Do iPhones get infected by malware? The answer may surprise those who use iOS devices because they absolutely can. It’s quite rare, but some flaws in the operating system can leave these mobile devices vulnerable to attacks.

Are You Infected?

If you’re infected with a computer virus you’ll be infected by a piece of code that propagates itself by hijacking connections with other devices so that you accidentally pass it on. This can be done by electronic messaging applications or even by old fashioned social engineering. iOS is typically vulnerable to viruses in instances where attackers hack into a pre-existing and respectable iOS application and insert code that can, in some instances, sneak through the App Store’s approval stage. The risk is extra high for those who have jailbroken their devices.

The issue most viruses find is that iOS is quite an isolated platform and it’s pretty tough for the malware to access other applications (which it has to do to spread itself). One potential way that hackers get around this problem is by social engineering the victim to put their developer setting on, which can allow the virus to travel from an iOS device to a computer. This can cause serious problems, and in many instances, you might be forced to restore your hard drive if worst comes to worst. The instance of ransomware, which is pretty nasty stuff, is quite rare: mostly hackers just want to propagate their virus and find entry points to do so, but ransomware is becoming more popular.

You might be able to tell if you’re infected if you observe strange behavior from your iPhone or iPad that occurs only when you use certain apps. This type of strange behavior could include redirecting you to a strange web page in Safari or opening the App Store without your permission. You can find the route of the problem with iOS antivirus applications which can also protect you from future threats.

However, if you’ve noticed strange behavior on your iOS device and it continues to happen no matter which of your apps are open, it is more likely that you have a hardware problem or have accidentally changed a key setting. There are basically no instances of viruses ever penetrating through to the heart of an iPhone or iPad’s operating system and affecting the device on multiple levels. If you feel like there is a chance that has happened, you may want to take your device to an Apple Genius bar.

However, if you feel you just have a problem app you should first check the App Store to see if there is an updated version that you could download, as the problem may be easily fixed. If not, you can always Tweet or email the developers of the app and make sure that they’re aware. If you can’t solve the problem with an update, it’s advisable for you to uninstall it. If you don’t notice any strange behavior from your phone after that you can be assured that the app was the culprit. If that’s the case, you should either try to manage without the app or check up with the developers every now and then to see if they’ve fixed it.