Consumer Alert: Smartphone viruses

Posted: Updated:
EDISON -

Scammers are targeting smartphones more and more, but experts say most of the time, consumers can still fix the problem fairly easily.

Kevin Haley, with cybersecurity company Symantec, said in general, any message that pops up on a smartphone while the user is browsing the Internet cannot be trusted.

“Generally, those are a scam,” he said.

Haley said pop ups claiming that a virus has damaged the phone can only be harmful if the user clicks on the link.

“The bad guys are looking to encrypt the data on your phone, lock the screen and hold you for ransom to get your phone back,” he said.

Experts advise that rather than clicking on the link, users should simply close the web browser and relaunch it.

If the problem persists, go to the phone’s settings and clear the web history, including all cookies. The next step to take if the issue isn’t resolved is to just power the phone off and turn it back on.

If none of those options work, the next steps are more serious. The device must be reset and restored from a backup. 

Haley said professional help should be sought if a reset does not work because the phone may actually have malware installed on it.

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