Apple takes user security very seriously, and the company includes effective security mechanisms on all of its devices, including the iPad. While the chances of your iPad being infected by a virus are therefore very low, it can still happen, especially if you jailbreak your device. Your iPad can also be a host to other problems like malware, adware, and spyware.
In order to prevent iPad malware and viruses: try to avoid phishing scams that ask you to enter sensitive information like credit card details, only use apps directly from the App Store, don’t jailbreak your iPad, and never give personal information like passcodes to untrusted sites.
Although an iPad doesn’t need antivirus software, that doesn’t mean it’s completely safe from malware and viruses. Luckily, with some key tips and tricks, you can significantly reduce the chances of any issues arising. Let’s look at whether iPads get viruses, whether they need antivirus software, and how you can prevent malware on your device.
Can iPads Get Viruses?
It’s almost impossible for your iPad to be infected by a virus. This is because of the way that Apple’s iPad (on Amazon) operating system is designed.
A virus self-replicates and spreads to different hosts. However, iOS is designed to compartmentalize and isolate each app, which works to prevent a virus from infiltrating other systems.
Still, if you jailbreak your iPad or download apps from somewhere other than the official App Store, your iPad might become vulnerable to other threats like spyware, malware, and adware.
It’s important to stick to the App Store because Apple reviews each and every app on there and provides a certificate that allows it to be installed on an Apple device.
Of course, sometimes, apps with malicious code pass the screening process. It rarely happens, and even if it does, Apple usually finds them and gets rid of them. This ensures that you don’t download a virus-ridden app.
However, if you download an app from somewhere else, there’s no way to know whether that third-party app is safe to use. In such a situation, the app might end up infecting your iPad.
Similarly, jailbreaking your iPad can put it at risk of being infected since it leaves the iPad vulnerable to hackers that can target your device via malicious software, adware scams, or spyware.
Adware can track your download and browser history and use it to predict your personal interests. Scammers then create fake ads targeting your interests and flood your browser with pop-up advertisements.
You might also get a message on the screen saying that you’ve won a reward and you just need to send in some personal information to claim it.
How Does Spyware Affect an iPad?
Meanwhile, spyware damages your iPad without you even knowing (as you might have guessed). It can do a bunch of different things like:
- Collect your information and sell it to external users, data firms, and advertisers.
- Track all your activities on your device, including downloads, browsing history, chat-room dialogs, and keystrokes.
- Function as a Trojan horse (disguise itself as legit software) and allow cybercriminals to get access to sensitive information.
Spyware is quite rare on any iOS device, but it can still infect your iPad if you download pirated media, open attachments from an unknown malicious sender, or download files from untrusted websites.
If you find that your device is extremely slow, displays pop-ups randomly, has run out of space, or tends to crash unexpectedly, then your iPad might be infected with some kind of spyware.
Do iPads Need Anti-Virus Software?
Unlike Android and Windows devices and Macs, you don’t need antivirus software for your iPad. Unless you jailbreak the iPad, you’ll only be able to download apps from the App Store, where each app is isolated to prevent it from infecting other systems. As a result, it’s impossible for a virus to make its way to your iPad.
However, it’s still possible for threats like spyware, malware, and adware to infect your iPad through things like attachments downloaded from untrusted or unsecured websites, phishing, fake ads, etc.
How to Prevent Malware
Cybercriminals are always on the lookout for ways to get access to your devices, which is you should always stay vigilant. Here are some precautions you can take to make sure your iPad stays safe from malware and viruses:
Avoid Phishing Schemes
Phishing basically involves scammers trying to trick you into providing sensitive personal information that they can use to get access to your online accounts or finances.
When it comes to an iPad, phishing schemes involve malicious ad pop-ups, emails from unknown senders that include an infected attachment, and suspicious links that take you to a file or website that can compromise your iPad.
For example, you might see a pop-up on your screen saying that your iPad has been infected or the iOS has crashed and you need to call the given number or click on the given link to fix the problem.
In both cases, the people on the other end are scammers who try to convince you that you need to give important personal information like your social security number, bank account PIN and number, or your credit card number to fix the problem.
Identifying Phishing Schemes
It’s quite easy to identify these scams. Some signs you should look out for include:
- The message in the email or pop-up includes language that urges you to act immediately. You’ll find words like “act now” or “download now.”
- The message is often riddled with grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. Established organizations always have teams that proofread all correspondence, so such errors are a big red flag.
- You’ll be asked to reply to the email with your personal information, download the given attachment, confirm your credentials, or click on a link.
- They use a generic greeting when addressing you, like “Dear customer,” instead of your name. Legit organizations usually send personalized emails that include your name. However, since scammers have no idea about your name, their email is usually more generic.
- The email address might look official at a glance, but a closer look will help you identify what’s wrong with it. For instance, scammers might use a slightly modified domain name that’s difficult to spot if you’re not careful.
Don’t Jailbreak Your iPad
Jailbreaking is the process of removing all the software restrictions put on iOS. Doing so allows users to customize their Apple device however they want and install extensions and software applications that aren’t authorized by Apple. These apps can compromise your iPad as well as your personal data.
Jailbreaking the iPad essentially bypasses Apple’s security, making it possible for malware to infect your iPad via third-party apps. This is why you shouldn’t mess with the operating system.
Never Give Out Information
Both malicious software and spyware can attempt to capture your credit card info or trick you into doing different things like giving up your online banking credentials. However, malware usually doesn’t target iPads in particular, so it’s rare to come across a bad app.
As mentioned earlier, you should only download apps from the App Store, where the chances of you downloading a bad app are really close to zero.
However, it’s still best to be careful. Avoid sharing financial information or personal information on an app unless absolutely necessary. Similarly, never submit your passwords or other sensitive information to untrusted websites.
Keep in mind that most companies won’t ask you for your credit card numbers and passwords. If you received an email asking for such information, avoid clicking on any links or downloading attachments. Instead, directly contact the organization.
Signs Your iPad May Be Hacked
There’s no doubt that Apple devices are some of the most secure devices available today and are resistant to malware and viruses. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be hacked.
Luckily, it’s easy to identify that there’s something wrong with your iPad. You just need to look out for these signs:
- You’re prompted to take some user action related to some antivirus or ransomware. This is perhaps the biggest red flag since iPads don’t need antivirus software.
- Your browser’s toolbar has new websites bookmarked that you don’t remember adding.
- You frequently get pop-ups at random times.
- When you search for something using the browser, you’re redirected somewhere else.
- Your friends receive invitations or messages on social media asking them to click on a link that you haven’t sent.
- You see an application on your iPad that wasn’t there before, and you don’t remember downloading it.
- You’re no longer able to log in to different websites using your password, even though you haven’t changed it.
- You notice money missing from your account even though you didn’t use it anywhere.