One clear sign your Android has a virus

As I’ve stressed before, it’s not just your computer that can get nasty viruses. Hackers around the world work day and night to figure out ways to break into your Android smartphone to collect personal, private information.

Just think of how much confidential information is stored in your Android gadget, including bank accounts, passwords, emails, social media and probably more. Crooks can take this information to steal your identity, steal from your bank account and can even sell your information on the black market. Even with security measures and programs, your Android gadget can fall to crafty hackers.

As a whole, Androids are a bit more open than Apple products. Their ability to download items directly from the Internet leaves your smartphone and tablet more vulnerable, and hackers can easily take advantage of this. Android users can also download, install and remove third-party applications from unreliable sources.

Malicious apps installed on your Android not only steal your personal information, but they can also drain your gadget’s battery life. Helpful apps like Battery Doctor can help you diagnose exactly which apps are sucking up your battery’s charge. These pesky apps are often paired with viruses that can render your Android useless.

But how do you know when an evil hacker has taken over your Android gadgets? In today’s Android Tip, I’ll show you the easy way to spot the signs that something is suspicious with your phone.

To see if your phone has been pirated by hackers in some far-off land, the first step is to just look at your monthly data usage. This is generally located on your statement from your cellphone service provider. Look for a table or graph that displays your data use over the past few months. Compare the data used since you suspect you got a virus to data used from the prior few months.

You can also check the data used in a given month on your provider’s website. If there has been a spike in usage, this is a strong indication that hackers may have infected your gadget. Pop-up ads and unwanted apps installed by a virus can eat away at data like a hungry hippo.

But data use is not the only telltale clue that your Android has been hacked. Some malware can also target you through SMS text messages. Hackers wrap legitimate apps, like Angry Birds for instance, with an installation virus that prompts users to subscribe to paid text message subscriptions. These could be from horoscope or “joke of the day” services.

Once the installation of the app is finished, the virus disappears. But the damage to your bank account will be ongoing until you stop the subscriptions. Check your cell bill for any unusual charges under the “SMS” category. If so, your Android might be compromised.

These text messages are billed to your account for all different prices and can be a costly mistake. To fix this, uninstall the application that has been causing the charges and reinstall without selecting the “Subscribe to SMS Updates” option. To be safe, never subscribe to text alerts from suspicious sources and opt for pop-up notifications or email subscriptions instead.

Another way to see if your Android has been taken over is by checking if there are any apps on your smartphone that you didn’t download yourself. This may be bloatware, which I discussed in another article recently, or it may be a virus.

To remove an app you suspect is the product of a virus, go into your Settings page. Click Applications>>All Apps, and begin scrolling through the list of applications installed on your Android gadget. Bloatware will not prompt you with an option to delete the app, but a virus app will allow you to delete it.

The delete option is located in the upper right-hand corner, click it and verify you want to delete the app and all of its data. Once you clear you Android of those pesky viruses, it’s time to take the next step. You need to protect your gear from future attacks by downloading my favorite security app, Webroot.

Webroot is the leader in Web security and protects you from threats like viruses, identity theft, phishing scams and spyware. Now you’re free from destructive viruses and data-sucking apps!

On the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show, Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com. Kim also posts breaking tech news 24/7 at News.Komando.com.