How to Remove Malware from Android Phone Efficiently and Quickly
With more than 2.5 billion Android devices on the planet, chances are high that you have one. If your phone is running slower than standard and there are all types of mysterious apps on it, you probably have malware. In this article, we’ll provide you with all important information about this malicious software, how to remove malware from Android phone, and what antivirus apps will help you.
What is Android Malware?
Malware is malicious software designed to stealthily control devices, “borrow” private information or money from the device’s owner. It has been used for stealing passwords and account numbers from smartphones, putting false charges on user accounts, and even tracking the user’s location and activity without their knowledge.
These are the main reasons that cause malware on your Android phone.
- Malvertising – This is the form of online ads infected with malware, distributed by ad network and appear silently on legit websites;
- Infected apps – Cybercriminals infect known apps or make their own and are typically downloaded from third-party app stores;
- Scams – Depend on the user being redirected to an affected web page after clicking on the infected email, text message or pop-up screen;
- Direct to device – Needs direct access to the smartphone to download or sideload malware.
Signs of this malicious software may occur in these ways.
- The phone is quite slow;
- Apps need longer to load;
- The battery drains quicker than usual;
- There’s an abundance of pop-up ads;
- The device has apps you don’t remember downloading;
- Unexplained data usage happens;
- Higher phone bills.
Malware is designed to generate revenue for hackers. As we said, it can steal your information, make your phone send SMS messages to premium rate text services, or install adware that forces you to download apps or view web pages. Info robbers can “liberate” your contact list, personal information, location, passwords, and so on.
With the help of malware, cybercriminals can access your devices and steal your data for their own use or sell on the dark web. They also use ransomware to lock devices and encrypt personal information and demand a ransom from the victim in order to recoup access to their data.
Android malware comes in many types, each own with quirks and preferred entry vectors. Here are some of the most common forms of Android malware:
As the name says, ransomware blocks access to your phone or your data, holding it hostage in exchange for a huge fee. Though the temptation to liberate your device and data is understandable, you should never pay a ransomware hacker. Instead, try and remove the ransomware from your device and restore an earlier backup.
This form of malware is created to secretly extract information from your device and transfer it to the hacker. Culprits disguise their spyware as legitimate apps, which is how they try to trick you into installing it. Once installed, it records information, including browsed URLs , SMS/text messages, keyboard inputs, usernames, passwords, and app activity.
Trojans act as legit apps and infect your phone once the application has been installed. They need a user to install them before they can realize their actions. Once activated, they can install additional malware, deactivate other apps, record your personal data, or lock up your device for a certain time.
These are the most aggressive form of Android malware. Crafted to endlessly replicate/spread – they’re autonomous and can run without any user interaction. They generally come through SMS, MMS, or other digital media.
How to Check for Malware on Android Devices
A great way to check for malicious software on an Android device is to run an antivirus scan. Before buying antivirus software for your smartphone, consider the most comprehensive product that’s available for your device. There are many antivirus software choices (Avast, Bitdefender, Kaspersky, AVG, McAfee) on the market.
It’s a smart move to ensure the security software you select runs a complete scan and doesn’t “miss” any vulnerabilities. An incomplete scan could give you the wrong picture of security, so your phone could be vulnerable to malware.
How to Remove Malware from Android Phone
There are two ways for detection and removing malware from Android phones – the manual method and the automatic method.
This technique is easy and simple. You have to buy, download, and install anti-malware software, which will do the job. Most antivirus software comes with different features. These apps can scan for all types of malicious software, uninstall/delete it, and protect your device from future cyberattacks.
If you have malware on your device, it’s crucial to stop the malicious software from causing any further damage. Here are a couple of steps you can conduct:
Step 1 – Turn your phone into Safe Mode. Doing so, you’ll deactivate any apps from running, including malware. Some phones will allow you to Reboot In Safe-Mode, some other Android phones require a few extra taps to do it.
Step 2 – When Safe Mode is activated, tap on Settings > Apps > Downloaded Apps. Search for the app or apps you don’t think they belong there. Start with the apps you installed just before your phone begins acting suspiciously.
Step 3 – Once you found the apps, click Uninstall to delete it permanently.
Step 4 – Often, virus-infected apps will disable the uninstall button, in which case you tap on Go to Settings > Security > Device Administrators. Check if the app is featured on the list there. If it is, click Deactivate to remove its access privileges. Then, go back to the app in the Downloaded Apps. The Uninstall button should be usable now.
Note – If this doesn’t work, a factory reset might be your best option. Remember that doing so will delete all applications and application data from your device – it’s highly recommended to set up periodic data backups.
To reset Android device, you have to:
- Tap on Settings > Backup & Reset > Factory Data Reset. Then click Reset Phone;
- Enter passcode as requested to continue;
- Reboot phone;
- Restore any backup you perform before installing the infected app.
The best protection from malware is prevention. Stay safe from malicious software by following these procedures:
- Avoid downloading from third-party app stores;
- Read the reviews before downloading applications;
- “Install from Unknown Sources” option on a device;
- Double-check app permission before installing an app if it’s asking to access something it doesn’t need to, like camera access for a photo app;
- Choose robust security software to protect Android phone;
- Keep OS and software updated with the latest versions;
- Don’t click on unfamiliar or suspicious links in text messages and emails;
- Apply strong, complicated passwords or use a password manager;
- Avoid unsecured Wi-Fi connections. Always use a VPN when connecting to public Wi-Fi;
- Install applications from trusted sources, like the Google Play Store.
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What is the Best Android Malware App?
