How to Detect and Remove a Virus on an Android Phone

Android malware comes in all shapes and sizes. Here we explain how to defend your smartphone against this threat.

Remove Virus on an Android Mobile

Want to Remove a Virus on an Android Phone? Android malware comes in all shapes and sizes. Here we explain how to defend your smartphone against this threat. In this article, we delve into the dark world of Android viruses, how they can infect a smartphone, and what can be done to boost immunity against them. Let’s go there the complete process to detect and Remove a Virus on an Android Phone.

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The first virus for mobiles

For a long time,  mobile viruses were considered something of a myth. However, this collapsed when a group made up of hackers from the Czech Republic and Slovakia named 29a created a virus called Cabir that they sent as proof of concept to various professional cybersecurity labs. When installed, the virus, a  network worm, infected Symbian and Series 60 operating systems through an active Bluetooth connection and displayed the word “Cabir” on the infected phone’s screen. However, as it was only a proof of concept, it did not cause any harm.

Unfortunately, more dangerous variants have emerged since then. Some of the more popular examples are:

  • SymOS / Kiazha.A – A  ransomware Trojan for the Symbian operating system that deleted incoming and outgoing SMS messages.
  • CommWarrior – Another threat that resets the phone on the 14th of every month. Skull images are installed as the background, and the file also disables programs and applications. It also turns all your phone icons into a pirate flag or puzzle images.

Since the popularization of smartphones, many threats of this type have emerged and new ones continue to appear every day. As cybercriminals keep inventing new ways to trick users into installing their malware, the best alternative is to understand how these threats work. Here’s a brief overview of Android malware.

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Types of mobile viruses

Mobile phones have become a fundamental part of our lives, but sadly, they have also become a much more succulent target for cybercriminals. This is logical considering that most of us keep important information on our phones, such as bank details and confidential information from our accounts. Android viruses take many forms. Each one has singularities and input vectors designed according to a specific vulnerability. Here are the most common …

  • Spyware: This type of malware is designed to stealthily collect information from your phone and send it to the command and control server. Spyware disguises itself as legitimate applications, and this is how cybercriminals try to induce the user to install the virus. When they do, it starts logging information: text messages / SMS, URLs visited, application activity, keystrokes, user names, and passwords.
  • Ransomware – This malicious program encrypts and locks important files and then offers the option of releasing them only if a ransom is paid. But you should know that they almost never release the files. Since so many users have very important data on smartphones, the urge to succumb and pay is strong. (But don’t do it!).
  • Worms – This is the deadliest type of virus for Android phones. Designed to reproduce incessantly, worms do not require user interaction to run. They usually arrive by SMS, MMS, or other digital means.
  • Trojans: These accompany legitimate applications and infect the phone when installed. Unlike worms, Trojans require a user to install them in order to carry out their actions. Once activated, Trojans can disable some applications or lock your phone for a specified period of time.

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Infections on Android and iPhone

As in the iOS vs. Windows debate, the two popular mobile operating systems respond to different types of malware, each exploiting a specific vulnerability. Unfortunately, Android users are at a much higher risk of being the victim of a malware infection because there are many marketplaces on the net outside of the Google Play Store that distributes Android applications. Some sites are safe, others are not.

IOS apps, on the other hand, can only be downloaded from the official Apple App Store, which employs some of the most robust security measures out there. In iOS, applications are isolated, which means that they cannot interact with other applications or the operating system after a certain point. That said, both iOS and Android users are vulnerable to phishing attacks via email or even SMS messages.

On Android, apps are also isolated, but to a lesser degree. Android may be the world’s most popular mobile phone operating system, but it has trouble updating all users’ operating systems to the latest secure version. This is a stumbling block that Apple has long resolved. Using an antivirus solution will go a long way towards ensuring that devices are never in a dangerous situation.

How do you know if there is a virus on the phone?

