There’s a decent chance that at some point you’ve installed malware that infected your phone and worked (without you noticing) in the background. According to a global report commissioned by private company Zimperium, more than one-fifth of mobile devices have encountered malware. And four in ten mobiles worldwide are vulnerable to cyber attacks. But how do you know if your phone has been targeted? And what can you do? Like personal computers, phones can be compromised by malware. For example, the Hummingbad virus infected 10 million Android devices within a few months of its creation in 2016, and put as many as 85 million devices at risk.
With roughly 84 percent of the world’s population possessing a smartphone and our reliance on them expanding all the time, these devices have become a lucrative target for con artists. Kaspersky Lab, a cyber security firm, discovered roughly 3.5 million harmful attempts on mobile phone users last year. Viruses are a sort of dangerous software that frequently appear in spam messages sent to our phones via text message or email (malware).
Every day we’re sent links by brands, politicians, friends and strangers. You download apps on your devices. Maybe you use QR codes. And any of these could be hiding something more sinister. A faceless person wearing a shirt and jacket clicks on a mouse on a desktop. Typically, a phone virus works the same way as a computer virus: a malicious code infects your device, replicates itself and spreads to other devices by auto-messaging others in your contact list or auto-forwarding itself as an email.
Flubot scammers regularly change their target countries. According to cyber security firm Bitdefender, FluBot operators targeted Australia, Germany, Poland, Spain, Austria and other European countries between December 1 2021 and January 2 of this year. While Apple devices are generally considered more secure than Android, and less prone to virus attacks, iPhone users who “jailbreak” or modify their phone open themselves up to security vulnerabilities.
A virus can limit your phone’s functionality, send your personal information to hackers, send your contacts spam messages linking to malware, and even allow the virus’s operator to “spy” on you by capturing your screen and keyboard inputs, and tracking your geographical location. In Australia, Scamwatch received 16,000 reports of the Flubot virus over just eight weeks in 2021. This virus sends text messages to Android and iPhone users with links to malware. Clicking on the links can lead to a malicious app being downloaded on your phone, giving scammers access to your personal information.