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Occasional Contributor
Occasional Contributor

Fact or Fiction - Can a mobile phone get a virus?

Fact or Fiction - Can a mobile phone get a virus?

I have heard that it can as it is a mini computer in a sense. On my computer, both Microsoft and Windows technical staff can do a remote access INTO my computer. If a mobile phone is a mini computer, then they should be able to do a remote access INTO it too - yet they tell me they can't as it is not a computer in that sense. So does 'that sense' whatever it is, also apply to viruses on mobile phones. Regards 1Convict

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Honoured Contributor
Honoured Contributor

Re: Fact or Fiction - Can a mobile phone get a virus?

Are we talking iPhone or Android first up? 


iPhones/Apple have long said they can't get viruses because the software is so contained and vetted. To get an app published for an iPhone takes a fair bit of effort to pass this. That's why there are a lot yes 'junk' apps on the Apple Store than on Google Play. Android is much more open and so there's more scope for malicious apps to be found.


Both phone come locked down to prevent unauthorised software being installed. On Androids you can change the settings to allow apps not from the Google Play Store to be installed. Even then there are protections but you can also 'root' your phone which gives access to some great functionality but you lose a bunch of the security.


Apps rely on permissions which is usually how they act as viruses. Basically people download somewhat dodgy free apps for what ever reason and give the app permissions that allow it to do stuff you didn't intent (For example one 'virus' got the permission to make calls and so auto called an international sex line at midnight which autocharged the caller $5/minute on their next phone bill.)


On the specific area you mention (logging in remotely) there are already the same programs help desk use to do this available to log them into your phone. (Go see TeamViewer). But these are extensive programs and you would very deliberately install them. They still need passwords and confirmation to initiate the link too each time.


All that said, google releases a 'security' update every month so that's protecting us from something. But mostly 'viruses' on phones are actually apps the user installs that either steal personal info (passwords etc.) or add call charges (like above). Its pretty easy to avaoid them if you stay reasonably mainstream in the apps you install. Google (and presumably Apple) have protection features for wandering off the path too far


Peter Gillespie

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