Human beings cannot deny the advancements the Internet and the world wide web has given to them. From changing the fabric of how society communicates to revolutionizing how we did businesses in the past, these innovations have changed the whole interface of our life.
This expansion of technology has hit a worldwide audience now. From your TV Lounge to your classroom, you are surrounded by technology. In such an environment of massive cyberspace, the malware community is repeatedly targeting the digital space and hijacking the data of millions of users on verge of attaining millions of dollars.
Cybercriminals have today acquired multiple ways to acquire data and conduct their malicious work. Statistics reveal that 1 in 15 people have fallen victim to identity theft in 2017 and this number is continuously rising today. By chewing up data from these computers, these hackers are sending out purloined information and damaging the server of your computer.
With expanding digital space, the software’s designed to cause harm and damage files on your computer are proliferating. Your sensitive data is at continuous risk and each device in your hand is an excellent host such cybercriminals can potentially target.
But what this unique software targeting your personal data is about. And why is this type of theft so common in our age? According to Federal Trade Commission, this is the most common category for complaints and the organization itself is sending out warnings to the people to be prepared for them.
By now, you might be intrigued to know what this malicious software is called. And how exactly these programs and codes are harming our computers.
The Cyber community have named the malicious software are Malware. Let us now discuss what is malware and how exactly does it work.
- What is Malware?
- Few Most Common Forms of Malware of Our Age
- How Can Your Phone Become Infected with Malware?
- Signs That You Have Malware On Your Phone
- How To Remove Malware on Your Phone
What is Malware?
Malware, or “Malicious software” generally refers to the malicious program or code that is harmful to your system. This type of intrusive software damages invades or even sometimes disables computers systems, mobile phones, or your tablets, by partially taking control over your device. Just like a human virus, this type of malware hampers the normal functioning of your digital device.
Depending upon its goals, each type of malware has its own method of attacking the consumers. They can either be stealthy or they can be subtle just like a sledgehammer. Moreover, the motives behind the cyber security expert attacking you can vary.
Malware might be intended to make a political statement, or it might brag some rights. In addition to this, it could also be injected to steal your personal information and delete some data from your computer. It can also hijack the core functions of your computer or even alter or spy on your computer activity without your knowledge or permission.
An example of one famous malware of the contemporary age is Pegasus Malware. This is a spyware that can hack any iOS and Android device and steal a variety of data from your device including your emails, key logs, audio, even from Installed applications, such as What’s App, Facebook, and Instagram.
The famous case of the assassination of Jamal Khashhoggi where the Journalist was injected by Pegasus spyware on his phone before his murder itself a chilling documentary of its usage.
We have made it clear how dangerous Malware really is, and how much damage it can cause you. To better understand the topic, let us look at some of the most common forms of malware available today.
Few Most Common Forms of Malware of Our Age
Here are a few of the most common offenders in the Talk Home’s dictionary of Malware:
As already discussed, Spyware is a type of malware that secretly observes the user’s activities without his permission. The malware keeps the author of software updated about your personal chat and steals different data from your mobile.
Just like a normal spy, it spies on you by covertly obtaining information and transmitting it to the hard drive. By violating your data and infringing your privacy, this software endangers the security of your device.
The word Trojan was first used in a US Air Force report in 1974 in which hypothetical ways computers could be compromised were discussed. A trojan is one of the most dangerous malwares as it creates a backdoor for your computer and let the attacker access your computer and control it.
At its worst, the trojan performs Distribution Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on your device and upload all your stolen data onto a hard drive. This type of malware is highly used to hijack the whole hard drive of your computer.
A computer worm is a type of malware that spreads copies of itself from computer to computer. Without even needing any type of human interaction, this malware breaches your system by exploiting security vulnerabilities.
A worm malware can spread through an email attachment, text messages, any file-sharing program, a social networking site, or a removable device. Some famous worms include Jenxcus, Gamarue, and Bondat.
This type of malware publishes or steals the victim’s data and block access to it unless a ransom is paid. The malware makes it difficult for a knowledgeable person to reverse and requires modern knowledge to reverse or get the information back.
