Long before ransom ware and large-scale hacks became everyday problems, viruses were crawling into our desktops and infecting our screens. Somewhere in the world, there’s a cynical coder with an ax to grind or bills to pay that can’t wait to ruin your day.
These days, smartphones and tablets are just as vulnerable as regular computers, and malware is often used to subvert your private accounts. Your phone is a gateway to a lot of personal data, and malware is often designed to break into your email, online banking, and apps.
Getting lazy now could wreak havoc on your smartphone or tablet, plus all the networks it’s connected to. The more time the malware has, the more it will try to manipulate your apps and data as well as steal from you.
The most dangerous situation is when your device is infected, and you don’t even realize it. Malware doesn’t announce itself. It works as secretly as possible so that you’ll overlook the damage it’s causing.
One commonly held belief is that Apple phones and tablets never get malware. But the devices are not impervious to infections and scammers.
Symptoms of an infected device
- Data usage: The first sign that your phone has a virus is the rapid depletion of its data. That’s 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.
- Crashing apps: There you are, playing Angry Birds on your phone, and it suddenly crashes. That’s strange. It never used to happen. After the game crashes a few more times, you start to suspect foul play. Most viruses tamper with your regular operations, and it’s common for your favorite apps crash without explanation. Make sure you update all of your apps to prevent viral interference.
- 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, you may want to 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 may look legitimate. They’re 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, check and see whether it’s authentic. If it looks fishy, delete it.
- Battery drain: All of these digital shenanigans take a lot of energy. 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.
Take your viruses seriously, because they definitely mean you harm, and they won’t go away on their own. How else can you maintain your security in the wild world of cyber-crime?
Steps you can take to remove an Android virus
If you feel that your Android phone is not operating as it should and you suspect that a virus may have infected it, here are tips that can help you clean up its act.
Remove questionable apps
To review and remove questionable apps, go to Settings >> then Apps or Application Manager. Look through the list and keep an eye out for anything that’s odd or unfamiliar.
Tap the questionable app you want to get rid of and this will open up the App Info screen. First, remove the app’s data cache by hitting “Clear Cache.” Next, delete the app’s data by tapping “Clear Data.” Once these steps are done, click on the “Uninstall” button to remove the app.
Some malicious apps may have administrator access and these are trickier to remove but there are ways.
First, enter your Android phone’s Safe Mode. In most Android gadgets, this requires holding the power
Hold button until the “Power Off” or “Power Option” menu appears. Simply tap and hold on this menu until the option to reboot in Safe Mode appears then hit OK.
Once your phone is in Safe Mode, go back to Apps or Application Manager and uninstall any stubborn apps that can’t be removed otherwise. Some malicious apps also have managed to install themselves with administrator status so you will need to clear these permissions too.
Go to Settings >> Security >> Device administrators then find the app that you cannot uninstall normally, uncheck the box, choose “Deactivate” on the next screen >> select OK then return to Apps or Application Manager to uninstall.
After uninstalling your questionable apps, restart your Android phone.
Protect yourself from Android malware
As we say each time, to protect yourself against Android malware, the best practice is to avoid downloading and installing apps from “Unknown Sources.”
Only download apps from the official Google Play app store and make sure you check user reviews, too, before installing.
Second, be careful with links and websites you visit. Drive-by malware downloads could happen anytime without you knowing it. Don’t grant any system permissions to prompts coming from unknown sources.
And lastly, always be vigilant. As seen with trojan malware, things are sometimes not what they seem.
How to remove a virus in iPhone or iPad
If you suspect your iPhone or iPad may be infected with a virus, don’t panic. You can easily wipe your gadget and start over with factory settings.
Here are the steps to wipe your Apple gadget:
Backup your device and all of the personal data on it using iCloud or iTunes –
. Go to Settings >> Tap General >> Tap Reset.
. Tap “Erase All Content and Settings” to clear all apps and data from the gadget.
- Restart your device and go through the initial setup steps again. USA Today