Smartphones and tablets are vulnerable to malware that enables hackers to access your email, online banking information, and apps. But you may not even know your mobile device has a virus—yes, Apple products are just as at risk as Androids, despite common misperceptions to the contrary—and that can lead to a more dangerous situation. So how can you tell if your phone or tablet has been infected? USA Today flagged several signs:
To make your devices safer, keep your software updated, use phone locating apps (help track your phone if it’s lost), turn off app notifications from settings, and set up a VPN (or virtual private network) when using public Wi-Fi.
Symptoms of an infected device
• Data usage: Rapid depletion of data is an early sign of a hack, because the virus is trying to run a lot of background tasks and communicate with the internet. If you don’t have an unlimited data plan, this could also cost you money. You may have to buy extra data to keep up with all that wasted processing. Essentially, you’ re paying to let malware ruin your device and run havoc on it.
• Pop-ups: Many websites have pop-up ads. But if you start seeing pop-ups all the time, especially for products or services that seem suspicious, check for a virus. Whatever you do, don’t click on the links. Virus-based pop-ups are almost always designed to make your device even sicker.
• Unexplained charges: Ads and crashing apps are annoying. Mysterious billing will hit you where it hurts, your bank account. It’s particularly common among Android users, who find unusual charges in the “SMS” category. Their gadgets are infected with malware and sends messages to premium-rate numbers.
• Unwanted apps: True to its name, Trojans download apps designed in the same style as real apps to avoid detection. If you see an app that looks familiar, but you don’t remember downloading it, delete it.
• Battery drain: Not only does your phone use up more data, but the battery runs out faster as well. Like actual viruses, malware can leave the body of your device completely exhausted.
The symptoms for Apple and Android devices are pretty similar, but the treatments can be very different for each. These include removing questionable apps under settings. Read more detailed instructions on getting rid of a virus on Android or iPhone or Ipad.
Source: “How to Tell if Your Phone or Tablet Has a Virus,” USA Today (April 2017)