Every now and then, practically everyone downloads a virus or clicks on an unsafe email attachment and gets their device infected by malware. These situations happen so often that most of us take them for granted. However, you have to be aware that these mundane attacks may end up costing you a lot more than you think. According to data gathered by Microsoft Security Intelligence, a rough estimation of cost of all households impacted by malware, viruses and spyware is more than 4.5 billion dollars (you can read a little more detailed analysis of it in The Magic of Being Hacker).
Spyware in particular has become a huge problem in the last few years, and if you aren’t careful, you could end up spending a huge chunk of your budget solving the problem. There are, however, a few steps you could take to prevent the installation of spy software on your mobile device, and even your phone is already infected, you can detect it and remove the threat in a just a few easy steps.
Malware Prevention in 3 Steps
1. Using a VPN
Virtual Private Networks are mostly used for online anonymity, but they are also a great spyware prevention. People often forget that one of the biggest threats for their online security are free, unsafe hotspots, which are chalk-full of hackers who are just waiting to steal your personal data or install spyware on your phone. A VPN encrypts all of the data your phone receives and sends, which in turn, makes installing malicious software on your device practically impossible. So if you’re looking for the best layer of protection against cybercriminals, browse a little, and try to find the best VPN for you and your phone.
2. Downloading for Secure Sources
Even though most people only download from Google Play and the App Store, you would be surprised to know just how many people still download apps and software from random stores they come across while surfing the web. So if you want to minimize the risk of spyware, you should check every app before you download it. Sometimes, apps in official stores contain malware, so you have to make sure that you are installing software from trusted sources.
3. Regular Updates
Updates may be a pain in the neck – some of them last for a quite a while, and some, like the last Windows 10 update for example can even cause serious problems with user’s devices. Nevertheless, regularly updating both your OS and your protection software will ensure that there is no spyware installed on your phone, because most of those malicious apps function only work with specific types and versions of your operation system.
How to Detect Malware
Excessive Battery Loss
It may be true that today’s batteries don’t last for a couple of days, but if you notice that your battery is empty just after a few hours, and you phone is just a couple of months old, this may be a clear sign of spyware. While new spy software doesn’t drain your battery that fast, they still make a noticeable difference in your batter’s life, and they are actually easy to spot.
Data Usage is Too High
If you check your bill and your data usage is too high on a regular basis, your smartphone might be compromised. So if this happens to, you there can always be a chance that you’ve become reckless with your internet usage, but it would be wise to see if you have any unwanted apps installed on your phone.
Noise during Your Calls
Of course, the connection during your calls may be bad from time to time, but again, if this starts happening too often, someone might be using spyware to listen in or to record your calls. In most cases, the users hear the background noise because many malicious programs establish a sort of a conference call in order to monitor your phone calls and steal your data.
If Everything Else Fails – Factory Reset
Those are the few most important things you need to pay attention to in order to identify that you’re being spied on. If your phone happens to be infected (but if you follow our prevention methods, you definitely won’t), and you’re not that tech-savvy, you should just go ahead with a complete factory reset of your device. This will uninstall all of your apps, and thus, eliminate all threats. But be warned, this will also delete all of your files, so if you want to preserve your address book, pictures, notes and videos, you should do regular backups, just in case.