This week, Google removed the popular CamScanner PDF authoring app, which had been downloaded more than multiple times, from the Google Play Store because the app recently started containing malware. Unfortunately, when it comes to mobile malware, Android phones have the dubious difference that they attract more than their fair share. This malware can range from annoying pop-up ad delivery services to sophisticated mobile spyware that allows users to act as hackers to spy on your every act. So if you think your phone contains a virus.
1. Uninstall all suspicious apps
Spotting an app that you don’t remember downloading can be a red flag. What’s more, other applications, particularly free applications from little engineers, may contain adware. So if you see any apps that you don’t need, uninstall them, just to be safe.
To uninstall apps, go to Settings> Apps & notifications> All apps, then click on the app in question. This ought to raise its devoted screen with a uninstall button, which may be sufficient to eliminate the malware. However, if the uninstall button is grayed out, the app may have been given administrator access, making it more difficult to remove.
In this case, go to Settings> Security & Location> Advanced> Device admin apps and check if any apps in this list should have such deep access. If so, you can tap the app to turn it off, which should allow you to uninstall it from the Apps & Notifications menu.
2. Run a virus scan
The safest way to confirm malware on a device is to run a virus scan. Mobile Antivirus can automatically scan downloads and notify apps that may leak personal information, allow pop-up ads on your device, or drain your phone’s battery.
Major security software vendors like Kaspersky, Avast, Norton, and AVG also have Android apps, some of which are chargeable, but all have a free option. There are also well-known mobile phone providers, such as Lookout Security. Whatever you do, don’t just download a random security app from Google Play, a lot of those apps don’t do anything and some may even create their own security issues.
Go to your antivirus app and select a scan that will flag the exact apps that pose a threat to your device. You may be able to remove the malware directly from the app or manually uninstall it from Settings> Apps & notifications. If the first scan doesn’t find anything, you may want to download a second antimalware app as we’ve found that security programs can vary among the virus apps it detects
(It’s worth noting that antivirus apps can also use up a lot of phone battery, especially if you enable a continuous scanning feature.)
3. Reset the phone to factory settings
If uninstalling the suspicious app (s) doesn’t prevent your phone from showing up annoying messages or worse, you may have to choose the nuclear option of doing a factory reset which will rid your phone of all data. Make sure your photos and media are backed up and any messages you might want to save, then go to Settings> System> Advanced> Reset options> Erase all data.
4. Prevent the malware from being reinstalled
Once your phone is malware free, you should be careful what you download and where you download from. Always download apps from Google Play or other trusted sources and only download apps that you really need and that you know are safe. Even then, keep a close eye on whether you are actually downloading the popular game you always read about, or just a clever fake.
Indicates that your Android phone is infected with malware
While your phone may have noticeable symptoms of malware infection, there are often malicious apps resting on the phone. Instead, the damage appears as a charge on your bank card or as a phone bill with unusually high data charges.
"Standard customers usually don’t comprehend that something isn’t directly until it’s too far to turn back, as it is difficult to distinguish malware with an unarmed eye, especially with refined malware, for example, hiding SMS notifications or just on the device can work is charged so the user doesn’t notice ".
However, many forms of less sophisticated malware cause symptoms in an infected phone.
- Reduced battery life. If you accidentally downloaded a cryptocurrency miner, your phone’s battery life is likely going down much faster than normal, says Firsh. However, there can be many other causes of Android battery drain as well.
- The phone works more slowly. Malware that is constantly sending information back to a mothership can affect the processing power of your phone, resulting in an overall slowdown in performance.
- Higher data usage. Similarly, apps that steal information as well as data miners can consume a lot of data. So check your settings to see how your monthly compensation is performing. Other malware that may show up in bandwidth usage are apps that stealthily use your device for Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks to freeze other websites, Firsh said.
- Suspicious notifications from banks and unknown services. If banking malware steals your information, it could result in your bank - or other financial institution - notifying you of fees or even new accounts on your behalf. SMS malware can also show up in premium text services letting you know what fees have just been paid.
- Pop-up ads. Do you see a lot of popups while browsing the mobile web? You may have been infected with adware. “Pop-ups can mean that malware has installed itself within the operating system and has a trigger for a popup based on the common methods that users use to operate their phones,” says Galindo. The idea is to involve users when they are most likely to click an ad or offer, and in the process download another piece of malware that can potentially cause greater damage to their device or data.