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Florida Atty. Gen. Ashley Moody Warns Malware Can Drain Your Phone's Battery, Bank Accounts

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) - We all know to protect our computers and tablets with security programs to prevent malicious viruses and trackers, but what about our phones.

Florida's Attorney General Moody has issued a warning about a new malware attack that targets mobile phone users.

Accidentally downloading this malware gives scammers the ability to steal sensitive information, including mobile payment app logins and banking credentials. It may also allow the scammer to remotely take control of the phone.

"This pandemic has changed the way we send and receive money—moving more of these transactions online and increasing the popularity of mobile payment apps. This opens the door wider to hackers, phishing scammers, and vicious malware attackers. Unknowingly falling for their traps could lead to devastating financial losses," said Moody in a statement.

There are some ways you can avoid getting malware on your phone.

First, research phone apps before downloading them. If you get a text message, email or phone call that appears to be from a bank or other financial institution, give them a call directly and do reply to the solicitation. Finally, only send money to people you know or trusted businesses.

  • Signs that mobile malware is already on a phone include:
  • Rapidly decreasing battery power;
  • Large amounts of data being used, especially when the phone is not in use;
  • Unexplained apps appearing on the phone; and
  • Unauthorized purchases originating from a phone.

Google has information in its help center on how to remove unwanted ads, pop-ups and malware from a mobile phone or computer.

Downloading security apps may help to keep your phone free of malware, but be sure to thoroughly research any such app through independent reviews to avoid mistakenly downloading malware.

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