It’s safe to say that we use our cell phones for everything. Ordering food, groceries, clothes, making appointments, canceling appointments, texting, Instagramming. You are probably even reading this blog on your phone right now. Cell phones today are like mini-computers that fit into our pockets. And just like any computer, your cell phone can become vulnerable to various malware, which can look like spyware, ransomware, or adware.
Unfortunately for us, it can be quite difficult to know if our devices have been infected. The malware is typically designed to be almost impossible to detect and find as they don’t want it to be so easily removed from our devices. So it’s up to us, as avid smartphone users, to be proactive and look out for signs of troublesome activity, and we will dive into exactly how to do that.
Common signs of malware on your cell phone
There are a few telltale signs of when your phone has become infected with malware. Here are some things to keep an eye out for:
- Phone Speed
Just like any computer, all cell phones contain a processor for the phone to be able to perform computational tasks. If your device has been infected, the malware could be overworking the processor and simple tasks that used to take seconds could take much longer. If you find that your phone is all of a sudden slowing down, or crashing when you’re on an App or browsing the web, malware could be the reason why.
- Phone Temperature
Okay – we can all admit that our phones have overheated once or twice due to not being able to close TikTok or Snapchat, or because we just had to bring it outside to the beach with us. But having a phone overheat should be a rare occurrence. Just like how malware can affect your phone’s speed, it can also affect the temperature of your phone by overworking the processor, CPU, or charging mechanisms. A hot phone can cause fires and even explode if left unattended.
- Battery Life
While battery power does lessen over time, it’s important to monitor at what stage in your phone’s life the battery is declining, and how often. If Malware is constantly working in the background, it’s also taking over your battery, resulting in the need to constantly recharge your phone.
- Unfamiliar Billing Fees
When you review your billing and credit card statements, it’s important to be able to account for every charge listed. Cramming is a type of scam that adds services to your phone and charges to your bill. And because wireless providers have been known to look the other way to share a portion of the profit, it’s on you to be vigilant in checking your statements.
- Pop-up ads
A form of adware takes place when you suddenly see a ton of ads in a specific app or when you don’t have any apps currently open. These disruptive, annoying ads are trying to generate money from clicks – even accidental ones – send you to scam offers, or even further infect your device with more malware. Whatever you do, don’t click, and make sure to remove it from your phone.
How to remove malware from your device
There are a few options on how to remove malware infections from your cell phone. If you have an Android, you can enter ‘Safe Mode’. Safe Mode disables all 3rd party apps so you can safely look through anything suspicious or remove apps that you believe are infected. Once you leave Safe Mode you can see if your phone has returned to normal or if the problem still persists.
With an iPhone, it can be a bit trickier as Safe Mode is only available for jail-broken iPhones. One solution for iPhone users is to reset your device. This will unfortunately wipe your phone clean but will remove any malware in the process. Make sure to always back up your phone so that if you do need to reset it, you’ll have everything like photos, videos, and contacts saved.
How to be proactive
Enter WOT. Did you know WOT has an auto-scan feature specifically built to alert you if your phone is at risk or is currently infected? With this free feature, you don’t have to guess or worry if your phone has been infected with malware. Scan your device and let WOT check for you if you are at risk or if your device has already been compromised. The scan will cover all of the apps on your phone as well as suspicious websites you have visited and any suspicious emails you have received. It will alert you and keep you safe before it’s too late.
Malware isn’t something to be taken lightly. If your device becomes infected, it could cause serious damage to your personal information, that of your family, your friends and so much more. Your identity, your resources, and potential well-being could all be impacted.
You can avoid becoming a victim by staying proactive and being cautious of apps you are downloading, sites you are visiting, and links you are clicking. Always try to read reviews of products before you download, so you can see if you’ll really be getting what you expect. If an app is asking you for personal information when it really doesn’t make sense for that app to have it, think twice before sending it over. As a helpful tip, both Android and iPhone can manage the permissions they allow for their apps under their Privacy Settings so you know which apps are tracking what and what information they have. It’s important to stay vigilant in the digital age and WOT is here to help.