Malware, ransomware and other viruses are no longer a concern reserved only for desktop and laptop devices. Smartphones and tablets are quickly becoming the main computing device choice among technology users, and malicious sources are targeting these devices to compromise the owner’s personal information.

A virus can be downloaded unknowingly from email, unsecure websites, text messages and apps. While a device can show no symptoms of a virus, there are warning signs to indicate when a smartphone or tablet needs to be examined by a professional.

  1. Pop-ups
    1. Certain sites may already have pop-up advertisements, but an increased amount of these ads is an indication there may be a virus on a device. Clicking on the virus-based pop-up ads can lead to even more device damage.
  2. Increased, unaccounted for data usage
    1. If the amount of Internet-related activity on a device hasn’t increased, but the available data is draining quickly, a virus could be responsible. Viruses communicate by running background tasks to communicate with the Internet, and rapidly consuming data.
  3. Strange app activity
    1. Applications shutting down during use, or new apps that have not been downloaded in the past showing up on a device’s homescreen indicate virus activity on a device. Viruses may interfere with regular app usage, or manifest as an app that looks familiar but was not downloaded by the device owner.
  4. Decreased battery life
    1. Running background tasks, interfering with app usage, manifesting in pop-up ads and using large amounts of data all leads to a device’s battery draining quickly. If a smartphone or tablet is displaying any of these warning signs, a virus might be responsible.

Mobile devices process and store valuable personal information. For this reason, the risk of a device falling victim to a virus can lead to significant informational loss. To keep devices healthy, users should never open links from fishy sources, download unverified apps or click on pop-up ads. Regularly running security tests can also alert users of any suspicious device activity.