Smartphones and Viruses. Are Our Devices at Risk? How Do We Protect Them?

February 12, 2018 / by Carla Zeitouny
Smartphones and Viruses. Are Our Devices at Risk? How Do We Protect Them?

Viruses and Malware gained their fame on laptops and computers, and people are unaware or tend to forget that their mobile phones are also vulnerable. Yes, mobile phones. Let’s admit it, we love our smartphones so much that they are pretty much almost always at arm’s reach, yet we all are guilty of letting our guards down when it comes to cybersecurity threats.

Indeed, users don’t realize that the risks and dangers of infections are as common for smartphones as they are with other devices. That is why one must know how to detect the symptoms, protect their smartphone from threats and what to do if a device is already infected.

Attacks on mobile phones are generally in the form of spyware or adware, Trojans and viruses, phishing apps, bot processes and SMS scams. They often target your mobile phone’s data to steal your passwords, account numbers, online banking and other financial applications and data.

Here’s how they operate:
  • Spyware or adware – secretly gathering your data and online behavior in order to send it to a third party, many times for advertising purposes.
  • Trojans and viruses – can attach themselves to harmless and legitimate programs and do malicious actions on your behalf or record a user’s banking data.
  • Phishing apps – created for the purpose of stealing a user’s sensitive data.Bot processes – programs that operate on the background, awaiting a major action that they can hijack (i.e. mobile banking).
  • SMS scams – also known as SMishing (SMS phishing), often come disguised as a user’s phone or banking provider and request sensitive information such as personal data and payment details.

 

Symptoms are almost similar between Android and Apple devices, and the most common are:
  • Unjustified increase in data usage
  • Sudden application crashes
  • Incessant pop-ups with suspicious content
  • Unexplained bills and charges to your bank account
  • Unknown applications downloaded on your phone
  • Excessive battery drain

If you are experiencing any of the above, then you should immediately have your device checked. Treatment types are various and depend on the device’s brand and model.

We advise you to follow these steps to avoid this malware and stay protected:
  • Download apps only from recognized app stores such as Apple Store or Google Play
  • Go for a smartphone antivirus (mostly for Android) and scan your device after each app download
  • Stay away from suspicious messages and always verify sources
  • Avoid illegitimate downloads and disable third-party download authorizations
  • Do not connect to unsecured wireless networks
  • Keep your Bluetooth off and don’t accept data from unknown sources
  • Prefer recognized mobile brands to others
  • Keep your passwords private and always backup your files and data

Most importantly, you need to take viruses seriously as they are meant to harm and damage your device and data. Ransomware and cyberattacks are on the rise, and hackers always find a new way to infiltrate malware. The advice we give to our clients and readers is always the same: make online safety your priority. It is better to prevent and protect your device and data, rather than fix damages and limit losses.

And remember, we are only a message away should you wish to learn more on how to protect your device.

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