What’s worse, mobile banking malware intercepts incoming calls and text messages to bypass the two-factor authentication security that many banking applications use.
Be aware that cheap phones can come with pre-installed malware that can be practically impossible to clean. (Malwarebytes for Android will alert you to pre-installed malware and provide instructions to remove it.)
When it comes to the mobile malware ecosystem, the two most common smartphone operating systems are Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. Android is the market leader with 80% of smartphone sales, followed by iOS with 15% of sales. So it is not surprising that the more popular Android platform attracts more malware than the iPhone. Let’s see them separately.
Fortunately, there are some unmistakable symptoms that tell you that your Android phone is infected. You can be if you notice any of the following:
If the name of your smartphone starts with a lowercase “i”, congratulate yourself, because malware is not a big problem for the iPhone. This is not to say that it does not exist, but it is very rare. In fact, getting a malware infection on an iPhone only happens mainly in two exceptional circumstances.
“Although actual malware infections are unlikely, using an iPhone does not at all protect against fraudulent calls or text messages.”
The first circumstance is an attack directed by an adversary state or nation, that is, a government that has created or bought, at a millionaire cost, a piece of malware designed to take advantage of some hidden security gap in iOS. Don’t panic, as all devices have some kind of vulnerability. In all certainty, Apple has done a great job to protect the iOS, which even prevents any application (including security software) from scanning the phone or other applications on the device system. This is why it is so expensive to design malware that installs its code for whatever remote-executing activity the attacking state or nation needs.
One particularly notable case took place in 2016, when an internationally renowned human rights defender living in the United Arab Emirates received SMS text messages on his iPhone promising the revelation of “new secrets” about prisoners tortured in the prisons in the Emirates. The message invited the recipient to click on a link. He did not, but sent the message to computer security researchers, who found that it contained an exploit that would have turned the activist’s phone into a digital spy.