Malware

How to remove a virus from an Android phone

Does my Android phone have a virus? Is it infected with malware or a malicious app? Will my personal information be held for ransom? If you find yourself asking these questions, then here is some useful information about Android devices and antivirus apps that may help you.

Viruses and other types of malware

What can viruses and other malware do to Android phones?

Signs your Android phone may have a virus or other malware

How to check for viruses and other malware on your Android phone

How to remove viruses and other malware from your Android device

Tips to help protect your Android device against viruses and other malware

Viruses and other types of malware

Malware is malicious software that can sneak onto your phone. Written with the intent to cause harm, malware can include viruses, computer worms, Trojans, ransomware, and spyware.

Cybercriminals can use malware to access your personal data and, in some cases, subsequently use that sensitive information to commit identity theft or fraud.

Viruses are a particular type of malware that infiltrate a computer or other device and their programs. A cybercriminal may be able to install a virus on your device without your knowledge or consent. The virus may then be able to insert new, malicious code on your device that can monitor and manipulate your online activity.

What can viruses and other malware do to Android phones?

Malware is designed to generate revenue for cybercriminals.

Malware can steal your information, make your device send SMS messages to premium rate text services, or install adware that forces you to view web pages or download apps.

Info stealers can steal your contact list, your personal information, your location, your passwords, and more.

With the aid of malware, cybercriminals can access your devices and steal your information for their own use or to sell on the dark web.

Hackers also use ransomware to lock devices and encrypt personal data. Then they can demand a ransom payment from the victim in order to regain access to their files.

Signs your Android phone may have a virus or other malware

Phones can be vulnerable to damage externally and internally. While the external damage is usually visible, internal damage is usually hidden from view.

Malware like viruses are known to perform repeated tasks that can take up resources on your devices. Signs of malware may show up in these ways.

  1. Your phone is too slow.
  2. Apps take longer to load.
  3. The battery drains faster than expected.
  4. There is an abundance of pop-up ads.
  5. Your phone has apps you don’t remember downloading.
  6. Unexplained data usage occurs.
  7. Higher phone bills arrive.

How to check for viruses and other malware on your Android phone

A good way to check for malware on your Android phone is to run an antivirus scan.

Before buying antivirus software for your phone, make sure you consider the most comprehensive product that’s available for your device.

There are many antivirus software choices available on the market. Some are free, and some are sold.

It’s a good idea to do your research to ensure the security software you invest in runs a complete scan and doesn’t overlook any vulnerabilities. An incomplete scan could give you a false sense of security when, in fact, your device could be vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Norton Mobile Security for Android is one product you might consider.

How to remove viruses and other malware from your Android device

If you think you have malware on your phone, it’s important to stop the malware from causing any further damage. Here are a few steps you can take.

  1. Power off the phone and reboot in safe mode. Press the power button to access the Power Off options. Most Android phones come with the option to restart in Safe Mode. Here’s how, according to Google, although Safe Mode can vary by phone: Press your phone's power button. When the animation starts, press and hold your phone's volume down button. Hold it until the animation ends and your phone restarts. You'll see “Safe mode” at the bottom of your screen.
  2. Uninstall the suspicious app. Find the app in Settings and uninstall or force close it. This may not completely remove the malware, but it could prevent further damage to your device, or from it transmitting the malware to other devices on your network.
  3. Look for other apps you think may be infected. There’s a chance that some apps may have been infected by the malware. If you think you can identify those apps, delete them immediately.
  4. Install a robust mobile security app on your phone.

Tips to help protect your Android device against viruses and other malware

Here are seven key steps you can take to help protect against future risks.

  1. Invest in and use robust security software to protect your Android device.
  2. Keep all operating systems and software updated with the latest versions.
  3. Don’t click on suspicious or unfamiliar links in emails and text messages. 
  4. Use strong, complicated passwords or a password manager.
  5. Never use unsecure Wi-Fi connections. Always use a VPN when connecting to public Wi-Fi. 
  6. Always use strong cyber safety protection on all devices that connect to the internet.
  7. Always install apps from trusted sources, such as the Google Play Store. Read the fine print and permissions on the apps to understand how much access you are giving the app developers.

It’s a good idea to not wait until your device gets infected. Make protecting your Android device a priority. Having good antivirus software that helps protect your PCs, tablets, and other Android devices could help prevent malware from spreading from device to device.

An estimated $11.3 billion was lost to cybercrime in the past year*

Norton™ 360 brings real-time protection for your PCs, Macs, smartphones or tablets against ransomware, viruses, spyware, malware and other online threats.

Try Norton 360. Post, bank and shop from your device. We’ll keep it secure.

*Based on a survey of 1,004 adults in the US, of which, 395 experienced cyber crime in the past 12 months. Conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of Norton™ LifeLock™, October 2018.


Editorial note: Our articles provide educational information for you. Norton LifeLock offerings may not cover or protect against every type of crime, fraud, or threat we write about. Our goal is to increase awareness about cyber safety. Please review complete Terms during enrollment or setup. Remember that no one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime, and that LifeLock does not monitor all transactions at all businesses.

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