanced kinds of infections like the xHelper Trojan that can survive a factory reset.
More Anti-Virus guides from CyberNews:
Best Antivirus Apps for iPhone & iPad: increase your online safety even more with these tools
Best Antivirus Apps for Android: protect your phone against all types of malware
Best Free Antivirus Software & Protection: don't spend a dime and get the best tools for the job
Maybe you’ve seen a message like “Your Battery Is Badly Damaged by (4) Virus!” on your smartphone. Is this a scam, or can a virus damage a phone battery?
While viruses cannot directly attack a smartphone battery, some apps can run in the background draining power making it appear damaged. The long-term presence of malware on a mobile device can cause battery damage. More commonly, some scams falsely claim a user’s battery has been compromised to offer a fake solution.
Keep reading to learn how phishing schemes work and how you can avoid being a victim. We’ll discuss battery virus scams, tips to prevent and remove viruses, and whether Apple iOS or Google Android has a better operating system to deal with viruses.
Do Battery Viruses Exist?
Battery viruses exist as a type of scam. Computer viruses primarily attack software, not hardware. But, fraudsters often create malware to generate a problem which often involves draining a battery. These phishing scams sometimes referred to as scareware, place blame on a battery virus that has been contracted elsewhere.
This means that the pop-up telling you that your battery has been damaged by several viruses is likely scareware. If this happens to you, never follow or tap on a notification or pop-up claiming to help you “remove the virus.”
By the way, ever wonder if a computer virus is alive?
Can a virus drain your battery?
Yes, purpose-built viruses or poorly-coded apps contribute to smartphone battery drain. Wasteful processing, unnecessary screen-on time, and high data transmissions drain power quickly. The produced heat, frequent recharges, and a protective case reduces battery lifespan resulting in the need to replace the device sooner.
This is the fear tactic scammers leverage while informing victims their device’s battery has already been damaged. They attempt to get users to download their apps. In reality, their “fix it” apps cause problems by:
- Re-opening themselves after you have closed them.
- Running in the background.
- Draining your battery faster by using your phone’s resources.
This behavior makes mobile phone users believe their battery is really damaged and makes them prey to the scam.
What Are Phishing Scams?
Typically, malicious software containing viruses gather information directly from your mobile device or computer. Phishing scams simply try to get you to voluntarily give up your sensitive information or download malware unknowingly.
How Phishing Scams Work
In the case of so-called “battery viruses,” the scammers will claim to be offering an antivirus software that will rid you of the problem.
When you click the link, it takes you to a convincing but fake site that prompts you to create an antivirus account. In creating an account, the attackers will ask you to enter everything from your email to your banking information.
5 Common Indicators That Your Phone Has a Virus
There are many signs you can watch out for if you suspect you might have a virus. Below are five of the most common warning signs:
- More pop-ups than usual: If you are seeing lots of pop-ups, chances are you have malicious software on your mobile phone.
- You’re using more data: Many viruses operate in the background while connected to the web and run up your data. If your phone habits haven’t changed, but your data usage is out of control, chances are you have a virus.
- Unexpected charges: Mobile malware can automatically use services that increase your phone bill.
- Spam text: Lots of spam text messages indicate malware on your phone. Never click on any links in spam messages, as they are often damage-causing.
- Hot phone: When playing games requiring heavy processing power, you may notice your phone gets hot. But, if your device gets hot during normal phone function without running anything intensive, this may be a sign you have a malware issue.
- Drained battery: Though viruses don’t directly attack your battery, they can cause it to drain much more quickly.
Got other battery-related questions? Here are 15 FAQs on smartphone batteries…including which smartphone brand has the best battery.
Tips to Prevent and Get Rid of Viruses
The old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” couldn’t be more accurate when it comes to malicious software and viruses. Here are some essential tips to help:
- Stick to apps from trusted sources. If you don’t recognize the company that has produced a particular app, search the internet to check for virus complaints. Though Android OS accounts for 97% of mobile viruses, only % actually come from the Google Play Store.
- Use only highly-reviewed mobile browsers. Stick to using well-known web browsers like Google Chrome, Apple Safari, or Mozilla Firefox installed from your main app store. Advanced smartphone users can also consider other web browsers on the app stores based on Chrome or Firefox.
