Mobile phones are essential as they are used for various purposes, which include surfing the internet. However, not all websites are entirely safe and provide an avenue for malware to get into the phone. They could cause the device to behave differently and hinder some of the normally active functions on the phones.
In this post, all of that is covered, as well as information on how to know when there is a virus, how to take them out, and much more.
How to tell if there is a Virus on your Phone
Getting traditional viruses on iOS and Android devices has not necessarily been found to be popular around. However, there have been cases of device compromise caused by other forms of malware and threats.
Viruses affecting the phones are usually limiting the functions of the phone, but that’s not all they do. Some other viruses have more malicious intentions, which include removing or stealing data for unauthorized reasons. It may be challenging to identify when a virus has affected your phone as it remains dormant while the phone is generally in use.
Thus, sure signs would help know if your phone has been affected by any virus. Here are some of the signs to look out for:
- Increased data consumption: The moment that your phone gets affected by a virus, it runs in the background and most times stay undetected. Therefore, the virus makes the level of data consumption would increase on a more noticeable level. It makes it vital that you check for any dormant malware in case that’s what is affecting the data usage as it could be a virus.
- Unbelievable charges: Some viruses begin to act as trojans when they affect the phone. Such could then make things like your phone bills go up, costing more money than would normally. Hackers could get the fraudulent charges on your phone through in-app purchases and text charges to premium accounts.
- Crashing Applications: The virus could affect your phone by compromising any software on the device and thus leads to a crash. However, check if the app crashing is due to whole storage or an overload of several apps running simultaneously on the phone. If it isn’t a result of such things, check out for a virus in your phone.
- Random Pop-ups: Pop-ups are convenient parts of advertising that come when you open certain websites or even applications. But, if the websites or applications are already closed, and the pop-ups continue displaying unusually, then it could be adware. Such viruses, the goal is to mine data directly from the victim’s phone.
- Decrease in battery health: Phones come with a pre-established battery condition which states how long the battery would last on a full charge. When you notice the battery drain a lot faster than usual, it could be a result of malware. This could be running in the background while regular cell use is happening and even fill up the phone’s RAM much frequently as well.
- Strange Apps: A virus affecting your phone from a website could mysteriously download apps that you did not manually opt for download. They appear with the help of trojan horses (malware hidden behind a software program) that connect themselves to apps you have approved explicitly for download. These unwanted apps could then cause harm to the phone, just like other viruses.
- Overheating: When malware attacks a device, it could make the CPU or RAM get overloaded much faster and frequently. The overloading is most likely a sign of a virus that has affected the phone. The overloading then makes the phone gen unnecessarily hot more often than it usually does.
- Spam texts and links: Hackers create malware and viruses to steal information or access private accounts. So, the viruses could affect your phone by sending spam texts containing links and dangerous attachments. This content, i.e., links and attachment, could then lead to further harm through your phone.
Ensure that you check for the slightest sign of a virus from time to time to ensure the total safety of your mobile phone. Note, each virus or malware affects differently, so do their symptoms on the operating system.
Types of Malware/Viruses that Affects Phones
The malware that can infect a phone is different, based on their functions. In this section are some of the possible malware that could be found to affect your phone through access to a website or any other channel.
Here are some of the malware and viruses that could affect the phone:
Just as worms in familiar situations, in this case, the standalone malware works by endlessly replicating itself. The virus has a way of spreading from just one device and then moves on to other devices. |
You can get the virus through SMS texts sent randomly to people, and it does not require any user interaction or information to get executed. The spread of the virus requires the phone user to open the message sent on the phone.
Unlike the worms, the trojan requires the use of user information and interaction to be executed on the mobile device. The trojan malware is usually found on applications and websites that pose as legitimate sources free of malicious intents. However, the moment they are activated, the virus could cause actual and terrible damage to the device and deactivate other applications.
Spyware is a more intentional and targeted type of virus that poses a threat to mobile phones by collecting the user’s personal information. It may be for malicious intents like phishing or spreading the information that has been collected.
The spyware works on the phone by synchronizing email accounts, notes, calendars, and other data available on the affected phone with the help of a remote server.
Ransomware is a form of malware or virus that functions by encrypting the user’s data like photos, videos, or documents. Such malware is always perpetrated by hackers who intend to collect a ransom to be paid for the files or documents to be released.
The payments are usually made with highly untraceable currencies, and if not, the case could lead to a permanent lock or clearing of the files.
Adwares are more prominent with websites that are not proven to be safe. Here, it works by automatic displays on the screen while surfing through a webpage or software. They could also work by downloading advertising materials such as pop-ups or banners while connected to the internet.
How to Remove a Virus From your Phone
Once you suspect that there could be a possible virus on your phone that may have been gotten from a website or any other sources, there are solutions to remedy the situation.
For this reason, there are possible solutions that we have highlighted in this section that you could try out. The solutions are spit to cover either an iPhone or an Android device. Check them out below!
From an iPhone
Even though the iPhone has been known to have a reliable operating system that shields it from viruses, it can still be affected by viruses on certain occasions. Notably, it has been reported that jailbreak or “rooted” phones could be more susceptible to software compromises.
