Smartphones are thought of as an ‘essential’ in today’s world. We work from them, pay bills from them, and store personal information on them. Our mobile devices and downloaded applications often have access to our location, banking, and other private data. As the workforce has become more remote, company information is also being stored. Hackers have kept pace with the technology trends and are zeroing in on our mobile devices. So, what is malware and what can you do about it? Keep reading for all the answers!
What is mobile malware?
Malware or ‘malicious software’, is designed to control and steal private information all while going undetected. Malware can also be referred to as a virus or infection and can come in many forms such as the following:
- Adware: Annoying frequent pop-ups that sometimes redirect you to web pages or applications
- Banker Malware: Attempts to steal your bank or financial credentials without being detected
- Ransomware: Holds your device or personal data hostage and demands money from you in exchange for returning data or the functionality of the device. This is commonly seen with business devices.
- Rooting: Unlocks your device’s operating system to obtain privileges and can even change settings and permissions.
- SMS Malware: Manipulates the text messaging app within your device to send and intercept text messages without you knowing.
- Spyware: Monitors and records information about your activity on your device without your knowledge or permission.
- Trojan Malware: Hides itself within software and applications secretly gaining access to personal data. (Interestingly, named after the Greeks’ clever ploy to secretly enter the city of Troy.)
Signs you may have malware on your mobile device
- Short battery life: If your battery is dying at a faster rate despite continuously charging it, that is a sign you may have malware on your device.
- Pop–up ads: If random and frequent ads pop-up on your device, this is a sign that you may have adware on your device.
- Apps demanding too much access: If an app wants access to other apps they shouldn’t need—like your camera and address book – it’s a good sign that there is some sort of malware within it. Go ahead and take a pass on downloading new apps like this. You may want to check the permission settings for existing apps as well.
- A surge in data consumption: If you notice your data is dwindling quicker than usual but your usage habits have not changed, this is a good sign one of your apps has malware in it. Thankfully, most phones allow you to see how much data your apps are consuming; look out for ones that are consuming substantially more than others.
- Unexplained charges: If you suddenly receive unexpected charges to your phone bill, this is a sign malware hackers have been using your device and its services without your knowledge.
- Multiple Incorrect Password Prompts: If you know you have entered your password correctly yet you still receive repeated “incorrect password” prompts, you may have malware on your device attempting to intercept your passwords.
You’ve discovered malware on your device, now what?
Reset or restore your device following these steps for iOS
- Use iCloud to back up the data on your device
- Go to Settings > General > Reset
- Click “Erase all content and settings” to clear all apps and data
- Restart your iOS device and set it up again.
- Sign into iCloud when you set up your iOS device and restore your backed-up data.
- Re-download your apps again from the App Store
For Android, malware apps can tamper with the device’s administrator settings to give itself core app permissions so it can’t be uninstalled the normal way.
- Go to Settings >> Security >> Other security settings/Device (or phone) administrators
- Find the suspicious app
- Uncheck the box
- Choose Deactivate/Uninstall/Force Close/Force Stop
- Select OK
- Return to Apps or Application Manager to uninstall
Another option would be to factory reset your Android device
How to Prevent Malware
- Always download apps from official app stores. Never download apps from third-party stores
- Read the reviews before downloading apps
- For Android users make sure to uncheck the “Install from Unknown Sources”
- Always install OS updates as soon as they are available to ensure important security patches are in place
- Check app permissions before installing an app in case it is asking to access something it doesn’t need to. For example, most apps shouldn’t need camera, mic, or location access. For the apps that do, turn off those permissions when not using the app.
- Frequently scan your device for viruses – clicking malicious links can instigate silent downloads of malware that go to work corrupting devices without your knowledge.
- Take warnings of identity theft seriously. Contact your account establishments directly and report fraud immediately.
While companies try hard to educate their teams, it’s inevitable that some malware attempts will slip through the net. To stay ahead of the malware, it’s imperative to have a security solution in place to stop the threat at its source. This is why you need a Mobile Device Management partner like eSquared Communication Consulting.
By having an MDM partner like eSquared Communication Consulting, you can customize your team’s mobile device usage and ensure device security. eSquared will manage your devices from a single point of control, update the latest security patches to prevent OS security gaps, and provide you the ability to lock or wipe a device remotely. We also provide a 24/7 help desk that can assist with any technical or security issue quickly and efficiently. Our clients never have to worry about mobile malware with us on their side!
If mobile device management seems like a good fit for your company, let’s connect!