Just because you use your smartphone more to surf the ‘net doesn’t save you from the lurking evil that is malware and viruses.
It could be an honest to goodness mistake from an innocent download, or the result of frequenting less-than-reputable websites, but viruses happen. After all, at its (quad) core, our smartphones are basically palm-sized computers. You’d think that viruses and malware are desktop-exclusive problems, but rest assured that they aren’t. We live by the saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but if ever you find yourself with a malware-ridden mobile device, here’s what you can do.
Figure out what’s the culprit
To be fair, viruses in mobile devices are fairly rare. They exist and continue to be a threat, but the likelihood of your smartphone getting infected is slim.
It is malware that you should be wary of. Did your smartphone become unbearably slow after installing a new app, or are there incessant popups every minute or so? You might have malware on your hands. More often than not, malware gets into your mobile’s system when you install malicious apps, so that’s where you can start. Once you’ve uncovered the malicious application, uninstall it as quickly as possible!
Install antivirus software
If you find yourself backed against the wall by the malware menace, call in reinforcements by adding antivirus applications. The bad news is that you’re going to have to pay for it. Yes, there are free apps out there; but when you’re already infected, they only act as a placebo. Bite the bullet and get an anti-malware app from a reputable company such as Kaspersky and Norton, and just learn from your mistakes.
With that said, prevention is key. It’s better to be safe from the get go rather than being caught unawares.
Screen your apps
Before you download and install an app, do your due diligence first. Was it made by a reputable developer? What are its reviews? Is it available in the Apple App Store or Google Play?
Most malicious software can be avoided by just following this simple screening process. More often than not, malware apps are disguised as free imitations of popular paid apps, so a little awareness goes a long way in ensuring the health of your device. In the same vein, don’t fall prey to phishing scams that bait you into clicking and installing programs. Ironically, random fake virus warnings are what ultimately lead to devices getting infected.
Don’t install APK files
For Android users, the freedom to circumvent traditional installation methods by way of APK (Android application package) files is a double-edged sword. On one hand, you get access to an ocean of customization options and apps that aren’t on the Android Market yet. But on the other, you expose yourself to malware threats. If you aren’t familiar with the whole APK installation process, just don’t do it.