Your phone is a hacker’s gateway to many aspects of your digital life, including your online payments. It also has the potential of sending SMS messages to premium rate numbers, draining your bank account and making the hacker rich. These things make your phone an appealing target for online criminals and malware creators.
Traditional viruses aren’t a notable threat on current mobile platforms. You aren’t safe from other kinds of malware, though. There is a lot of malware going around, such as Trojans, spyware or all sorts of adware. Many people tend to call all of these viruses.
Be cautious when installing applications. Don’t install anything outside the Google Play store if you are not completely sure what the app does. Even when installing within Google Play, make sure the developer is trustworthy. See the reviews before downloading and look for the Top Developer icon.
When you have installed an application, consider carefully how much permissions you want to give the application. Applications that don’t have any reason to send an SMS message, take screenshots, delete information from your system, or access phone calls should not be granted those powers.
An Android phone often exhibits one or more of the following symptoms if it is infected with malware.
If you see an app on your phone you don’t remember installing, it might not be what it claims to be. Check the search results with the name of the app online and see whether it seems odd. Uninstall all unwanted apps.
Some malware keeps running on background and constantly sending data to the internet. You can notice this by checking your data usage in the Settings menu of your phone.
Software crashes every now and then, that is inevitable. However, if your phone crashes more than it used to, something might be up.
If you see odd ads, especially when not actively browsing, you might have adware on your phone. Adware is a type of malware designed to display ads for the malware creator’s benefit.
A malicious program can send SMSs from your phone and will incur charges to you. This is done to profit from premium SMS services.
There is malware that is designed to steal your credit card info from apps, including your browser and your banking apps. At best, those odd charges might be just something you don’t remember buying. At worst, it can be criminals draining your account.
If your bank’s authentication app does not lead to login, or your login to the bank is slower than the usual, there could just be a problem in your connection. It could also be a warning sign that there is a man-in-the-middle attack taking place.
Your browser is the center of your internet activity. This makes it a prime target for malware both on phones and computers. Malware can install add-ons on your browser or change your home page to provide the malware creator with some referral marketing income.
If you suspect you have a virus or other malware, and you have an internet security suite such as F-Secure TOTAL, check that the software is up to date and run a full system scan on your phone.
If you have a virus, refer to the instructions your security suite gives you or see the general malware removal instructions.
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