How do you know if your phone has a virus?

Smartphones are so ubiquitous these days it’s easy to forget that we’re all carrying in our pockets something that would once have been regarded as a supercomputer.

But cybercriminals haven’t forgotten. This makes needing to check if your phone has a virus is a depressingly common occurrence.

That’s a particular worry if you use your phone for work purposes – or if you let your employees do so.

Because phones might not get viruses in the conventional sense, but mobile malware is on the rise. Your phone might be infected with malicious software that allows someone else to control it or steal your private information.

Here’s how to know if your phone has a virus. And what to do about it if it has.

Common signs your phone has a virus

Even if you’re sensible with your phone use, it’s still possible to find your little pocket communicator has become infected with malware. Here are the most common signs your phone has a “virus”:

  1. Everything is running sloooowly– a slowdown in performance speed is a common sign that your phone has been infected by malware.
  2. You see a lot of adverts – adverts everywhere you look? This is a common sign of malware infection.
  3. Too much data being used – not sure where your data allowance goes every month? A cheeky bit of malware could be using your data to communicate with its designer. Identifying apps that are sending and receiving too much data can be a good way of spotting malware.
  4. Something you didn’t download – did you download that app? If you notice something on your screen that you didn’t download, it could be the result of malware.
  5. Unexpected phone bill charges – sending premium rate texts or making calls is one of the ways malware creators make money. Check your bill for these things.
  6. Weird messages sent to contacts – if someone in your contacts list gets in touch about some strange messages you’ve sent them, it’s a certain sign of infection.
  7. Your phone battery dies quickly – this can be caused by a poor quality app that uses up your system resources. But it can also be a symptom of malware infection.

How to clean your Android phone from viruses

If you have an Android phone, there’s a relatively easy process to follow to clean your phone from viruses:

1) Clear your cache

Go to Settings>Apps & notifications>Chrome. Locate the Storage & cache menu and delete everything.

2) Restart in safe mode

Turn off your phone by pressing and holding the power button. Then restart in safe mode when prompted.

3) Locate the guilty party

Now it’s time to put your Sherlock Holmes hat on. Go to Settings>Apps & notifications>See all apps>Installed apps. Take a look through all your apps. You’re looking for:

  1. Recently installed apps, especially if your possible virus is a recent problem.
  2. Any apps that look unfamiliar or dodgy.
  3. Apps that have very low ratings in the App Store or Google Play Store.

4) Turn on Google Play Protect

Open the Google Play Store and touch your avatar or icon. Then scroll down the menu until you see “Play Protect”. Turn this on. It monitors your apps for possible malware.

Some would say this should be activated automatically, Google. Just saying.

5) Choose an antivirus app

No matter what type of device you have, it’s worth getting some antivirus protection installed.

Can an iPhone get a virus?

Yes, iPhones can get malware. It’s an urban legend that they’re somehow immune.

Technically speaking, iPhones are indeed harder to attack. But they’re also, perversely, often harder to protect too.

The bottom line with smartphone malware

We’re all very used to using our phones for everything. From messaging friends to keeping up on social networks to taking photos to playing games to watching videos to paying for things.

This means it’s easy to overlook the fact that many of us don’t take the proper cybersecurity precautions when using them. A survey of a large number of companies back in 2018 found that around 1 in 36 of the devices they used had high-risk apps installed or other security problems that made them dangerous for the company.

As always, the solution is to take proactive steps to protect yourself and your company – especially if you now have a more distributed model of working than when you started out.

Because at the end of the day, you don’t want your first warning of an employee’s phone having a virus to be a problem that affects your entire business and all your clients.

Need to know that all the devices your company uses are secure?

Let’s chat. Dial A Geek helps nearly 1000 businesses in and around Bristol with every aspect of their cybersecurity – including mobile device management.

Set up a cost and commitment-free chat with Chief Geek Gildas Jones today. Let’s see how we can help secure your company.