How to remove malware from Android phones

Written by a NortonLifeLock employee


Does my Android phone have a virus? Is it infested with malware? Will my data be held for ransom? If you find yourself asking these questions, then here is some useful information about Android phones that may help answer your questions.

What can malware on Android phones do?

Traditionally, the goal of malware has been to generate revenue. Malware can steal your information, make your device send SMSs 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, and they then demand a ransom payment from the victim in order to regain access to their files.

Signs your Android phone may have malware

Phones aren’t perfect. They can be vulnerable to damage both externally and internally. While the external damage is usually visible, internal damage could be hiding in plain sight. Take malware, for example. Malware is malicious software that can sneak onto your phone. Written with the intent to cause harm, malware includes computer worms, Trojans, ransomware, and spyware.

Malware is known to perform repeated tasks that take up a lot of resources on your phone. Signs of malware may show up in the following ways:

  1. Your phone is too slow
  2. Apps take longer to load
  3. The battery drains faster than expected
  4. There are too many pop-up ads
  5. Your phone has apps that you don’t remember downloading
  6. Unexplained data usage and large phone bills

How to check for 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 are choosing the most comprehensive product that’s available for your device. There are many antivirus software choices available on the market, both free and paid. Do your research to ensure the cyber security app you invest in runs a complete scan and does not overlook any vulnerabilities. An incomplete scan could give you a false sense of security and result in your device being vulnerable to cyber attacks.

Having Norton Mobile Security on your Android device gives you the benefit of a thorough scan. It automatically scans and protects your device by warning about apps that can leak personal information, allow pop-up ads on your device, and drain the battery. It also safeguards your online privacy and blocks unwanted phone calls and messages.

The App Advisor feature provides a detailed analysis of each installed app and a risk summary to help you know if you should trust or uninstall an app.

How to remove malware from your Android device

If you think you have malware on your phone, the most important thing to do is stop the malware from causing any further damage. Here are a few steps you can take to help mitigate further loss.

  1. Turn off the phone and restart 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. 
  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 may prevent further damage.
  3. Look for other apps you think may be infected. There is a good chance that some apps may have been infected by the malware. If you think you know those apps, delete them immediately.
  4. Install a robust mobile security app on your phone.

Tips to help protect your Android device against malware

  1. To help prevent against future risks, invest in a robust security suite to protect your Android.
  2. Keep all operating systems and software updated with the latest versions.
  3. Don’t click on suspicious 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 a strong cyber security suite 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 them.

Don’t wait until your device gets infected. Make protecting your Android device a priority. Having good antivirus software that protects your PCs, tablets, and other Android devices may help prevent malware from spreading from device to device. 

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