- Close pop-ups without clicking on anything. Close any browser windows with a pop-up or swipe away unknown notifications that say you have a battery virus or won a contest.
- Use antivirus apps. Typically it’s unnecessary to use mobile antivirus. But if you frequently download apps to review new offerings or visit suspect websites, consider installing a mobile security app with antivirus software. Companies like Bitdefender make software for both iOS and Android.
Steps to Take If You Have a Phone Virus
If you’ve already downloaded malicious software or have been tricked into giving up personal information, here is what you need to do:
- Remove recently installed suspicious apps.
- Clear browser history or reset your browser’s app data.
- Be on high alert for any suspicious account activity at your bank, email service provider, and social networks. Also, consider monitoring for identity theft.
- If you’re genuinely concerned, perform a factory reset of your phone in the most extreme cases.
Pro Info: Performing your smartphone’s factory reset will extend its life and potentially reduce your mobile bill. With fewer apps running, consuming resources like power and mobile data, you’ll be able to budget for a better phone. Remember to back up your critical data before running the reset.
Is an iPhone or Android Better for Avoiding Viruses?
iPhones are widely considered to be less susceptible to viruses than Android-based phones for several reasons, including:
- Source code: Apple closely guards the source code behind its mobile operating system, iOS. This makes finding vulnerabilities in the mobile OS much harder. Android phones, on the other hand, rely heavily on open-source code.
- Popularity: Android is the best-selling mobile operating system because it is used on many different phone models. This makes it a bigger target than iPhones.
- Store Options: Unless you jailbreak an iPhone, the Apple Store is the only place to get apps. With an Android phone, however, there are alternative ways to install apps that are less trusted.
Virus from Jailbreaking an iPhone
Jailbreaking your iPhone so that you can use software generally prohibited by your iOS may sound like an attractive idea. But, it can actually lead to a higher chance of receiving a malware infection.
A jailbroken iPhone bypasses many of the security features that would ordinarily protect you from accidentally downloading malicious software become disabled.
It is best practice to stick to using the official Apple Store if you want to avoid the chances of downloading malware to your iPhone.
Virus from Side Loading or Alternative App Stores on Android
Sideloading is when you download and install apps or data from sources other than the Google Play Store onto your Android phone.
Though the Google Play store requires apps to be certified safe, not all the alternative app stores enact the same due diligence. Installed apps from other stores can wreak havoc for average phone users.
We’ve listed a few ways that may help ensure that the apps you’re planning to sideload are safe below.
- Use mobile security software: Mobile security (antivirus) software can help detect and remove malicious apps. It’s a good idea to have it on your phone before experimenting with sideloading apps downloaded from alternative stores.
- Check the alternative app store: Use only well-known alternative app stores like F-Droid or the Amazon App Store.
- Check reviews and developer’s reputation: Always check both the reviews for the individual app and the developer’s reputation to avoid surprise malware.
- Look for red flags: If an app asks for more permissions or information than usual, this may be a sign of something fishy. Immediately delete any app that is requesting extra information.
Viruses Stealing Personal Data
Smartphone viruses are notorious for stealing personal data off of victim’s phones. This can include passwords, information about your device, compromising photographs, or even banking information.
The good news is that there are several ways you can avoid this happening to you, such as:
- Use reputable mobile security software.
- Stick to the official app stores as they are far more secure than third-party sources.
- Keep your cell phone’s apps and operating system up-to-date.
- Ensure apps don’t ask for more information or permissions than they need to work.
- Do not click on links that come from spam emails or texts..
- Be wary of using public WiFi.
- Use encryption software to further prevent hackers from gaining access to your data.
A virus cannot directly damage your battery. However, some malicious apps (particularly on Android phones) run in the background to make your battery look like it has been damaged by a virus. Scammers then try to offer you a solution and trick you into giving over your personal information.
We’ve shared several simple steps to protect your phone from being damaged by a virus. Stay vigilant, and your phone should remain virus-free!
The Brighter Side did a great round-up video ([email protected]) of nine signs your smartphone might have a virus.
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