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 How to Remove Malware and Viruses from Android [Virus Removal Guide]

How to Remove Malware and Viruses from Android [Virus Removal Guide]

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Malware may infect your Android phone just as it can your laptop. It slows down your system and causes bugs, making it impossible to use your phone at all. In order to protect your phone and yourself, you must act quickly. There are steps you can take to eliminate malware and secure your phone in the future, whether you downloaded a compromised app or visited a malicious website.

Finding the malware on your phone is the first move. We show you how to do it, then give you some security and antivirus software options to help you restore your phone’s health and keep it protected in the future.


Jump to:

Lets start with how to remove malware and viruses from Android.

Step One: Turn Off the Device Until You Know the Specifics of the Issue

When you’re certain your phone is infected with malware, keep the power button down and switch it off completely. It may not prevent the malware from causing damage, but it may prevent the problem from worsening and stop malware from attempting to reach nearby networks.

Shutting down also allows you to reflect and conduct analysis. Do you know a particular malware-infected app infected your device? Do you know what other apps it could have downloaded without your permission? If not, switch to a different machine and look up your symptoms (along with any new apps you installed) to narrow down the issue. You won’t be able to uninstall the app if you can’t locate it at the source of the problem.

If your quest yields no results, you can turn your phone back on and move on to phase five. Anti-malware tools should help you figure out what’s causing your problems and even delete infected software for you. However, this could necessitate re-establishing phone internet access, which entails some risk.

Step Two: Switch to Emergency Mode While Working

Switch to safe mode first when you turn your screen back on and dive into isolating the troublesome program. This should limit the amount of damage the infected app can cause.

Switching to safe mode on most Android devices is as simple as pressing down the power button for a few seconds while the system is turned on, then tapping and holding the Power off option. This should bring up a few power options, including a ‘restart to safe mode’ option. Before continuing, select this mode and wait for your phone to restart. If you can’t find a safe mode, use airplane mode to disconnect your laptop from the internet. That choice is typically found near the top of your notification shade.

This is not the time to tinker if you can’t figure out what’s causing your malware crisis, even after installing a security app. Inquire with a specialist about getting support and whether or not you can clean your phone. This is a good plan if ransomware, which is becoming more popular, takes over your phone and prevents you from doing what you want.

Step Three: Go to Settings and Find the Troublesome Application

On your Android smartphone, go to Settings. The icon for settings is usually a gear, but it depends on your themes and configuration: If you’re having trouble finding it, search for it.

Scroll down to the Apps section of Settings and click on it. Look for a list of all your installed apps — you may need to select App Manager to see the entire list. Scroll down before you reach the infected software that’s causing your problems.

When you choose the app, you should see choices to uninstall, force close, or force stop it (often you cannot choose to uninstall core apps, only disable them, but these apps are unlikely to be the cause of the problem).

Step Four: Delete the Application that is Infected and Anything Else that Appears Suspicious

Simply select Uninstall, and the app in question should be removed from your Android system. It’s also a great idea to go through your app list and remove any questionable installs. If you haven’t done so yet, you might be surprised at what your smartphone has on it.

You may be unable to uninstall the problematic app in some cases. In reality, it’s possible that the option to delete isn’t even available. Instead, Disable should appear on the menu, and that should be it. Your administrator settings can be hacked by an app with super intelligence (and potentially dangerous malware or ransomware). It’s possible that the app set up administrative settings to prevent itself from being deleted.

Fortunately, this is usually a simple problem that you can resolve on your own. Simply return to the original Settings menu and scroll down to the Lock Screen and Security portion (or a similar corresponding section). Look for a tab that says “Phone (Device) Administrators” when you get to the Safety menu. Keep in mind that, depending on the hierarchy of your safety menu, you can need to go to “other security settings” first. You should be able to find the environment that allows the malware to camp out in Phone Administrators. After that, all you have to do is tweak those settings before deleting the function.

Step Five: Download Malware Protection

It’s a good idea to give each Android device plenty of security and malware protection, and it’s especially important to install antivirus software if you’ve had bad luck with questionable apps in the past. You need to improve your phone’s total protection after manually deleting the app that’s causing you problems.

Fortunately, there are plenty of security apps available. Rather than installing several apps that each do one or two things, look for a security app that has all of the features you need in one place. A good security app would be able to remove junk or spam files, search for viruses, and protect your personal information. Some applications have options to automatically uninstall any suspicious software. Safe Security, AVG Antivirus, and Avast Antivirus are all free antivirus apps available in the Google Play Store.

Bear in mind that the operating system should always be upgraded to the most recent edition. This should be done automatically by your phone, but you can also search for updates on a regular basis. Your phone would be much more vulnerable to attack if you don’t keep up with daily software updates.

What Does Malware do to Android Devices?

Malware is created to make money for cybercriminals. Malware can steal your details, force you to view web pages or download apps or install adware that forces you to view web pages or send SMS messages to premium rate text services.

Your contact list, personal details, location, passwords, and more are all vulnerable to data thieves. Cybercriminals may use malware to gain access to your computers and steal your data for their own use or to sell on the dark web.

Hackers often use ransomware to encrypt personal data and lock computers. They then demand a ransom payment from the victim in exchange for access to their files.

What are Viruses and Malware?

Malware is a type of malicious software that can infiltrate your device. Malware includes viruses, computer worms, Trojan horses, ransomware, and spyware, all of which are written with the intent of causing damage.

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

Viruses are a form of malware that infects a computer or other device, as well as the programs that run on it. Without your knowledge or permission, a cybercriminal may be able to install a virus on your computer. The virus may then be able to infect your computer with new malicious code that can track and exploit your online behavior.

Signs that Your Device May Have a Virus

Phones are susceptible to both external and internal damage. Internal damage is normally shielded from view, while external damage is usually noticeable.

Malware, such as viruses, is notorious for performing repetitive tasks that drain your device’s resources. Malware can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Some of the signs that your device is infected with a virus or malware are:

  • Your device may be slow.
  • Your bills may be more expensive.
  • There is unexplained data usage.
  • There are a ton of pop-up ads.
  • There are apps that you do not recall downloading.
  • The battery drains more quickly.
  • Apps take much longer to load.

If you notice any of the above signs, you most likely have either a virus or malware on your Android device and should deal with it as soon as possible in order to stop any further damage from being done. Ignoring these signs can lead to more severe problems such as your data being stolen and used in order to commit fraud or other similar issues.

The Bottom Line

You should now have a better understanding of the terms of dealing with any viruses or malware on your Android device. By being aware of how you can deal with these issues, you can ensure that you and your information are safe. Dealing with cybercrime is more common than you might think, and it is important that you protect yourself against it.



Marom is a senior writer at WIRED specialising on information security, digital privacy, and hacking. A former technology correspondent for Slate, she was also a staff writer for Future Tense, a publication and project of Slate, the New America Foundation, and ASU. Additionally her work has appeared in Gizmodo, Fast Company, IEEE Spectrum, and Popular Mechanics. She is a New Yorker who calls the city home.
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