Knowing if we have a virus-infected phone can be difficult, but some of the symptoms of an Android virus stand out so much that they are unmistakable. Next, we explain what you should look for:

  • Apps that crash … a lot – Some apps tend to crash from time to time. However, if you see that there are several applications that get blocked frequently, it is possible that you have a virus for Android phones.
  • High data usage for no apparent reason: Seeing that the data limit has dropped much more than expected after watching an entire season of Game of Thrones is understandable. But what if the same thing happened after having your phone in your pocket all day? Maybe it’s time for a review.
  • Ads keep popping up – Annoying ads can be easily blocked in browsers like Opera. But if they start to appear when no application is running, it is very likely that you have an adware infection.
  • Battery drains in no time: as most mobile viruses are not optimized, they tend to drain your battery faster than other apps.
  • The phone bill goes through the roof: As with high data usage, a sudden and inexplicable increase in the phone bill is a clear warning that your Android has a virus.
  • Unknown apps – Few people bother to find out if a new app they are interested in is legitimate or not. This sloppiness can be expensive since we could unknowingly give a fake application access to everything we have on the phone.
  • The phone starts to overheat: There are several reasons for a phone overheating, but malware is often one of the main culprits.

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Scan for mobile viruses: Remove a Virus on an Android Phone

To ensure that you never have to face the signs described, it is imperative that you know how malware makes its way onto phones. It can be spread by four means:

  • Infected applications: This is the most common modus operandi of hackers, who use popular applications where they introduce malware and then distribute them in the application stores. Cybercriminals often create brand new applications specially designed to trick users into installing them.
  • Malvertisements:  Malvertising is the practice of inserting viruses into advertisements that are distributed through ad networks. Just clicking an ad can trigger a virus download and the device can become infected.
  • Scams – Users receive links to infected web pages that contain malicious code. Visiting the page may be enough to start a virus download on your phone (unless it is protected by anti-virus software).
  • Direct device downloads: The less common type, direct device infection, requires a hacker to connect the target device to another and manually install the malware on it. Corporate espionage that has great media coverage is carried out through this medium.

How to Remove a Virus on an Android Phone

Your worst fears have been confirmed and all signs point to a virus infection, but it doesn’t mean the phone is doomed. Here are some methods that will help you get rid of this annoying pest in an instant.

Run a scan with a trusted antivirus

Open Google Play and download an antivirus application. But do your homework first. Keep in mind that there are antivirus applications even under the stones and that they may contain malware applications full of viruses. Only install apps from reputable developers, and if you have a hint of doubt that the app may be fake, Google it to be sure.

Also check out third-party labs, such as  AV-TEST  and  AV-Comparatives. These organizations conduct independent tests with antivirus applications and publish the results.

Manually remove virus from phone

In cases where the antivirus software is ineffective for some reason, you can try to uninstall the malware manually.

Step 1: put the phone in safe mode. Doing so prevents applications, including malware, from running. Some Android phones allow you to reboot in safe mode, while others require a few more steps to do the same.

Step 2: When safe mode is on, go to  Settings  >  Applications  >  Downloaded applications. Look for the apps that you think shouldn’t be there. It is best to first look at the apps you installed just before the phone started behaving strangely.

Step 3: When you have found the apps, tap  Uninstall to remove them permanently. Oftentimes, applications with viruses disable the uninstall button. If that’s the case…

Step 4: Go to  Settings  >  Security  >  Device administrators. See if the app is activated in the list. If it is, click Disable to remove access privileges. Now go back to the app in Downloaded apps. The Uninstall button should now be tappable.

If none of this works, the last resort is to do a factory reset. Remember that doing so removes all applications and their data from your phone, so it is always a good idea to make regular backups of your data.

To reset an Android phone …

Step 1 : Go to Settings  >  Backup & reset  >  Factory data reset. Now tap on  Reset phone.

Step 2: enter your password when necessary to continue.

Step 3: Restart the phone.

Step 4: Restore the backup you made before installing the problematic application.

Make device protection a priority

While it is always advisable to exercise due caution, you should consider adding all possible layers of security. An up-to-date antivirus app can go a long way toward ensuring that your device is never infected. Not only does it scan files and applications in real-time for malware, but it also disables unnecessary tasks to speed up speed.

Lastly, ignore third-party app stores and manual installation of APK files from common websites like the plague. These are the preferred methods of hackers and cybercriminals, so the chances of installing something harmful grow exponentially. We hope you will find the “Remove a Virus on an Android Phone” guide very helpful.

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