How to find and fix Malware infected Android phone?

On 23rd September 2008, a new competitor entered the mobile OS market. This open-source operating system ‘Android’ revolutionized the way we use smartphones.

Since 2008, Android has captured more than 80% of the smartphone market. This massive percentage of the users base also comes with a severe drawback – It makes cybercriminals double down on their effort to compromise the security of android phones.

Malware’s or viruses were initially isolated to the Windows OS due to its dominance in the computer market. Now, malware’s presents a threat to mobile devices, including Android. 

A compromised phone can make an unauthorized purchase, send texts without user’s knowledge. Some malicious apps can even steal sensitive personal information, such as account login credentials, bank account details or credit card numbers.

What Is A Malware And What Are The Different Types Of Malware’s

Malicious software or malware are computer programs designed to infiltrate and damage your devices. Malware is a general term used to cover different types of threats your device could face. 

The different types of malware’s are as follows:

  1. Adware: Adware is a type of malware; Adware’s automatically deliver ads to your device. Pop-ups ads is a type of adware. Most free software and applications that you can find on the internet are bundled with adware. There are chances that the adware’s that have been downloaded on your phone may come with spyware’s as well. 
  2. Bots: Bots are software programs that are created to perform specific operations automatically. Bots on their own are generally harmless, but they can be used in botnets that are used for DDOS attacks. 
  3. Ransomware: Ransomware is another type of malware, but a lot more harmful than the malware’s mentioned above. This malware restricts users’ access to their computers by either encrypting files on the hard drive or locking the system down displaying a message that is used to threaten the user to pay the malware creator to regain access to their device. 
  4. Rootkit: Rootkit is a harmful malware; rootkits are hard to detect and can access steal information, modify system configurations once installed. Removing and rootkits can be difficult as they are hard to find. Users can protect themselves from rootkits by patching vulnerabilities in software’s, avoiding third-party download etc. regularly. 
  5. Spyware: As the name suggests, the spyware’s function is to spy on the user’s activities. Spyware collects the user’s private data which can be used by the spyware’s creator.
  6. Trojan Horse: Trojan Horse or Trojan is a malware that disguises itself as a normal file to trick the user into installing and downloading other malware’s. This malware also gives remote access to its creator, the creator of the malware can then steal data, install other malware’s, modify files and monitor the user’s computer activity.  
  7. Virus: A lot of users assume that viruses and malware are the same when they are not. How are malwares and viruses different? Malware’s is a term used for all malicious software’s; the virus is a type of malicious software that keeps replicating its code into other programs. Viruses spread by attaching themselves to a file and is then distributed to others via the internet, flash drives and emails. A virus can encrypt and modify applications. 
  8. Worm: Computer Worms are very common; they spread by the exploiting the OS vulnerabilities. Worms usually affect the host network by consuming bandwidth and overloading web servers. Worms may contain payloads that are a piece of coding that performs actions on affected devices. 

Signs of Malware infected Android device

Just like your computer, your Android phone starts showing some evil signs of malware once it has been infected. If your device is behaving strangely and is facing frequent lag issues while not changing anything in the past few days, it could be a Malware or a virus.

  • Poor Performance: Depending on your device’s Age & severity of Malware infection, you might experience poor performance even after rebooting your device. Poor performance includes Lag, delay in launching App, Too many Force close issues.
  • Data usage: Generally, unexplained data usage is the most common malware sign as a lot of malware exist to collect your personal information like your Credit card number and pin, Contacts & Bank account details etc. All this data is transferred in the background without your permission. You can check if any App is utilizing too much Data in the background.
  • Reduced battery life: Most of the malware’s are made to annoy the users by sucking up their battery by running in the background. If you are facing strange battery drain issues, it could be a Malware.
  • Auto drop Phone calls: Sometimes, you might observe a random drop in phone calls. This occurs mostly due to Network issues. It’s normal only if it happens rarely and regularly. This could be a malware which is working in the background.

How To Remove Malware And Virus From Your Android Phone

Once you have spotted any malware by following the above steps, you can try improving it by them by the following methods:

1. Update Software

Keep your device up to date, while this may not be possible for many users, but if there is an update, make sure you download and install it. Device manufacturers, carriers & google are regularly pushing updates to fix bugs, add new features and make your device more secure. To check for an update on your phone, go to setting, click on “About Phone” and select “System Update”. If your phone hasn’t received an update yet, you can try installing the update via ADB.

2. Google Play Protect 

When Google Play Protect was initially launched, it failed to protect the phone from malware, the continuous updates have now to improved Google Play Protect and therefore removing the need of ever downloading an antivirus app that you find on the Playstore. Google Play Protect removes malware and also prevents them from entering your phone when you download apps. You don’t even need to initiate the scan in Google Play Protect as you can enable the auto-scan option that removes any malware that may be found in your device. 

3Third-party App stores

The truth is, all app markets have some degree of risk to them. If the Play Store can let slip a few malware apps, then it’s safe to assume that no app markets are entirely safe. At the very least, stick to the reputable ones like the Amazon Appstore. If you do find malware’s in a third-party app, you can simply delete the app. Deleting the app should remove the malware as well. 

How To Prevent Android Phone From Getting Malware And Viruses 

You can never stop malware if you keep downloading Apps or anything from unknown sites. The only way to stop malware is to stop downloading cracked softwares for your Android device, Stop plugging your phone to a unprotected computer.

1. Check Application Ratings & Reviews

Before installing any app, check its reviews. Keep in mind that Playstore isn’t 100% safe. Sometimes, some malware apps make their way into the android market. To avoid them, focus on negative reviews as they often come from legitimate users, while attackers often craft positive feedback.

2. Check the developer’s record

Let’s say there’s an app you want, but there are no reviews on it, and you don’t feel like waiting. You can always check the developer’s other apps to see if they have a reputable track record. If this is their first app, though, you’re back to square one, and your best bet is to be safe than sorry.

3. Check Application Permission

Before installing any app, make sure to pay attention to what sort of permissions it needs. For example, a flashlight application has absolutely no reason for needing to access your contacts or make calls.

4. Avoid Pirated Apps

Android phone can often be compromised by installing pirated apps. Every pirated or cracked app usually contain some form of malware. Avoid downloading cracked apps from different or untrusted torrent sites. Cracked apps generally have some code modifications which could even collect your data through Google Keyboard, bank & card details or even your social account details.

5. Don’t trust Pop-up Advertisements

Don’t download apps by clicking on pop-up advertisements. These innocent-looking ads can make you install a malicious app without your knowledge. Instead, search for apps on the Playstore and download them from there.

6. Rooted phones

For those of you who have rooted your Android devices, be careful while granting superuser permissions to unknown Apps. If you allow Superuser access to every app that asks for it, then you’re just asking for malware to gain full control of your device.

Conclusion

To add an extra layer of security, install a good antivirus app from Playstore. Always install antivirus from reputed companies like the antivirus apps mentioned above. It’s not necessary to install an Antivirus in your Android phone. You can easily find the culprit apps by analysis. If an app behaves strangely or keeps running in the background almost every time, it’s the culprit.

Sometimes, it is hard to eradicate malware. If a security App detects a Malware, and even after uninstalling, it comes back. There might be another App in your phone that is downloading the infected app every time.

If in any case, you end up with a Malware Infected Android device, you’ll be the one responsible as none of the companies or Ads takes any responsibility for anything happening to your device after installing any of the Apps available on their store. Make sure you don’t hurry while installing big apps like “Pokémon GO”, “Bhim App” as there are many fake apps of the same. 

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