Smartphones have become ubiquitous; almost everyone carries one these days. Unfortunately, with the increase in the usage of smartphones, there has been a consistent increase in the number of malware attacks on smartphones.
Malware attacks can be pretty vicious leaving you with a series of problems ranging from inflated bills to stolen personal data or worse. The best way to avoid infection on your smartphone is by being vigilant about these Android virus symptoms.
Have you ever wondered: Does my phone have a virus?
Malware is a malicious software written specifically to harm the host system. Malware can attack phones, computers and other electronic devices. If your Android smartphone suddenly starts behaving weirdly and you can’t seem to figure out why it may be infected with malware. It’s not hard to figure out the common Android virus symptoms on your device.
There are many types of malware: viruses, adware, Trojans, spyware, worms, and ransomware. These programs can cause serious harm to your device ranging from loss of personal data to loss of money.
Malware can infect your phone when you download a dodgy app or through emails, texts and even through your Bluetooth connection. Your phone can get infected if you click on a dodgy link unknowingly.
Viruses and worms spread from one infected phone to another, while adware publishes advertisements on your screen in trying to lure you into clicking on them. Spyware tracks your activity and can gather sensitive data from your smartphone without your knowledge or consent.
Here are a few well-known Android Virus Symptoms
There are a few sure-fire signs that your Android smartphone will show if it has been infected by a virus or some sort of malware. If your phone shows the following symptoms, it is time to look deeper into what may be causing this.
1. A sudden appearance of pop-ups: If you see invasive advertisements and pop-ups on your phone, it is a certain sign that your phone has been infected with malware or adware. Pop-up ads that appear out of nowhere that link to dubious websites means you have unknowingly installed an app with adware on your device. Do not click on the ads.
Try to remember the last few apps you have downloaded and see which one of them brought the adware to your phone. Uninstall the app immediately.
2. Increase in data usage: When your phone is infected by a malicious bug, it will use the phone’s data source to show advertisements or send information from your phone. If you see a sudden unexplained spike in data usage, it could be that your phone has been infected with malware.
Go to settings, and tap on Data to see which app is using the most data on your phone. If you see anything suspicious, uninstall that app immediately.
3. Unexplained charges on your bill: Malicious viruses on your phone can use your phone to make calls and send texts to premium numbers. If you notice an unexplained charge on your phone bill, especially in the SMS section, take a look at your messages to try to pinpoint the cause. Contact your service provider for an explanation. If you can find out where the messages are coming from, delete the app immediately.
4. Fast draining battery: Viruses and malware on your phone use up your phone’s resources to fuel the infection. One of the signs of an infected phone is the sudden draining of the device’s battery. If your phone is running out of juice very often, it is time to evaluate the reasons for it.
Go to Settings and open the Battery section on your phone for an overview of which app is using up the most power. Identify the offending app and analyze it to see if it is a genuine app or causing issues on your device.
5. Unexplained phone calls and messages: One symptom of virus infection on your Android phone is strange and unexplained phone calls and texts from your phone. Viruses replicate by spreading from one device to another via texts, emails, etc. If your phone is infected, it may send strange messages, usually with a link, to all your contacts.
If your friends receive spam messages from you, it is likely that your phone has been infected with a virus. Ask your friends not to open any messages or click on the links. Install a good anti-virus program on your
6. Overheating of the phone and poor performance: When your phone is infected by malware such as viruses, worms or adware, they use up your phone’s resources to spread their malicious intent. It is no surprise then that your phone will start heating up under the strain.
If your phone has suddenly become extremely slow and laggy and heats up very fast despite not using it much, chances are it is infected by malware. The best way to clean your phone is to install a good antivirus program to scan and clean.
7. A sudden appearance of unfamiliar apps: This is a very common, but often overlooked Android virus symptom. Malware can make their way into your phone with apps that you download. They piggyback on apps and you won’t even know you have downloaded malware till you start to see the ominous signs.
It is important to download apps only from the Play Store for your safety. Make sure the apps are rated well, and read reviews before downloading. If you see unfamiliar apps that you haven’t downloaded, uninstall them immediately.
8. The Internet connects on its own: Viruses and other malware use your phone’s data to spread its message. If you see that your phone is mysteriously switching your Wi-Fi and data connections ON without your intervention, it could be due to malware. These programs can override your preferences and connect to the internet on their own. If you see unusual internet activity, scan your phone for viruses and clean using an anti-virus program
How can I keep my phone safe from viruses and malware?
There are many preventive steps to keep your phone free and safe from any of these Android virus symptoms. While most adware and viruses are easy to remove, there are some complex malicious bugs like spyware that are not as simple to eliminate. So it is always important to be safe and take preventive measures, rather than remedial measures.
1. Download apps only from Google Play Store. Every time you download an app, check the ratings and reviews first. If it has a low rating and a low number of downloads, it is best to avoid that app.
2. Do not download apps from third-party sources. The best way to make sure this is to turn off this function on your Android phone. Go to Settings on your phone and open up the Security section. Here, make sure Unknown Sources is disabled to avoid the installation of apps from sources other than the Play Store.
3. Do not click on pop-ads while browsing the internet. While most of these pop-up ads lead to advertisements and websites, some pop-ups force you to install malware on your device.
4. Do not click on strange, unverified links in unknown emails, texts, and WhatsApp messages. Strange links from friends and contacts should be avoided too unless you have verified it to be safe.
5. Keep your operating system updated and take frequent backups.
6. Install a good antivirus security app, especially one that scans every app for malicious content before installing.
7. Check and lock down the security settings on your Android device.
These steps will help you fight any Android virus symptoms you may encounter.
What should I do if my phone has been infected by a virus?
1. Put your phone in airplane mode so the malicious apps cannot send or receive data. Check your recently installed apps, battery activity and data activity to zero in on the malicious app. Check the app reviews on Play Store to confirm that it is the cause of infection. Uninstall the app immediately.
2. Do a factory reset; reloading the software sometimes can get rid of the malicious code.
3. Install a good antivirus program to scan and identify the virus before deleting it. We explored the vast range of antivirus applications available for Android and came up with a list of the best Android security apps. We’d recommend you check it out and pick an app suitable for your needs.
The usage and complexity of smartphones have increased exponentially over the past years. This has unfortunately spawned a large number of malicious bugs and viruses that take advantage of vulnerabilities in your smartphone.
By following these safe practices, and detecting these Android virus symptoms early, you can keep your phone safe from such malicious attacks. Have you faced and recovered from an Android malware infection or attack? Share your story with us, we are always eager to listen.
Better yet, share this list of symptoms with your friends and family, so that they can also be aware and better protected from these online threats.
(Article updated on 18th November 2019)