I THINK MY PHONE IS SICK!
Could it be a virus or something?
Well, maybe or maybe not. A virus, in computer terms, is a specific type of “malware”. A virus self-replicates by copying its code into other programs. A virus will attach to a legitimate file or program. It then gets distributed through websites, flash drives, and email. When a receiver opens and infected file or application, the virus activates.
The term malware is used as a broad term and sometimes interchangeably with terms like “virus”. Malware includes many types of malicious programs and may have a variety of objectives. A few examples may include attempting to get you to provide personal and/or financial data that can then be used for identity theft.
Along with viruses, various types of malware can infect computers, servers, and smartphones….and yes, even your iPhone! While the iPhone may be less susceptible to malware than an android phone, it can still happen.
Some people think an iPhone can’t get a virus or be infected with another type of malware. Sometimes you may see weird things happening while you are using an application and wonder if you just got some type of malware. It could just be an advertisement being mischievous and causing behavior to make you “think” you have a virus and in turn tries to get you to download some other application to “fix” the problem.
Whatever your choice of smartphone, be aware that these types of programs exist and can infect your phone. Many times, attackers have placed malicious code into seemingly reputable applications. While many of these issues are caught before they are allowed into platforms like the App Store or Google Play store, there are instances where some are overlooked. Considering the iPhone, if you have a “jailbroken” device and download applications from sources other than the App Store then the chances of malware being installed increase.
So, what is one to do about it?
There are security programs offered by companies such as Norton or McAfee that can be installed on smartphones including the iPhone. While I recommend some type of security program, I do not recommend a specific vendor, rather I suggest that you carefully read about each software and make an informed decision.
Another suggestion is to watch for unusual behaviors from your smartphone. While one unusual behavior may not mean malware, such as spyware, is affecting your device, if multiple suspicious behaviors begin occurring then maybe you should more seriously consider the possibility. The detection of malware on a smartphone can be difficult and complex, however just a few signs to watch for are listed below.
· The battery drains much quicker than expected.
· The phone turns off and on when you have not tried to restart it.
· There are unexplainable spikes in data usage.
· You find applications on the phone that you don’t remember downloading.
· The phone has become extremely slow and apps take much longer to load.
Again, these are just a few signs that there may potentially be a malware issue.
If you have an anti-virus/anti-malware program installed on your phone be sure that you keep it updated and if you think there is a problem, run a scan on the device. If no malicious files are located but your phone continues to have the unusual behaviors, maybe you should consider seeking assistance.
One last recommendation…when you get that strange text message from some unknown number with a shortened web link (maybe with symbols like %) ….as much as your curiosity is spiraling out of control…just DON’T open the link.