Your phone can get hacked just like your computer — here are 4 warning signs

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Confident young female entrepreneur wearing yellow sweatshirt using smart phone while sitting by computer at desk in office
Check your phone often for malicious apps. (Photo: Getty)

It is one of the most frustrating things that can happen to your phone — malware. In addition to serving up your personal information to cybercriminals on a shiny digital platter, malware can slow down your smartphone. Malware can also spread ads across your legitimate apps and web browser windows in an effort to generate click-baity revenue for scammers.

According to CNET, the warning signs of malware on your phone include:

  • Ads that pop up everywhere, no matter which app you’re using at the time.

  • After you install an app, the icon disappears.

  • Battery life is much shorter than it used to be.

  • You notice that your phone has apps you aren't familiar with.

In addition to displaying annoying ads on your mobile device, mobile malware can target your private information including your phone number or email address, banking credentials, and contact lists. For an extra line of defense, investing in anti-malware software, like Malwarebytes Premium Multi-Device, can help.

Try Malwarebytes Premium for 30 days free*

Young Asian businessman at home speaking on his cell phone
Investing in anti-malware software for your devices can help stop malicious apps. (Photo: Getty)

“Scammers can easily phish account credentials like emails and passwords... including username and password combinations,” Ari Jacoby, chief executive officer of cybersecurity firm Deduce, tells Yahoo Life. “Attackers then 'stuff' the stolen credentials into sign-ins across different websites — often using botnets — until they find a match.”

This type of cybercrime is on the rise, Jacoby adds. "It’s an inexpensive and easy attack that opens the door for criminals to take over user accounts, which explains why such attacks swelled nearly 300 percent from Q2 2019 to Q2 2020,” says Jacoby.

A program like Malwarebytes Premium Multi-Device will help find and block threats, proactively protecting you from accessing malicious websites, online scams, and phishing attacks specially designed to steal your sensitive information, such as login credentials and credit card numbers.

Try Malwarebytes Premium for 30 days free*

Mother working at home and distracting her son with videos on her cell phone
Hackers hope you'll be too busy to update your cellphone's software. (Photo: Getty)

In addition to adding a level of security with anti-malware software, make sure your smartphone's own software is always updated. Keeping your operating systems and apps current is one of the most important steps users can take to secure their devices and accounts.

After you check for updates, take the time to carefully review what permissions your apps have. Not every app needs your contact list or access to SMS messages.

Getting rid of apps you think are malicious can be tricky, however. In a perfect world, you could remove the app's permissions, delete the app, and get on with your life. The frustrating thing is that some malicious apps give themselves administrator privileges, so they can't be deleted without taking extra steps. If you're having trouble removing a particular suspicious app, CNET recommends going online and searching for the specific steps you need to take to remove the malicious app from your phone.

Try Malwarebytes Premium for 30 days free*