The immense popularity and widespread use of smartphones have facilitated the spread of mobile malware and increased the number of hackers worldwide.

Mobile malware works differently than computer viruses. Computer viruses work by self-replication. Conversely, mobile malware targets a phone’s weak point within your operating system for data mining, network corruption and illegal activities, making mobile malware an even more dangerous security threat than traditional computer viruses.

How would I know that my phone has a virus?

Technological advancement has made it difficult for mobile phone users to detect viruses. However, here are 8 common signs of mobile malware:

  1. Aggravated battery drain: Malware runs in the background, draining your phone’s battery due to increased use of its RAM.
  2. Apps constantly crashing: Compromised apps crash constantly. However, apps might not always crash because of a virus – you might have too many apps running at this same time – so double-check before you start panicking!
  3. Data usage is higher than normal: A covert virus uses data to do its job. Excessive data usage usually means that there’s a virus running in the background.
  4. Fraud: Hackers may be running up your phone bill by installing a trojan that purchases apps or app upgrades and texts to premium accounts.
  5. Overheating: Increased RAM and CPU can sometimes lead to overheating. Chronic overheating usually means that there’s a virus lurking in the background.
  6. Pop-ups: If you’re experiencing a constant barrage of pop-ups, even when your browser is closed, this might mean that you’ve got a virus mining your data.
  7. Random apps – Trojan horses work by installing suspicious apps. If you see unrecognisable apps popping up on your home screen, this may signal that you have this malicious form of malware attacking your system.
  8. Spam texts: These types of texts usually include links or attachments. Clicking on these links results in fraudulent activity and data mining.

What are the different types of viruses that phones get?

  • Adware: A barrage of pop-ups is usually a sign of adware. This type of virus can even track activity and facilitate the work of hackers who want to steal your data.
  • Ransomware: Ransomware encrypts personal data so that the owner cannot even use or access these files. A ransom is then demanded by the hacker for the owner to regain access to these files.
  • Spyware: Its genius lies behind the fact that it’s totally covert and is usually attached to legit apps. Spyware then tracks sensitive information such as your bank details and passwords.
  • Trojan horse: A trojan horse typically pops up as a harmless text message. Hackers will then use these text messages to drive up your phone bill and steal sensitive information.
  • Worm: A worm usually infiltrates your system through text messages. It spreads to your contacts, enabling hackers to load malware to your friends’ phones.

How can I prevent mobile malware?

  • Detect phishing schemes: Hackers sometimes operate by sending seemingly legitimate emails and texts. However, there are usually a couple of signs that can help you detect phishing schemes, such as shady email addresses, poor grammar and bank-related content.
  • Download a reputable antivirus app: These types of apps not only detect viruses but can also flag dangerous websites and prevent viruses from getting to your phone in the first place.
  • Monitor texts and emails: Make sure that you only open emails and texts from trusted sources. Never click on links or download suspicious attachments.
  • Use legitimate apps: Check the app developer’s website before even considering downloading the app.

How can I remove a virus from my iPhone?

Here are a few simple steps that you need to take to remove viruses from your iPhone:

  1. Tap on your primary browser, then go to Settings Clear history and website data
  2. Select Settings > Apple Id > iCloud > Manage Storage > Backups. Select the most recent backup. This action restores your device to its pre-virus condition.
  3. If step 2 doesn’t work, you probably have to reset your iPhone to factory settings. You can do this by tapping on Settings > General > Reset > Erase all content and settings.

How can I remove a virus from my Android phone?

Android phones are particularly susceptible to malware attacks as they typically employ open-source code. If your phone has fallen victim to malware, you need to follow these steps to prevent your phone from becoming unusable.

  1. Clear all cache by tapping on Apps and Notifications > Chrome or another browser> Storage > Clear cache.
  2. Reboot the device in safe mode by pressing and holding the power button.
  3. Manually review all apps and check if any app has been installed without your permission. Remove the suspicious app.
  4. Enable Play Protect as a secondary line of defence. Open the Play Store, tap on your account, and select Play Protect. You can use Play Protect to scan all apps.

Installing antivirus software is paramount as it prevents malware from infiltrating your system in the first place. It also removes the dormant viruses that may already be present in your system. Taking the necessary steps to avoid viruses is crucial as it will save you a lot of trouble in the long run. After all, as the adage goes, prevention is better than cure!