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How can you know if your phone has been compromised?

Parvinder Walia, Sales & Marketing Director, ESET APAC | Feb. 5, 2016
Without proper security measures, users risk losing both their personal data and confidential data from work once their mobile device is compromised. In light of this, Parvinder Walia, Sales and Marketing Director at ESET, Asia Pacific, shares 5 things to look out for in order to find out if your phone has been compromised.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

Slowly, mobile users in Asia-Pacific are beginning to understand how important it is to protect their devices from malware. As the information stored on our phones becomes increasingly sensitive, the risk of losing it becomes more real, and the consequences of such a loss is much more significant.

However, users in Asia-Pacific are still not cyber-savvy enough. While a large proportion of consumers are concerned about malware and cyber threats, they don't know or do enough to protect themselves online.

The first step to protecting devices is to know what measures to take to identify malicious actvitiy. What makes this complicated is that attackers involved in a mobile scam will often take measures to prevent the threat or malware from being noticed by the user.

Delaying the malicious action, using only Wi-Fi networks, or reducing the level of activity when the user is operating the device are some of the strategies used by the malware to conceal itself. Nonetheless, eventually the malicious activity will have to kick into action, and that's when you can pay attention to certain signs to detect illegitimate activity. Here are some of the signs that may indicate that your phone has been compromised:

#1: You notice the system or certain apps behaving strangely

One possible clue to diagnosing malware on your device is the sudden failure of apps that usually work fine. If you haven't updated the system or the app in question recently, and then unexpectedly that app suddenly starts closing or displaying various error messages, it may be that some malicious code on your device is interfering with its normal running processes.

The malware may try to take advantage of vulnerabilities present in the system's apps, using them to access permissions that have been granted to them, or to violate the platform and run commands with administrator permissions. Such attempts to exploit the weaknesses of other apps may result in errors that can be noticed by the user.

Being aware of what apps are installed on your phone will make it easier to identify any app that you didn't authorise. Bear in mind that many malicious apps disguise themselves as system components, so an app may be something other than what it appears to be. If the app has requested administrator permissions, you may not be able to uninstall it through the system settings. For this reason, it's important to be extremely careful with what permissions you grant to apps when they are installing-or running.


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