Android, like any operating system, is not immune to malware and despite the fact that Google takes more and more measures to avoid it, our mobiles are not 100% safe. The fact of downloading any file from a page that is not trusted or connecting to public WiFi networks, can carry the risk of our mobile being hacked. This is not always the case, of course, but we must not lower our guard if our smartphone gives us red flags.
If you are doing a mental review of how many times you have done it, calm down, since doing it does not necessarily imply that you have malware on your mobile. If you still want to check if your device is infected, we give you the key clues to find out and, if so, how to avoid it in the future.
How to PROTECT your ANDROID from VIRUSES and MALWARE: Tips and Tricks
High battery and data consumption
Does your mobile battery barely last a couple of hours? It is a symptom that something is happening, although not decisive to talk about hacking. In fact, many times manufacturers release updates to operating systems that “eat” the battery of older terminals. It also depends on the use you give to your mobile, if you only check the mail or, on the contrary, you spend hours on YouTube with the screen brightness at maximum.
However, if you use the phone as usual and the battery fails, you can check what happens by going to the Settings of your mobile and looking for “Battery”. There you can check how you consume your mobile battery and see if there is something that sounds strange to you.
The same, and even more reliable, is the consumption of the data. If you maintain your usual routine and suddenly they go off, you may have malware on your mobile. Why? Simple, it sends information to the hacker through the data of the mobile on which it is installed. To check your data usage, go to Settings and “Mobile data”. Below you will see an ordered list with the applications that consume the most data on your mobile according to the use you give them.
Apps you haven’t installed
When checking the battery and data consumption of your mobile, you will also see all the applications that are installed on your phone. Most likely, you only use a few and the rest are there, taking up space and almost forgotten. But If you notice any that you don’t remember installing, it is best to check your Google Play history to see when you installed it. Do not forget the apps installed with APK files away from official platforms, since most malware usually enters there.
What are they? When we want to install apps beyond Google Play, we can do it with APK files that allow us to install software on Android. With them, we can access, for example, updates of official applications that are not yet available to the public, but also we can inadvertently install applications from questionable sources.
If you do not know that you have installed the app and you think it could be malicious, it is best to delete it from your smartphone. If you can’t do it may be due to malwareAlthough you should bear in mind that some applications are installed by default on the phone and cannot be uninstalled, which does not mean that your device is infected.
It is certainly one of the most obvious and annoying symptoms. Some malware usually generate advertising pop-up windows that prompt you to take some action. They usually come out when you use applications, games or when you surf the Internet and, the most common, alert us that our phone is infected and suggest you download an antivirus that, in principle, you did not want.
Be careful when browsing the internet too if you suffer a redirect. That is, if you type xataka.com in the browser and instead of going to the website you end up on a different page. If that happens to you, there is probably malware on your device.
Messages you have not written
If you use Facebook, surely more than once you have come across a strange message from your contacts and, later, the subsequent clarification of “My account was hacked, it wasn’t me.” Well, the same with the rest of your mobile applications. If suddenly your contacts alert you that you send them WhatsApp messages or a strange SMS, it is possible that your mobile has been hacked. And, be careful, because it uses your address book to spread.
Alert also with premium subscriptions via text messages if you suddenly receive daily messages with your horoscope, for example. This will also come with an unpleasant surprise: your bill will probably be increased by quite a few euros.
No, we are not talking about global warming. We refer to your smartphone. If you see that it is hotter than usual it may be because a malicious app is running in the background, which also entails an extra cost of battery and data.
Remember that when you run several processes at the same time or open a game that consumes a lot, your phone’s processor will go faster and therefore may cause the temperature to rise. But it is only in those specific moments. If you see that it is repeated several times a day, even though your mobile is at rest, something happens. Of course, it is not a determining symptom, if for example you use a poor quality mobile phone case, your device will rise in temperature.
My mobile is infected, now what?
Ok, with the previous keys you think that your mobile has probably been hacked. Do not panic, because there is a solution. You just have to know which one. What should you do now?
To get started, restart your device in safe mode Since here the malicious applications do not work and you can eliminate the one you need from the phone’s Settings.
Then, check the status of your applications. To do this, go to Settings> Google> Security, where you will see the option “Verify applications”. It is something like an internal Google antivirus and there you can activate the options “Search for security threats on the device” and “Improve detection of harmful applications”. If you delete the applications that you do not use, you will gain extra space on your mobile.
None of that works? If you still can’t, you only have one option: restore factory settings. It is the most radical option since you will lose all the information on your mobile (to preserve it, make sure to make a backup copy before resetting the mobile), but also the most effective.
As a preventive measure, you should disable unknown sources. Most Android phones come with this option deactivated, but many times we end up activating it to be able to download the APK file of an application.
If this is your case, the ideal is that you keep it always off and activate it the moment you want to download applications or files beyond Google Play. You will find this option in Settings> Advanced settings> Security, where you will see the option to activate or deactivate apps of unknown origin.
In addition, having the latest Android OS update and keeping security patches up to date will protect your smartphone from the latest vulnerabilities detected. You can see the one you have installed, and update it to the latest version available, in Settings> About phone> Android security patch.