If done by an expert hacker, getting the decryption key becomes an intractable problem and difficult to trace. Digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Paysafecard are used for the ransoms, making it tracking of the perpetrator difficult.
This is a software tool that enables an unauthorized person to gain full access to your computer system without being detected. The rootkits have been around for more than 20 years now and affect the user for a longer period.
Rootkit malware allows the injector to install a set of tools that grant him persistent remote access to the computer. This tool kit can involve several malicious tools such as a password stellar, a module for stealing credit card or online banking information by bypassing password protection of the apps. Few Windows-based roots kits include Necurs and Alureon.
Malicious Crypto Mining
In the age of cryptocurrencies, hackers are utilizing new ways to undermine and hijack data and sell it. Crypto-jacking is the type of malicious software that runs into business and personal computers and mines for cryptocurrency present in their computers. They can get access to the wallets of these users and steal their money.
The process requires only a few lines of code. If the user is infected with a type of malware, they are going to experience slower computer response times, increased usage of their processor or even higher electricity bills. Hackers are coming up with new ways to attack your data. It is advisable to use secured networks.
How Can Your Phone Become Infected with Malware?
Virus and malware have long associated themselves with laptop or desktop computers. However, with the increasing popularity of mobile phones and a huge amount of data stored on them today, smartphones have become a new victim of malware now.
For most people, their smartphones are their best friends. They have flouted sensitive information on their mobile’s and their whole business information is stored on their phones. It became a matter of time before hackers started targeting smartphones and accessing data on users’ phones.
So, are you worried that your phone might get infected? Let us look at the ways through which your phone can be infected with malware.
One of the most common ways to get infected by malware is by downloading an app with a virus or malware embedded inside its code. Once you download this type of app, your mobile phone will be infected with malware. Don’t trust any particular operating system when it comes to malware as both iOS and Android can become infected with the virus.
Hackers have identified new methods of infecting your mobile phone with malware and viruses. An e-mail is such a new method where the hacker infects your smartphone with an e-mail. Malware is attached in this type of email and once the user opens the mail, their mobile phones become infected with the malware.
You might have received a text message or push notification telling you to sign up for a particular deal and get millions of dollars. Don’t fall for the trap as no one pays a penny without any benefit. These types of messages contain infected attachments that attempt to control your mobile phone and steal your private information.
SMS or bad website is another growing method of spreading malware and infecting your device.
Using a Mobile Device With Operating System Vulnerabilities
Most mobile phones have vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. Usually, these vulnerabilities can be easily discovered and patched. Make sure your phone is updated to the latest software update. It is very critical to keep your phone updated to its latest version so that hackers cannot exploit those vulnerabilities.
Using Non-Secure Wi-Fi/URLs
By accessing an insecure website, you are at risk of exposing sensitive data on your mobile device. It is suggested to look out for the ‘S’ in ‘HTTP’ as they represent a secured network. Moreover, avoid using a VPN on your phone to make your phone even much secure.
The browser on your phone itself is a source of a bunch of vulnerabilities. This can lead to a bunch of web browser attacks. Attacks like these are more common on Android devices so make sure you are using the latest version of a web browser as well.
We have identified the way through which malware might infect your mobile phone. Let us now examine the signs that your device is infected with malware.
Related Read: Expert Opinion on APP Security & Data Privacy
Signs That You Have Malware On Your Phone
Battery Draining Faster
A common sign that indicates that indicates malware is infecting your mobile phone is a sudden battery drain of your mobile phone. If your battery is draining faster than expected, the probability is that you are a victim of the malware.
Though your battery could also be damaged, there are certain types of viruses that can severely cause damage to your battery and cause it to drain quickly.
Therefore, if you are experiencing any such problem, your first practical step should be installing a virus scan software. Scan your data and look out for probable infections in your phone.
Certain viruses like DrainerDot malware have been shown to drain the battery of your mobile phone and eat the data of your mobile phone.
One annoying indicator that malware is infecting your mobile phone is the sudden appearance of pop-up ads on your device. These pop-up ads will show even if the user has stopped using a particular application and moved their phones on standby mode.
These pop-ups will also show the user inappropriate advertisements and can cause harm to your child’s device. In a few cases, the user of the mobile applications will also be forced to install a particular application.
