The last thing you don’t want to happen in this era of smartphones is having some latent Trojan working on your device and then stealing every sensitive data about you. If you think you are immune to such attacks, then think again. Viruses are now as common on mobile devices as on the desktop platforms.
So are you really safe? If not, how to stay protected?
Some history: worst of smartphone malware attacks
The first major attack on smartphone by malware was a decade before. How bad was that? Remember, most mobiles then used to run on Symbian OS before Android came around in 2010. It was the Cabir virus that spread in 2004 via Bluetooth. It was pretty harmless, but it made the devices constantly scan for Bluetooth devices thereby draining out batteries pretty quick.
Again in 2005, Symbian OS phones were hit by so-called Commwarrior virus. It was also mostly harmless, but it proved that viruses can easily spread through MMS medium. Before this, mobile attacks were mostly locals due to the limited frequency range of Bluetooth. But with MMS infected by Commwarrior, distance was no longer a limit.
Soon after Android became popular, it became the ultimate target of malwares. The Gingermaster Trojan struck a hole in Android Gingerbread version, making the virus to make itself a super user with access to all permissions. After the phone had been compromised, Gingermaster collected all the phone details and sent to remote center or the hackers.
This is just one reason why rooting Android is dangerous. It opens up to a whole new level of security risk.
And if you were thinking that the iOS is immune to viruses, you are wrong. Despite Apple’s attempts to maximize security by having strict control over what is uploaded to the App Store, some things can still slip through.
The ikee worm was a clear example of how easy hackers can exploit holes in jailbroken devices and then help in spreading it via the SSH protocol. Luckily, ikee was harmless as it only replaced the wallpaper of the iPhone with a photograph of Rick Astley.
But, that incident proved that the iOS is still not as safe as the manufacturer claims to be.
Symptoms of malware infection in smartphones
The most dangerous thing about malware is its stealthy nature alongside its deceptive character. As long as the malware remained untraced, it can sit back and do what it is told to do. They become visible only when you realize that your device is already infected. So, how to know whether your phone is infected by a malware?
Decreased battery life
Decrease in the life of your battery is a good signal that something is wrong. It may not always mean you are hit by a malware, but it’s time you should rightly be very suspicious that some malware is attempting to collect data, always hitting data streams, and then always trying to spread such data. All these activities working behind make your phone to work overtime.
Malware also makes your device to slow down. When you have limited processing power with maybe a 1GB RAM, the speed of your device will decrease considerably as the malware would be constantly running and eating up those precious memory in the background. This symptom is very visible and you can know it very quickly.
Interrupted phone calls and broken apps
Malware is very invasive in nature and as such, it interferes in with other apps and as a result you will have broken phone calls or broken apps. Sometimes, the malware will try to reroute calls and apps could also crash unexpectedly. If you notice such problems, you can be pretty sure that your device is infected.
There are many other signals that could raise security issues, but these are the major signs which you simply cannot afford to ignore.
Securing a smartphone with simple safety habits
If you clearly suspect that there is a malware on your smartphone, few antivirus tools are there for you to diagnose and remove it. It is very common, however, for most people not to install antivirus app. It is a huge mistake. It is always better to be safe than sorry later on.
Top recommended security apps:
It is free. For both Android and iOS.
This little app is wonderfully crafted not just for fishing out malware, but very good for identifying vulnerabilities in your device. It comes with an automatic protection system to give you peace of mind. Other than being a malware defense app, 360 Security acts as anti-theft app, a power-saving tool and blocker for those unwanted phone calls and text messages.
Avira Mobile Security
It is free. Available for Android and iOS.
Avira comes with the ability for on-demand and automatic app scanner which can fight most of the common mobile threats. It also allows you to track the location of your phone, remotely lock it, and also detect whether your email has been hacked. It can also send notice to your contacts stating that your email has been hacked. The app is light on the battery, so it is a good option.
Avast Mobile Security
It is free and only for Android.
Avast Mobile Security is a good antivirus app with high reputation. It comes with features like scan and removal of malware. Like others it can perform multiple tasks like anti-theft systems, network check, locking of app, a firewall, and much more. Users also love the schedule automatic scan feature.
These three apps will make your smartphone much safer. You decide which one to use.
Other important tips to ensure mobile safety
- Download only apps with good reputation.
- You should learn the art of rooting and jailbreaking, if you really want to root your phone. Remember, freedom comes with threats. Sure, rooting may allow you to do so many things, but you face many risks.
- Scan regularly for viruses, at least once a week.