How to Figure Out If Your Phone Has Malware


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Your smartphone is like a mini computer that fits in your pocket, so—just like your laptop—it’s also vulnerable to malware, which can take the form of spyware, adware, or ransomware.

Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult to determine if your device has been infected. This is by design, since those behind the malware don’t want you to find their software and remove it, so it’s up to you to look out for signs of troubling activity.

iOS vs. Android: Which OS Is More Vulnerable?

iphone and android phones

Android is an open ecosystem by design, which has its benefits but also makes the OS more vulnerable to malicious apps than Apple’s iOS. Google has made progress here; a recent report noted that bad actors have had to get more creative in order to get their malware-laden apps onto Android devices. But that same report found that Trojan dropper apps netted over 300,000 downloads on Google Play recently in order to scoop up people’s banking details.

If you have an iPhone, you may be thinking that none of this applies to you. After all, the idea that Macs don’t get viruses certainly extends to all other Apple devices, right? Wrong. While it’s true that iPhones are less likely to get infected with malware than Android phones thanks to Apple’s rigorous approval process, it doesn’t mean the smartphones are immune to infection.

So regardless of what mobile OS you’re running, it’s important to stay alert. You never know when a seemingly innocuous app holds a nefarious payload.

Signs Your Phone May Be Infected

iphone overheating

Is your phone infected with malware? Here are some things to watch out for:

Pop-Up Ads That Won’t Go Away

If you’re suddenly seeing a lot of ads in a specific app or even when no apps are open, you may be infected with adware. These annoying pop-ups can generate money from ad clicks, try to infect you with worse malware, or link to scam offers. Whatever you do, don’t click!

Unexplained Fees on Your Bill

Take a look at your phone bill or credit card statements and make sure you can account for every charge. If not, there is a chance you may be the victim of a scam that adds unwanted services to your phone and charges to your phone bill, also known as cramming. Wireless carriers have been accused of looking…