Yes, Your Phone Can get a Virus!

Well, it finally happened to me. I got a virus on my phone, an Android HTC EVO. I have suspicions on how it got infected – most likely from a text message. I never download anything or do crazy stuff with my phone. Heck, it’s been almost a year since I last downloaded an app from the marketplace. Still, it got infected.

Cellphone Virus Symptoms:

I knew things were amiss when my phone started blasting popups every thirty seconds and blocked email and internet connections. The symptoms of an infected phone are the same as you would expect from a sick PC; slowness, pop-up ads, strange behavior, internet and email connections that stop working, etc.

iPhones Don’t Get Viruses- FALSE:

Don’t be fooled into thinking your iPhone is immune. We have had several clients with infected iPhones this year. A recent iPhone virus will ghost dial and send text messages to people in your contact lists, spreading itself through text message attachments. I speculate my phone got infected through the same delivery method, only on the Android platform.

How Mobile Phones Get Viruses:

Whether it’s an iPhone or a PC, it’s almost always human error that allows a virus in. Hackers use the same simple psychological exploits to infect phones as they do PCs – curiosity and greed. Curiosity is exploited by sending you a video, photo, or link to some cool page. It’s difficult to resist the urge to watch the video of a dancing cat your Aunt Sue sent you. Everyone wants something for free, too. Whether it is a free app, music, or the latest Spiderman movie, free is always better. Hackers exploit your greed and pack viruses into freebie downloads.

Defending Against Mobile Phone Viruses:

Understanding how your phone can be exploited is the best defense. Don’t succumb to greed and curiosity and you will avoid 95% of the viruses out there. I wish I could recommend a good anti-virus or defense program, but there are none out there yet that we are confident in. Keeping your phone updated to the latest operating system and firmware helps avoid known exploits, but the best defense is being smart.

Removing Mobile Phone Viruses:

Unfortunately, the only sure way to rid your phone of a virus is to wipe it clean. I suggest keeping your personal items such as photos and music regularly backed up. The iPhone allows you to do so through the iCloud and through iTunes. Android backups vary from phone to phone. You can also restore your iPhone to its factory state through iTunes, but again, Androids vary.

Bottom line is, don’t assume your phone is safe. If you phone can access the internet, has texting capabilities, and has apps, it can get a virus. Phones these days are more and more like computers, and we need to start taking the same precautions with our phones that we do with our laptops.

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