Do I Have a Virus On My Phone? 7 Warning Signs.
When people moved from desktops to mobile devices, the same thing happened with cybercriminals.
Today, your phone can get a virus in much the same way as your computer, although the warning signs for a virus on your computer may be slightly different.
Android phones are more susceptible to malware because they are open source and due to delays in carrier updates. These updates often contain fixes for vulnerabilities and bugs in the operating system, so you need an extra layer of protection.
If you’re not sure if your phone is infected with a virus or just malfunctioning, here are a few clear signs to watch out for and how to troubleshoot effectively.
How could your phone get infected with a virus
Most viruses enter phones through malicious software, which in turn affects the performance of the device. If you’ve installed a fake malware app from a third-party app store or through the Google Play Store, your phone may be infected with a virus.
Other common ways of infecting phones with viruses include nefarious websites, email attachments, or even text messages.
No matter what type of virus or malware is installed on your phone, it will still need to be eliminated as it can cause serious damage.
Some of the known issues that a virus can cause on your phone include deleting your valuable data, collecting your confidential or personal information, and making unauthorized purchases. Other malware such as ransomware, spyware, or Trojans can interfere with your phone.
In particular, ransomware is known to encrypt data, and a hacker can demand money in exchange for unlocking your apps or files. Ultimately, cybercriminals create malware to steal your information, sell on the dark web, and generate income.
The warning indicates the presence of a virus on your phone
A phone infected with a virus exhibits certain behaviors that show up in its performance as well as in other things like texting, shopping, etc. Here are some warning signs to watch out for.
1. The battery is discharging faster than usual
Your phone battery is draining for many reasons. This could be a bad battery, a running resource-intensive program, or applications running in the background. Other performance issues can be caused by normal wear and tear on the phone.
If your phone is infected with a virus, it means that the phone’s RAM is being used more often, which can consume a lot of power, as a result of which the battery drains much faster than usual. The virus is likely hiding behind an application that secretly uses resources in the background.
Your phone can sometimes overheat for various reasons, such as while playing games or watching videos. This is normal and relatively harmless. However, if overheating is a chronic problem, even if you are not playing or watching streaming video, it could indicate the presence of a virus.
Viruses and malware can quickly use up your RAM as they run in the background causing your phone to overheat.
3. Rising data usage and unexplained phone bills
Some viruses, such as ransomware, may simply restrict your phone’s functionality, but there are other malware designed to steal your data or make unauthorized purchases.
You may not immediately notice such transactions or data loss because malware tends to run quietly in the background while you normally use your phone. If you check your data usage and find an unusual or sudden spike due to unknown apps, there might be a virus or spyware running on your phone in the background.
Certain strains of viruses try to transfer data over the Internet, delete incoming messages or send premium text messages from your phone, thus increasing your phone bill. Other viruses are deliberately introduced to infect your contacts by sending spam with malicious links and attachments.
4. Apps take longer to load or stop working
Sometimes applications crash due to insufficient memory, missing updates, or too many applications running at the same time.
However, if you notice that applications on your phone crash regularly and for no apparent reason, there may be a virus lurking inside. This is because viruses compromise the software on your phone, causing applications to crash repeatedly.
5. Your phone regularly slows down or crashes
If your phone is running slower than usual, it could be caused by excess data stored in the phone’s cache, resource-intensive apps running in the background, or too many unused apps. Push notifications, live widgets, and background syncing can also cause noticeable lag.
While delays can be normal, if you find it happening frequently, it could be a virus or malware that is taking up your phone’s resources and slowing it down.
6. The presence of unfamiliar applications
Your phone has several pre-installed applications, some of which you may not be aware of. If you spot an unfamiliar application or do not remember installing it on your phone, it is most likely malware that automatically installs applications without your consent.
Some malware, like Trojan horses, tends to attach itself to legitimate applications and damage your phone.
7. Pop-up ads
Pop-up ads may not be malicious, but they are definitely annoying. Fortunately, you can use an ad blocker extension to block such ads in your browser.
If you see more pop-ups on your phone than usual even when the browser is closed, it could be adware. The purpose of such malware is to collect data or steal your personal and confidential data.
How to keep your data and phone safe
Use these tips to prevent viruses from entering your phone:
- Install a reliable antivirus application on your phone.
- Always open emails and attachments from trusted sources. Beware of phishing scams by scammers posing as legitimate company officials or petty email addresses.
- Update your software and applications to fix bugs and vulnerabilities.
- Keep track of your posts social media posts and ads.
- Use strong passwords or access codes and install a password manager if you can’t remember all your passcodes.
- Never use public or unsecured Wi-Fi connections. Use a VPN if necessary to protect your identity and keep your data safe.
- If you find any unfamiliar apps on your phone, search the Internet to see if they are legal or not. If they are not part of the phone’s system software, or you find they are fake, uninstall the apps.
- Turn on Google Play Protect by going to Phone Settings> Google> Security and select Google Play Protect (the steps may vary depending on your phone model).
- Do not download any applications outside of the Google Play Store and use Google Play Protect to check if the application is legal or not.
- Beware of clones of applications. These apps resemble legitimate apps and may try to steal your identity.
- Read the fine print to see what access permissions an app requires, and check the app developer’s name to make sure it’s an official app.
Protect your phone from viruses
Before your phone gets infected, it is recommended that you prioritize device security and data protection. By keeping these seven signs and tips for protecting your phone in mind, you can prevent viruses and malware from spreading to your devices.