Signs of a Malware Attack on Your Phone

By:  |  Category: Blog Tuesday, November 6th, 2018  |  No Comments
malware attack

When a virus hits your computer, it’s usually pretty obvious. Strange pop-ups appear on your screen, your computer gets stuck, or it gets really slow and then crashes. But what about your smart phone? Are the signs of an attack quite so obvious?

A malware attack on your phone might be much harder to spot. You may be walking around right now, with malware corrupting and utilizing your data without even knowing it.

Here are a few signs to look for:

Your device gets SLOW:
If your device suddenly begins to move like a turtle, or your battery drains at a higher rate than usual. It may not be the dreaded “slow code” from Apple but instead, a noticeable and sudden drop in performance could be a sign of an infection.

Sudden Spike in Data Usage:

This could be due to a of a virus running background tasks that you aren’t aware of, or trying to access the Internet in order to transmit data from your phone.

Strange charges on your monthly bill also could be symptomatic of a virus, as some malware can make money from sending premium texts from your phone without you noticing. Be sure to review your bill routinely so you can catch any dangerous viruses early.

If you do suspect you have malware on your phone, what can you do?

Removing Mobile Malware

  • Android

Begin by putting your phone into Safe Mode. Hold down the power off button until you’re prompted to reboot your device to Safe Mode. The Safe Mode will disable all third-party apps, so if you find that your device then works smoothly, you can be confident that a virus is at the root of your problem.

Then go into your settings and to the apps folder. Scan for the app that you think might be the culprit, or for anything that you don’t recall downloading. You can remove it manually by clicking the uninstall button.

Sometimes the uninstall button will be gray and won’t respond when you tap on it, because the malicious app has granted itself administrator status. In that case, you need to go into the security settings and deactivate administrator rights for the malicious app in question. You then should be able to remove the app from the app list.

If you are still unable to remove the malicious software from your device, you will need to do a full factory reset. This can be achieved by going into your phone settings and erasing all data.

Be sure that you have backed up any important files before you do this, as you will not be able to retrieve your beloved photos and important contact list afterward.

  • iPhone:

iOS malware is far less common than Android malware, but attacks are still possible. Respectable apps may have had malicious code inserted in them by a hacker. Users who have jailbroken their phones may have inadvertently downloaded a malicious app.

The good news is that iOS’ sandboxing structure, which restricts every app’s access, prevents any malware from spreading to and corrupting other apps or the underlying operating system.

This means that it is quite simple to see which is the compromised app causing your phone to malfunction. You’ll only have problems when the app in question is open.

First, see if there is a newer version of the app in the App Store, as the problem may have been identified and resolved in a new update. If not, you will need to outright remove the app from your device by uninstalling it.

If the virus is manifesting itself as a redirect to a spammy Web page, you’ll also want to clear your Safari history and data.

Securing Your Mobile Phone

The best way to protect your phone from malware is to take preventative steps to reduce the likelihood of contracting an infection in the first place

  • Be leery of public WiFi hotspots

Do not access any sensitive information through public WiFi, such as logging into your bank or checking sensitive work emails, as a hacker may be able to intercept your communication through a “man-in-the-middle” attack. It is far more secure to use a 3G or 4G instead, or to use a VPN.

  • Do not jailbreak or root your device

It may sound appealing to be able to download paid apps for free by jailbreaking your iPhone or rooting your Android, but this removes the protection from Apple and Google respectively. Proceed with caution if you do go down this route, or you may find yourself vulnerable to malicious apps.

  • Only download apps from the official app stores

Sneaky hackers have been known to slip past the walled garden of the App Store and the security measures of Google Play Protect, but your chances of downloading a malicious app are far lower if you stick to the official app stores.

  • Update your operating system

Cybercriminals exploit vulnerabilities in operating systems to gain access to outdated smartphones. Be sure to install updates to your software as soon as a new version is released, to minimize this risk.

  • Encrypt your device

Encrypting your phone will scramble all files so that only you have access to them. You’ll need to enter a PIN or password to decrypt your phone every time you want to use it.

  • Review your access permissions

Often when consumers download new apps they don’t take the time to read the Terms & Conditions, or consider what data they are allowing the app to access.  In some cases, it may be useful to allow an app to access your location, such as a transport or weather app. But does the app need to know your location even when you’re not using it? Review your app permissions in your privacy settings, and disable any consents that don’t seem essential.

If you need assistance with your cyber security services, give EnhancedTECH a call at 714-970-9330 or contact us at [email protected]

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