Most malware is designed to run unnoticed in the background – and especially on mobile devices, many users may not know when they’ve got a virus. Here’s a list of warning signs you can give them to look out for.
Mobile malware can perform a number of different functions, such as transmitting private data from the phone to cybercriminals or automatically sending expensive messages to run up charges on the victim’s cell phone bill.
Whatever the purpose of the attack, malicious programs tend to affect the mobile device’s performance in some way. These issues aren’t necessarily proof of a virus infection — they can also be caused by poorly designed legitimate applications — but here are some warning signs that could mean a phone has malware, according to DarkReading.com:
- Abnormally slow performance – A malicious program running in the background will often cause the device to run slowly, as the malware hogs RAM and CPU power.
- Quick battery consumption – Applications running in the background — especially those that transmit data across a wireless connection — will also use a lot of battery power.
- Unusual use of tracking devices – Some malware is designed to track a user’s location at regular intervals, so if a phone shows that GPS or Bluetooth is active at a time when the user isn’t running a program that needs it, it could be a malicious app sending location data.
- An app has unnecessary permissions – Android phones and tablets use a system of permissions to determine which parts of the device an application is allowed to access. Legitimate apps will only be able to access data they need, so if an app has permissions that don’t make sense — for example, if a game is allowed to access text messages — it’s probably malware, or at least a security risk.