Mobile phones now have the computing power of what an actual computer had just a few years ago. As the mobile phone has turned into a portable, pocket-sized computer, it also takes on many of the advantages and disadvantages of a computer, including the possibility of a virus. While there are fewer files to access on your mobile device, you still have everything from social log-in information and banking data to protect. That is why you need to know how to check your phone for viruses.
What Is a Cell Phone Virus?
A cell phone virus works exactly like any other virus. It enters onto your mobile through an Internet connection or through opening an infected email attachment. A virus can also enter onto your phone through an application. If you download an application through a third party service and the application connects to the Internet, it may bring in unwanted files and viruses you don’t even know about. The main problem is mobile devices do not come with anti-virus software, so you may not know if your phone has been infected or not. That is exactly why you need to understand how to check your phone for viruses.
What a Cell Phone Virus Can Do
A cell phone virus can do exactly what a regular computer virus can do. In fact, you may house more personal information on your mobile phone than on your computer, including passwords to log onto almost all of your social media accounts, log-in data for your banking profiles, your fingerprint, retina scan, and a host of other information.
Now, not all viruses are designed to sneak onto your mobile device and siphon off all of your information. Some are just designed to be annoying and constantly flash pop-up or adware images onto your screen. Other files will just bog down your mobile phone and make it feel sluggish (if your phone is slow it doesn’t mean it is under attack of viruses, but this is one of the possible reasons why your phone is acting less than smoothly).
Thankfully, it is easier to shut down your phone and restart it back to its factory settings, so should your phone ever fall under the influence of viruses you can revert it back. However, you need to act quickly and to do what you can to prevent this from happening. By knowing how to check your phone for viruses you’ll have a better idea as to what is going on with your phone and whether you need to remove viruses from your phone.
Is Your Phone Susceptible to Viruses?
The short answer to this is yes, your phone is susceptible to viruses, which is why you need to know how to check your phone for viruses. It doesn’t matter whether you have an Android or iOS based device. If you’re connected at all to the Internet then you’re opening yourself up to viruses.
With that said, if you have a non-smartphone, such as an old flip phone where you’re just making phone calls, then you’re fine. You won’t have any kind of viruses on your device. Chances are though, you don’t have this kind of phone. Instead, you have a different kind of device that has been made in the last few years.
Which Operating System is More Susceptible?
It is true Android devices are more likely to be hit by a virus. This is because Android is a base operating system made by Google. It isn’t designed specifically for each mobile phone. In a way it is similar to Microsoft Windows. It is a quality operating system that doesn’t necessarily fit as tightly around the hardware specs as Apple’s iPhone. That’s because Apple creates both the OS and the phone (that is unless you’re using a Google Pixel, in which case you have better protection than other Android devices as Google makes both the OS and the phone).
This doesn’t mean an iOS device is not going to be hit by a virus. Many of the most common reasons why mobile phones are hit with viruses have nothing to do with files coming in through applications. These applications are vetted by Apple and Google so the applications do not contain files (and will be taken down quickly should a problem ever come up). However, if you’re opening virus infected email attachments, it doesn’t matter what phone you’re using.
More emails are now opened with a mobile device than with a traditional computer, which is why more and more virus makers are designing viruses to be mobile-friendly. The files do need to be specific (typically) to Android or iOS based, but the Apple iPhone is the most popular phone in the United States, meaning malicious coders are going to look there first. Android is the most popular operating system, so they’re going to look there as well. This means each device is just as susceptible to being hit with a virus through an email.
How to Check Your Phone for Viruses
When learning how to check your phone for viruses, you need an anti-virus scanner application installed on your phone. There are plenty of excellent applications available for download through Google Play or the App Store, so check out what’s available and download what works best for your budget and gives you the features you like. Most will have an anti-virus scan feature, although you should also go with an option that includes an email scan feature as this is one of the main ways viruses will come onto your phone.
Run the Anti-Virus Scan
Once the application is installed on your phone, open it up and run it. Allow the anti-virus application to run a complete system scan. Thankfully as your phone’s storage space isn’t all that large this shouldn’t take long. Once complete it will show you what viruses (if any) it has identified.
While you are at it, it is a good idea to use other features on your anti-virus software to help speed up your phone. If you’ve noticed your phone has slowed down it likely is because your system cache is backed up. You need to clear this out. If the application has performance features turn this on and clear out the cache. It won’t delete any personal or important files. In fact, these files are usually deleted every time you restart the phone, but from time to time the phone does not do this. By clearing the system cache you’ll instantly notice a zippier, faster moving phone.
How to Avoid Viruses on the Phone
Having an anti-virus application installed on your phone to scan for possible viruses is a good feature to have. However, you need to also know how to avoid viruses in the first place. Once a virus has planted itself on your phone, it may be too late to prevent some of your personal information from being sent out to an unwanted third party.
Beyond how to check your phone for viruses, you’ll want to keep your phone’s OS up to date. When your service provider or hardware provider releases an update make sure to download it as soon as possible. These downloads often include system updates, which improve the security features of your phone. With iOS and the Google Pixel the updates come directly from the operating system and hardware manufacturer.
With other Android based devices, such as those from Samsung and LG, you need to wait for your service provider to offer downloads, which can take longer (and another reason why these phones are more likely to be hit with a virus). Whatever you do and whatever phone you have, always download system updates when available.
Next, you want to avoid downloading any kind of email attachments unless you know for sure who the email is from. You don’t want to open yourself up to possible problems and viruses because you opened a file was from a third party pretending to be an account you trust. Due to this, always look at the sender’s email address. You’ll find emails that look like they are sent from Apple, Amazon, Google, and others have a long, foreign-looking email address. That’s because it is a phishing scam and likely contains a virus in an attachment.
When it comes to protecting your phone and all the information stored on your phone, you need to know how to check your phone for viruses. With this information, you can download anti-virus software and do what you can to protect yourself and the files stored on the device. The last thing you want is to let a virus siphon off important information from your phone and transmit it to a third party.
Due to all the personal information and data you have stored on your phone the best course of action is to be careful with what you download on the device while also having an anti-virus application running on the phone for added protection.