In worst cases, this may also brick your device.
If this is an unfamiliar application on your mobile phone, chances are you have malware on your phone. Most viruses infecting a smartphone can cause unfamiliar and unexplained applications to install automatically on your phone.
Whenever you see unfamiliar applications on your phone without your knowledge, make sure to uninstall them. Also, update your mobile phone device on the latest firmware version.
Google App store and Apple store have adopted various methods to stop you from installing unfamiliar applications. And these features are only exclusive to the latest firmware versions.
A Sudden Surge in Data Consumption
This is one of the first signs that your mobile phone is infected. An increment increase in data usage is a major sign of malware. Even though certain applications and games can be heavy on your data, a sudden increase in the amount of data without obvious reasons is a major indicator of malware.
Both Android and iOS are offering a section in the settings app that allows users to review how much data is being used on their device.
Android users are provided with a graph that displays data usage over a specific period while also displaying the total number of data they have consumed over a particular period of time.
If you are an android user, you can check your mobile data usage by opening the settings app and taping Network & Internet settings. You will see an option for data usage. Tap on it to reveal your data usage.
For iPhone/iPad users, simply go to the settings of your phone and tap Cellular or Mobile Data. You will see the amount of data you have consumed on your phone there.
Most smartphones today have powerful processors and high RAM to cope with the latest trends in technology and provide a better user experience. These processors are the brains of your machines and any infringement with them can cause severe performance issues.
If your mobile phone has started to lack performance, it may be a sign that a virus is infecting your mobile phone. The poor performance will be noticeable when playing a game that requires a powerful CPU or GPU.
In general, lack of performance and a slow processor even while making a call or an SMS are signs that you have Malware in your phone.
How To Remove Malware on Your Phone
Clear your Cache and Downloads
To protect your data, clear your cache and unnecessary application from your storage. To clear the cache on your device, open settings and move to applications and notifications. From this menu, select Chrome or any other browser you are using.
In the storage and Cache Menu, click on clear storage and cache to remove unnecessary files from your mobile phone.
Most of the cache on your phone are unnecessary files that may cause harm to your device.
Restart Your Device in Safe Mode
Press and hold the power button on your Android device and restart your device in safe mode. Once you’ve entered safe mode, all third-party applications on your phone will be disabled.
These third-party applications are unauthorized applications that are not offered by the Application Store of your device. These applications are a major cause behind malware infecting your devices.
Find and Remove Malicious Applications
You should always keep an eye on malicious applications on your phone. These malicious applications are an indicator that you have been infected.
You can easily delete these applications by going to the settings of your phones and tapping on ‘See all Apps’. On the next screen, you will see all the installed apps. If you see any unsuspicious application in this menu, just uninstall it.
Also, delete the source file of this application by going to downloads.
Activate Google Protect
The google protects feature in the Google Play store is an amazing feature by Google that monitors your apps from unusual behaviour and indicate the presence of malware on your phone.
Simply, open the Play Store on your Android device, tap your avatar on the right-hand side, and activate Play Protect in the menu.
Google Protect is a unique feature available only on android devices to protect you from a security breach.
Install Anti-Malware Software
Anti-virus applications are the best way to automatically detect or remove malware from your Android phone. These Applications also prevent future infections and always keep you away from malware.
This software will regularly review your files and update you once it detects viruses.
Factor Reset Your Mobile Phone
Any of these methods didn’t work for you, and you still have malware on your mobile phone device? Well, your last resort is to factory reset your mobile phone and remove all your data.
To reset your device, open your Settings and select System. From there, tap on Reset options and chose to erase all data (Factory reset). A pop-up will confirm your action. Complete the process by entering your passcode and Google Accounts password.
Once you are done, all the data on your phone will be removed and the malware will be removed.
In today’s world, we constantly use our smartphones. They have become an integral part of our lives now. We share our intimate details about our life, family and friends with them and you don’t want to share your personal information with an anonymous person.
Don’t let hackers get into your mobile phone and infringe your privacy. Built a strong wall around your smartphone and install robust security or privacy app to protect your data.