Phone_Virus

Can You Explain Cell Phone Viruses to Me, a Regular Guy Who Occasionally Watches Porn on His Mobile Device?

Contracting a virus from online videos is the least of your worries

There was a time — before screens dominated our daily lives — when most families had a single computer, and a designated computer room for said computer. During this time, anti-virus softwares like McAfee and Norton were all but mandatory if you wanted your computer to last more than a month. And of course, there was the ever-haunting feeling that every time you downloaded a song or waited (hours) for a porn clip to load that you were risking the life of your mainframe. But then, things changed: MacBooks and iPhones came along, and while computer viruses still infected many PC users, if you had a Mac, you were probably safe.

Today, however, since smartphone usage surpasses regular computer usage, viruses have evolved so that they’re better suited to infect our five-inch screen overlords.

Shit! It’s been a long time since I’ve heard anyone talk about computer viruses. What are they again?

It’s sort of like a flu for your operating system. “In more technical terms, a computer virus is a type of malicious code or program written to alter the way a computer operates and is designed to spread from one computer to another,” reports Norton.com. “A virus operates by inserting or attaching itself to a legitimate program or document that supports macros in order to execute its code. In the process, a virus has the potential to cause unexpected or damaging effects, such as harming the system software by corrupting or destroying data.”

Are you saying that the same thing that destroyed my family computer when I downloaded songs from Limewire also exists for my cell phone?

Sort of. “While it’s technically possible for iPhones (and iPod touches and iPads, since they all run the same operating system) to get viruses, the likelihood of that happening right now is low,” reports LifeWire.com. “Only a few iPhone viruses have been developed, and many of those were created by security professionals for academic and research purposes and haven’t been released on the internet.”

Is the same thing true for Android phones?

According to Lookout.com, to date we haven’t seen viruses that replicate themselves like a PC virus can and specifically on Android viruses characterized by their old definition do not exist. “However, there are many other types of Android malware,” reports Lookout.com. “Most people think of any malicious software as a virus, even though it is technically inaccurate.”

Wait, so now you’re saying there is malicious software that’s going to destroy my phone, but the kids are calling it malware?

Technically, malware is less likely to destroy your phone than it is your life. “Malware, short for malicious software, is software designed to secretly control a device, steal private information or money from the device’s owner,” reports Lookout.com. “Malware has been used to steal passwords and account numbers from mobile phones, put false charges on user accounts and even track a user’s location and activity without their knowledge.”

Please tell me there’s a way to prevent all that shit from happening to me.

One thing you should always do according to Top Ten Reviews, is read through and pay more attention to the terms and conditions of any app you download. “Within the tiny print of those permission agreements, you may miss the section stating what the app will have access to, including your location, contacts list, social media accounts, email, text and video messages, calendar and so forth,” per their report. So to prevent that from happening, you should consider downloading a mobile virus protection software, which scans every app before it’s downloaded to your phone and sends you a report on which parts of the app could put you at risk.

But how will I know if malware has already been installed on my phone?

Ummm. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance you won’t until it’s too late.