How To Check Your Smartphone For Malware Or Spyware

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Hacking tools typically increase in size in proportion to the complexity of the sophisticated technology that powers our smartphones—Android or iOS—as time goes on. This is because technology is getting better every year. Scammers and hackers can still access your smartphone in a variety of ways, even if smartphones can already operate on par with PCs. An erroneous link clicked, an inappropriate photo viewed, or an infected attachment downloaded can all result in the installation of malware or spyware on your smartphone.

How to check your smartphone for malware or spyware

Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you check your smartphone for such threats and safeguard your privacy.

1. Update Operating System and Apps

  • Ensure your smartphone’s operating system and all installed apps are up to date. Developers regularly release updates to patch security vulnerabilities and improve overall performance.
  • Go to Settings > System Updates (or similar) to check for OS updates.
  • Update apps from the Google Play Store (Android) or App Store (iOS).

2. Install Antivirus Software

  • Consider installing reputable antivirus software specifically designed for smartphones. Some popular options include Avast, Bitdefender, and Norton Mobile Security.
  • Run a full system scan to detect and remove any malicious software.

3. Review App Permissions

  • Check app permissions to ensure they are justified and necessary.
  • Android: Settings > Apps & notifications > [App Name] > Permissions.
  • iOS: Settings > Privacy > [App Name].
  • Revoke permissions for apps that don’t need access to certain features or data.

4. Monitor Data Usage

  • Unexplained spikes in data usage could indicate malicious activity, such as spyware transmitting data in the background.
  • Check data usage statistics regularly in your phone’s settings and investigate any unusual patterns.

5. Check Battery Usage

  • Spyware and malware can drain your phone’s battery faster than usual.
  • Review battery usage statistics to identify apps consuming an unusually high amount of power.
  • Android: Settings > Battery.
  • iOS: Settings > Battery.

6. Scan for Unusual Behavior

  • Look out for signs of unusual behavior on your smartphone, such as:
    • Random pop-up ads, even when not using a web browser.
    • Apps crashing frequently or behaving erratically.
    • Sudden appearance of unknown apps.
    • Slow performance or lagging, especially when performing routine tasks.

7. Secure Your Network

  • Ensure your Wi-Fi network is secure by using a strong password and encryption.
  • Avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, as they are more susceptible to snooping and hacking.

8. Avoid Sideloading Apps

  • Stick to downloading apps from official app stores like Google Play Store (Android) or App Store (iOS).
  • Avoid installing apps from unknown sources or third-party app stores, as they may contain malware or spyware.

9. Enable Find My Phone

  • Both Android and iOS offer features to remotely locate, lock, or erase your device in case it’s lost or stolen.
  • Android: Find My Device (Google) – Ensure it’s enabled in Settings > Security > Find My Device.
  • iOS: Find My iPhone – Enable it in Settings > [Your Name] > Find My > Find My iPhone.

10. Reset to Factory Settings

  • If you suspect your smartphone is infected with malware or spyware and you're unable to remove it, consider resetting your device to factory settings.
  • This will erase all data on your phone, so make sure to back up important files first.
  • Android: Settings > System > Reset > Factory data reset.
  • iOS: Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.

11. Seek Professional Help

  • If you’re unsure about how to proceed or suspect a severe infection, seek assistance from a professional or contact your device manufacturer’s support team.
  • They can provide specialized guidance and assistance in dealing with complex malware or spyware infections.

Conclusion

By following these steps, you can effectively check your smartphone for malware or spyware and take necessary precautions to protect your privacy and security. Regularly monitoring your device for suspicious activity and maintaining good security practices will go a long way in keeping your personal information safe from malicious threats. Remember, prevention is key, so stay vigilant and proactive in safeguarding your smartphone and data.