Having the right antivirus app installed on your smartphone or tablet is pivotal. After all, Android is the most widely used OS in the world, and that means it can be a big target for cybercriminals.
In the following rows, we’re going to highlight 5 of the best apps for Android protection in 2020 – most of them are entirely free to download.
1. Bitdefender Mobile Security – Best Malware Removal for Android
Bitdefender is an important player in the security game, and its free anti-malware program is exceptionally lightweight. Actually, it doesn’t run in the background, which frees up system resources and saves on battery life.
It means you have to schedule scans or run them manually to be safe. Therefore, any new apps downloaded to your phone are automatically scanned. Another benefit is that it’s ready to go as soon as it’s installed – no additional configuration is needed.
If you want extra security, sign up for a free 14-day trial of Bitdefender Mobile Security. It includes the basic protection along with real-time defense for Google’s Chrome and anti-theft features. There’s also an excellent Privacy advisor tool and adds a layer of security to the Android smartwatch through its WearOn technology, which alerts you if you leave the device behind.
- Fantastic anti-malware protection for Android devices confirmed by independent labs;
- Super-fast scanning;
- Powerful anti-theft features;
- SIM alerts;
- Remote antivirus scan;
- Smooth UI design.
- Needs Internet connection for malware scan.
2. Avast Mobile Security
Antivirus titan, Avast, has used its nifty skills to design an app that meets all security standards.
Highlights in the free version of Avast Mobile Security include a firewall, call blocker, and even an anti-theft measure is letting you remotely lock/wipe the phone if it goes missing.
The application used to be paid but is now free (supported by ads).
You can pay a small monthly/yearly premium to remove advertisements. Another handy premium option is “in-app locking,” by which your device will ask for a PIN before opening certain apps. This prevents malicious software from launching apps like eBanking automatically.
- Web protection supports major browsers;
- Great malware protection;
- Large feature set;
- Remote lock, wipe, and alarm;
- Privacy Advisor and Network Meter and;
- Handy SMS commands.
- Lengthy anti-theft setup.
3. AVG AntiVirus for Android
AVG AntiVirus for Android is a feature-bundled security application. Besides the core antivirus feature, it also includes a Wi-Fi security scanner, app lock, and photo vault to help protect your images.
There are also a lot of other features like performance enhancement, which aims to destroy the unnecessary process, turning off battery-draining settings, plus deleting junk files such as are commonly found in temporary and cache folders.
Anti-theft protection is there, too, including the ability to track a lost phone with Google Maps, and even to lock it down remotely using a lockout message. In case your phone has been stolen, it can emit a siren. If that’s not enough, the app also takes selfies of anyone unsuccessfully trying to unlock the phone and emails the pictures to you, plus it can record audio of any attempts.
- Anti-theft tracking;
- Superb protection from malware;
- File shredding option;
- High scores on independent testing;
- Do Not Track feature.
- Extra features are limited in the free suite.
4. McAfee Mobile Security
McAfee is another big name when it comes to anti-malware software, and this Android app McAfee Mobile Security – doesn’t let you down. Next to the Android malware scanner, free features are tracking a lost device as well as locking/wiping it remotely. If your smartphone is stolen, the application can even take a photo of the thief.
Other merits include the ability to scan apps to check if they leak sensitive data, and lock them if necessary. The app will also block access to potentially malicious sites, as well as let you keep a blacklist of nuisance callers/texters.
- Real-time web protection from malicious sites and Wi-Fi networks;
- SMS/call blocker facility;
- Locates and tracks your device;
- App protection and app locker;
- Performance booster and battery optimizer.
- The premium features are paid ($29.99/year).
5. Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus
The free version of Kaspersky security application has some impressive features, and it’s very good at detecting malicious software, with a detection rate of 99.9 percent. Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus will also attempt to block any malicious websites or links before you click through to them, preventing an infection from occurring in the first place. A core feature is a support for Android Wear, which simplifies security management.
- Top-notch malware protection;
- Anti-theft feature;
- SIM alert;
- Anti-phishing protection;
- Hides special contacts;
- Call blocking.
- SIM card protection is nonfunctional in hands-on testing.
Android Malware List
Once you allow malicious application access to your phone, data, camera, microphone, and contacts, then you’re having much more serious trouble than adware. It’s worth quickly checking your installed apps from the list.
- JavaTcmdHelper virus – This application doesn’t show up on the phone or even in the settings or application sections. Still, users have reported about system messages stating that JavaTcmdHelper is quite dangerous. The message may also state about the application that behaves unusually or has privacy risks;
- com – It’s an adware-type program that targets Android phone users. This malware attracts people through social engineering strategies to subscribe for notifications this site delivers to your screen;
- google.provision – This app operates as a malicious script which downloads and installs unknown applications into the Android system;
- android.system.ui – It’s another version of the Android malware that seeks to mislead users into visiting insecure websites and shady apps. Most usually, it tends to install unwanted software into a phone, too;
- android.gesture.builder – This virus is also programmed to install potentially infected apps on the systems. Be wary of the content and applications you download other than the Google Play store;
- Android Police virus – It’s a newly-designed version of the FBI virus, which is capable of infecting Android OS. Today, it’s the most dangerous example of Android virus since it can block the entire system as well as encrypt each of the files that are installed on it;
- NotCompatible virus – It’s a dangerous virus that runs as a proxy. Once it gets into its target system, this malicious software connects to its server and waits for specific commands.
Malware Removal Verdict
Don’t let yourself fail victim to malware and suffer a slow phone, mediocre battery life, or expensive charges on the bill that you didn’t make. Getting antivirus software is critical to prevent those issues, besides the security procedures, if you want to protect your Android phone successfully against malware.