5 signs your Android could be infected


Android malware is spreading at a dizzying pace, posing a threat to millions of smartphone users worldwide and attracting criminals with dreams of untold illicit wealth. In the second half of 2012 alone, Bitdefender found, malware spiked 292 percent from the first half.

Android malware is also becoming harder to detect for the average smartphone user who pays little attention to security as criminals learn to cover their tracks.

Fortunately, most malware creators are not rocket scientists – and a user doesn’t have to be a computer scientist to combat them. A few signs can alert users to an infected device:

1. Racked-Up Phone Bills

Android malware often infects devices and starts sending SMS messages to premium-rated numbers. While its effects are easily seen in your phone bill, not all Trojans are so greedy. They may sometimes send an SMS message once a month to avoid suspicions, or they may uninstall themselves after punching a serious hole in your budget.

Whether using a monthly plan or a pay-as-you-go subscription, it should be easy to figure out such message-sending malware has found its way onto a device.

2. Data Plan Spikes

Malware that smuggles data from your device to a third party can often be detected by an examination of your data plan bill. Significant changes in your download or upload patterns could be a sign that someone, or something, has control over your device.

Setting up data meter quotas might help figure out if a device has been compromised by data-broadcasting malware. It will also help dodge high phone bills.

3. Battery Drain

Android users who don’t compulsively install apps or perform other battery-straining activities have a good idea of how long their battery should last. Malware can give itself away because batteries drain quicker than usual with such e-threats installed.

Either hiding in plain sight by pretending to be a regular application or staying hidden from prying eyes, abnormal battery drainage is usually a malware footprint.

4. Performance Clogging

Depending on device hardware specifications, malware infestation may cause serious performance problems as it tries to read, write, or broadcast data. Performance clogging is yet another sign that malware might be present on your device.

Checking RAM (Random Access Memory) use or CPU load could reveal the presence of malware that’s actively running on the device.

5. Dropped Calls and Disruptions

Mobile malware could affect ongoing or incoming calls. Dropped calls or strange disruptions during a conversation might reveal the existence of mobile malware that’s interfering.

If carriers are not to be blamed for poor service, then some strand of mobile malware could be blamed. Calling service providers and clarifying whether the issue is at their end, should be a priority – if they’re not having problems, someone or something may be trying to eavesdrop on conversations or perform other activities.

Stay Safe and be Mindful

Staying safe from any type of malware is as easy as installing mobile security software that offers around-the-clock protection. Trusting antivirus software to keep your device safe from intrusions should be a top priority. The harm that malware can cause should never be underestimated.

A wise move it to scrutinize every permission an Android app asks of the user – many apps ask for invasive permissions when they don’t need them at all.

The Android builds most targeted by malware are the common ones – Gingerbread, Ice Cream Sandwich, and Jelly Bean. Some 87.4 percent of Android users at risk from malware are using one of these builds, according to the Android Developer Dashboard. Users of these builds should remain extra vigilant.

  • fluxgfx

    Being and Android fan boy here I’ve never seen any of the above. I’ve been using Android phone for nearly 4yrs now. I have yet been unable to get my phone infected with anything that “APPARENTLY is being reported”.

    I don’t run any service/antivirus/anti malware of any kind on my device. Running a JB Custom ROM and yes it’s rooted.

    So… if this HIGH risk has increased by 292%… where are these numbers being picked from cause it doesn’t reflect the reality of Android users here in Canada and most us have good groups of Android users and we can’t seem to understand any of what is mentioned. So where’s the facts? the studies? independant reviews? reputed analyst?…. I wonder.

    • From what I read this only applies to countries that do not use the official Google Play store to install apps. I think the number I heard was 90% of these malware numbers come from China…but don’t quote me on that.

      • So far, reading through the source shows that this is exactly the case and largely does not apply to anywhere that uses the play store for their app installs, which means this article speaks to audiences in Japan and China and not the us or Canada. Translate to Japanese and Chinese so those users can read it.

  • krez

    Guest advertisement by BitDefender…
    Fixed that for you.

    • zerk

      Yeah…right. Keep your device unprotected. Smart decision.

      • Ryuuie

        lol “unprotected”. Seriously, if you’re not doing anything like installing APKs from shady places you will be 100% fine. This isn’t Windows for god’s sake.

  • someone

    Even if this were the case:

    1. If Android detects large amounts of texts from one application, it will prompt you if you want to continue.

    2. Android already has a mobile data warning / hard limit meter built in.

    5. The only way an app can interfere with calls is if you see the “intercept phone calls” permission, so this is already a big red flag if its just a game.

    • anonymouser

      some viruses are “polite” and stay just under the system’s soft limit for texts or data traffic – in the end, the object of the game is to make some money, not to cause damage enough to “kill” the host.

  • Ryuuie

    Nice article…which company paid you? Lookout? Avast? McAfee? Symantec? Maybe Norton or even Vipre?

    Stop giving the Apple trolls and fanboys ammo and stop reading into the bunk you hear online all the time from those companies I listed.

    Google themselves has stated that this “viruses on Android” shit is a load of crap. Snakeoil claims just to get you to buy something or use something you don’t need to “protect” you.

    I’d expect a gullible user to fall for this crap, but not an Android fanblog. Ugh.

  • Greg stroz

    Unlocked and rooted, flashed dozens of custom ROMs…no malware issues ever