Mobile malware has grown 614% in 2013, according to a study conducted by Juniper Network. Malware is used to gather sensitive information or to gain access to private computer systems. The attacks are then turned into a profit-driven business. SMS Trojans, the most popular threat category, secretly send SMS text messages to premium text messaging services. This can generate around $10 USD of profit to the attacker. The other spyware applications can capture and transfer user data through a backdoor.
Malware has long been a threat to the computer, but few are aware of the spreading popularity on handheld devices. Malware creators are counting on users to be inattentive to their phone security. Take special notice of these symptoms to identify if your phone is infected.
- Sluggish Performance. If you have ever had your computer infected with malware you will be familiar with the slow processing and CPU overload. Malware can cause significant performance problems as the device is trying to read, write, and display data from your smartphone. If you find that you frequently reboot several times a day, the running back-ground data may be malware. Processing power can be so consumed it will not allow your apps to work properly.
- Shortened Battery Life. Once you become familiar with your phone and the apps that you use, you should have a pretty good idea of how long the battery will last. If you find that your battery is mysteriously drained faster than normal, this is often a sign of a malware infestation.
- Call Disruptions. It may not be the fault of your mobile carrier. If you are experiencing dropped calls and strange disruptions during a conversation, this could be an indication of mobile malware.
- Data Usage. Significant changes in your data usage pattern could be a sign that malware has control of your device. A third-party may be smuggling data from your device. Using a data quota may help to identify if your device has been compromised. This may also save you from high phone bills.
- Phone Bill Spikes. The malware that sends SMS messages to premium-rated numbers can be easily identified on your phone bill, but other malware may keep activity low to avoid suspicion. Or will uninstall after making a significant impact to your budget. Frequently check you bill to identify if you device has message-sending malware.
The current growth trend indicates that hackers will continue to increasingly target smartphones and their users. Expect the attacks to grow sneakier and more sophisticated. Maintain the current OS updates on your phone and only install apps that you have researched, have positive ratings and are from reliable companies. Once malware is identified, the device may need to have a factory reset.