How to know if your Android phone has a virus
Our operating systems are generally safe, but threats are never far away. Our smartphones were invented to connect us to the outside world. This is their main advantage, but also their main source of danger.
No operating system is completely virus-proof, even if we are led to believe otherwise. But that doesn’t mean they’re not safe. The majority of malware and viruses take advantage of vulnerabilities in older versions of the system or old smartphones, in order to catch us off guard.
With market shares of around 80% of smartphones sold worldwide, Android is clearly at the center of attacks, with device fragmentation remaining a big problem. Fortunately, Google is constantly releasing security updates to protect users and Android remains a perfectly safe world if risky practices are avoided. The best way to protect yourself from threats is to make sure your smartphone is always up to date (the same rule applies to any device potentially susceptible to viruses).
But even Apple devices are not spared. A few years ago, when the manufacturer’s market share did not exceed 20% of the global smartphone fleet, no cybercriminal bothered to develop viruses for these devices. But the situation has changed, and Apple terminals are no longer safe.
How to know if your smartphone is infected
Symptoms can vary. In fact, if you have a good virus, you won’t even realize you have it. The majority of existing malware will attempt to flood you with advertisements. If you see advertisements you do not know the origin, a virus may be at work. But there are also other hints.
1. The app you are installing simply disappears from your screen
Many malicious applications have this function. Once installed, or after certain days, the app tab disappears from our home screen and app panel.
By no longer being visible, it is obviously more complex to remove it. We even come to forget that we had installed it. This is exactly what hackers want, so they can operate in the background.
So, if an app you installed has gone missing, you should ask yourself why.
2. An unknown app appears on your screen
Note that there are also malicious applications that will give themselves the right to install another on our device.
In a case like this, it is that the first one does not contain the malicious content. Its goal is to go under Google’s radar. However, it can hide a function that allows it to install, via the web, a second application that will contain malicious content.
So be on the lookout if you see an app you’ve never seen before.
3. Your smartphone is bombed with advertising
Adware! Although very annoying, there are no real questions to ask if we see that our phone is showing advertising even on our home screen for example.
If you have advertising windows appearing on the screen, it means that you are unfortunately affected by something.
4. Messages are sent without your knowledge
One of the ways malicious apps can spread is through your contact list and the ability to send them messages. Some viruses are able to access our messaging applications and send text messages, emails, or messages to our contacts. These messages will often encourage our loved ones to click on a link which will then download said virus to their device.
Unfortunately, these viruses will often hide their trail so that we do not realize that we have “sent” a message to our friends.
On the other hand, if one of your relatives asks why did you sent him a message with a link, there is a good reason to ask yourself some questions about the security of your device.
5. Your phone’s battery drains abnormally fast
Your phone battery is draining fast? You don’t necessarily have to be afraid, since it could be a legitimate application that consumes energy or a faulty battery.
However, if the battery discharges abnormally quickly, it deserves a little check. Since malware works in the background, it can be the reason why our device is so blank.
What types of viruses or malware can infect a smartphone?
The human race is characterized by its limitless imagination. Cyber criminals are constantly finding new ways to take advantage of vulnerabilities in our systems, and there are many types of infection that can harm us.
- Adware: The typical annoying but not very dangerous advertising infection.
- Spyware: steals information from your device. It usually goes unnoticed and does not affect the normal functioning of your phone, but steals your passwords.
- Scareware: These are messages aimed at scaring us by saying that our mobile is infected with a virus. Their goal is to get us to download a program to spread the infection.
- Ransomware: These look like police warnings, and are quite harmful as they can cripple your device. To remove them, they ask for the payment of an amount of money. But paying the ransom usually has no effect and does not make the infection go away.
- Trojan: This is malware that enters the device to serve as a gateway to other malware.
- Computer Worm: It is capable of copying itself to other devices, just like infected emails.
How to protect yourself from malware on Android
Prevention is always better than cure. As we said above, having a regularly updated device is the best protection. You can also use Virus Total to scan a file or site.
Most often, viruses are already known by antivirus software. If you install one, it will be able to detect the majority of threats and neutralize them.
Just remember that you should use both antivirus and a VPN, as they each provide distinct types of protection. A reliable VPN shields your online privacy by disguising your IP address and encrypting the data associated with your online activity, while antivirus safeguards your devices from online dangers like viruses and malware.
Pay attention to pop-ups
It is important to always be vigilant when browsing the internet, or when connecting to public or open Wi-Fi networks. You have probably already received threatening notices while browsing: it was probably an attempt to install malware.
The page you just visited does not have to be a suspicious page: infections often affect reliable and highly visited sites. Be careful with pop-ups!
Backup and restore factory settings
If you can’t eliminate the malware with an antivirus, you can still attack the problem at the root. Make a backup copy of your data and restore your smartphone to its factory settings.
In conclusion, vigilance is always required when installing an application on your Android device.