We now carry so much personal information on our phones, and there are people out there only too happy to take advantage of that fact. The good news is there are ways to protect yourself. But first, let's take a look at the signs that your phone (or other mobile device such as a tablet) is in fact infected:
- Your device is using data and battery power faster than before.
- Apps are crashing during use.
- You're seeing more pop-up ads than in the past.
- You're getting mysterious charges on your carrier bill.
- You're seeing apps you didn't install.
The steps you need to take to keep your mobile devices healthy are similar to those you should take with your computer. Specifically:
- Keep your software and apps updated. This is typically done automatically, so don't use any settings that prevent it from happening.
- Remove apps you don't use or that look suspicious, and restrict what each app has access to on those you keep.
- Only download apps from the official store of your operating system (Google Play for Android and App Store for iOS).
- Always back up your data — So if your phone is lost or stolen, you'll still have access to your important information.
- Be choosy about which links you follow when browsing. Never click on links in pop-up ads.
Finally, use a location app to trace your device if it's ever lost or stolen.
If you think your phone does have a virus, you'll need to erase all your content and settings, and restart it. Be sure your data is backed up before you do this! The process is different for each type of device, so visit the manufacturer's website or your provider.