Thus, to remove the virus from your iPhone, you would have to begin by erasing your data history on your default browser. However, if there are still traces of the virus on the iPhone, you may have to erase the existing data on the phone and then restore a previous backup.
The reset can be done through the factory setting as it is quite helpful in removing the virus. Here are the solutions to get it done:
- Solution one: To clear your browsing history and data, get to your settings, and locate your primary browser. Click on the option that allows you to clear history and website data just at the bottom of the page.
- Solution two: Bring back the backup version on your phone by going to settings and then clicking on your Apple ID. There, choose iCloud and then go to manage storage and also click on backups. Select the most recent backup available and then restore the backup.
- Solution three: To restore your phone to the factory setting is always the last option when the backup does not erase the virus. As a more specific option, it cleans out all the contents and settings configured on the phone. You can do this by opening your settings, navigating to the reset option, and clicking on the selection to erase all content and settings.
An iPhone can be difficult to get through as it is protected from such intrusion of viruses, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. Thus, when finally affected by a virus or malware, it can be hard to get it out as there is a limited and more strenuous option. So, ensure to check out all the solutions until the virus is entirely cleared out of the device.
From an Android Device
Unlike the iPhone, Android devices are configured with open-source code, which makes them particularly susceptible to viruses. Thus, one of the easiest ways to handle a malware attack is with the help of Antivirus software. However, this is not the only way to handle such occurrences; in this section are some of the solutions that can be used in dealing with a virus attack on your Android device.
Here are the other solutions:
- Solution one: Clear the cache of your browser by going to your phone settings. From there, click on Apps and Notification and then find your default browser. Click on the storage and then choose to clear the cache.
- Solution two: You can also boot your device in a safe mode to help you isolate and deal with the problem. Do this by long-pressing the power button until a dialogue box shows up, and then you can choose to reboot in a safe mode. Note that the process may differ based on the device, so try out adding the volume button if just the power button does not work. However, you can still check in the specific method for safe mode for your android device.
- Solution three: Locate any suspicious app that may have been downloaded on the phone by manually going through all the applications that are installed on the mobile device. Once you have identified the possible threat, then load the app information and uninstall it from your device.
- Solution four: Make use of the Play Protect built to several Android devices as a security measure. Thus, even though the Antivirus is an easier way to find or deal with any malware affecting your android device, the Play Protect can serve as a secondary source.
To enable the Play Protect feature by opening the Play Store App. Click on the menu at the top left corner of the page and then select the option that allows you to scan your device for possible security threats.
Each android device has different levels of securities, which affects the way a virus/malware can be eliminated. Thus, take note of this when trying a solution until you arrive at the final point and the virus is entirely gone.
How to Avoid Viruses From Getting on Your Phone
Viruses affecting your phone could be handled with the help of reliable antivirus software, but you have to be careful when installing a new application. So, here are some of the precautions that can be taken to ensure that you don’t get a virus when visiting a website or making a download:
Download only verified apps
Third-party app stores or websites that host app links are not usually verified, and so hackers may see this as a way to infect people’s phones. Thus, downloading an application should only be from the app store approved for the device. Android users can use the Google Play Store, while iOS users have the Apple App Store for such.
Connect to Secure Wireless Connections
When browsing through the internet, you might most likely feel the need to make use of WiFi and, other times, a VPN. It is not advisable that you make use of just any wireless connection as they could create an opening for unauthorized people or viruses to get into your phone. Make use of those that have proven to be secure to avoid just any data flow into your phone.
Verify each App’s permissions
Before approving any app on your phone, make sure that you read the terms and conditions before downloading any it. Ensure that there is no information or writing that indicates that the app may create a backdoor for unauthorized access. Some app developers may even allow the application to make use of your personal information or change the terms and conditions without prior notice.
Install an antivirus
As has been highlighted before, an antivirus serves as the most reliable source of defense against any possible virus. The only process required is to get one that is suitable and then run the software timely to ensure that there is no virus on the device. If there are any threats, then they can be removed using the antivirus.
Constant operating system (OS) updates
Phone manufacturers constantly update the operating system with the intent of fixing patch bugs that may have been found in the previous version. Make sure that you always download the update to keep your phone protected. It could be done by doing frequent update searches to ensure that you are always up to date.
Avoid opening suspicious messages.
Malware can be encoded through the help of messages sent through email attachments, texts, and links. It is suggested that you do not open these links or the messages as they serve as a gateway for sites that are interested in phishing.
Avoid jailbreaking or rooting your phone
Jailbroken or rooted phones make them vulnerable to bugs that are found in previous updates or even the dangers of an open-source code. For your phone to stay safe from viruses, it is crucial that you don’t stay rooted unless you absolutely know your way around that operating system.
For the average user I wouldn’t recommend rooting your phone. However, if you have a spare phone that you don’t care about you can practice penetration testing or tinker with it. (believe me, this can be fun!)
Conclusively, there are certain viruses that are more critical than the others, and so they affect the phone differently. Some remain dormant until it is time to cause damage, while others begin to download unwanted apps on their own, and worse.
However, they can be handled with reliable antivirus software or simply sticking to specific solutions. It’s important to remember that the operating system of the phone determines the solutions available for solving the malware intrusion. Android devices are much more straightforward than iOS phones, but it is essential to be observant at all times with bot OS’s.