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Researchers at Avast, an antimalware company, just recently identified an adware scam called UltimaSMS Adware that abuses Android apps to subscribe users to premium SMS services that charge up to $40 a month. That is just one of the many examples of the malware doing the rounds on the mobile Internet.

Furthermore, Avast says that adware that hijacks a device to spam the user with unwanted ads accounts for 72% of all mobile malware. Once you have malware on your phone, it can display ads where they don’t belong, redirect you to malicious websites, steal your data, and more besides.

Some signs of adware on your phone include battery and data suddenly depleting faster than usual, apps taking ages to load, apps freezing or crashing, and unexpected changes to your phone settings that you didn’t make.

Alcatel outlines some ways to safeguard your Android smartphone from malware:

  • Download your apps from official app stores like Google Play or directly from the app’s website. Apps on unauthorised third parties’ sites are more likely to be riddled with adware and other unwanted bonuses. Be especially wary of pirated software.
  • Have a look at the app’s ratings. Occasionally, something may slip through the approval processes onto an official app store. User reviews and ratings may alert you to any problems.
  • Always be sure to install the latest updates to your core apps and to the Android operating system as soon as they become available. These updates usually ‘patch’ vulnerabilities, or flaws in the software, that hackers and malware authors can exploit to gain access to your data.
  • Your Android smartphone can scan for malware, but an antivirus app can give you a little more peace of mind. Search the Google Play Appstore to see which ones fit your needs and your budget.
  • Don’t open any link you get in a personal message from a stranger on any social media platform since they may be trying to get you to download malware.
  • Be careful about the permissions you give apps. Do not give apps permission to access your calling history, private messages, location, camera, microphone, and more. Only do so if you trust them and when it’s necessary.