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Keep Your Android Phone Virus-Free Without the Need for a Factory Reset

Even though the probability of your Android phone contracting a virus is low if you stay within the confines of Google Play’s safeguards, you may still be interested in learning how to get rid of a virus or other malicious app from your device. For most individuals, resetting their phone to its original settings is a last resort since it wipes out all of their files, including the virus.

Here are the steps to determine if your Android phone is infected and how to remove the infection if it is. Let’s dive in!

First: Is it possible that my Android phone is infected with a virus?

Absolutely! Your Android phone could indeed be harboring a sneaky virus. Just like any computer, Android phones are susceptible to malware. These pesky bugs can infiltrate your device through various means, such as:

Downloading apps from untrusted sources: Beware! This is the most prevalent method for malware to infiltrate Android phones. If you happen to download an app from a non-Google Play Store website, there’s a possibility that the app might be contaminated with malicious software.

Clicking on links in phishing emails or text messages: Be cautious of phishing emails and text messages that may trick you into clicking on deceptive links. These links can lead you to fraudulent websites that mimic legitimate ones, like your bank’s site. Remember, these fake websites are cunningly created to snatch your personal information.

Opening attachments in phishing emails or text messages: Stay attentive and be cautious before opening any attachments in phishing emails or text messages. These deceptive messages could potentially carry attachments that, if opened, can infect your phone with malicious software.

Evaluate Your Mobile Device for Unnecessary Applications

If you’re experiencing unwanted notifications, your battery is draining quickly, or your phone is running slow, it’s possible that you have a rogue app installed. To check, go to Settings, then Apps, and look at all the apps you have installed.

If there’s anything on your phone that you don’t recognize or haven’t used in a while, simply tap on it and select Uninstall to get rid of it. It’s a good practice to remove “zombie apps” that you no longer use. Sometimes, a trusted app can be acquired by a malicious company that fills it with ads and other unwanted content.

When browsing the list, be sure to focus on apps that ask for a large number of permissions. While some legitimate apps require multiple permissions to work properly, it’s a red flag if an Android app asks for more permissions than necessary. If you need help, check out our tips for identifying fake Android apps.

Perform a Scan Using Google Play Protect

Google Play Protect is a security system that comes with Android. It ensures the safety of apps available on the Play Store and also scans your phone for any harmful apps that may have slipped through. Make sure to enable this feature and run a scan to stay protected.

To access Play Protect, go to the Google Play Store and tap your profile picture in the top-right corner. Then, select Play Protect. Make sure to enable the Scan apps with Play Protect slider by tapping the Gear icon at the top-right. For additional protection, you can also enable Improve harmful app detection. To review apps that may be using too many permissions, check out the Permissions for unused apps panel.

On the Play Protect screen, you can check the date of the last scan. Simply tap on Scan to let the service examine your device for any infections. If a problem is detected, you will receive instructions on what to do next.

Scan Your Android Device Using a Third-party Antivirus App

Several Android antivirus applications offer redundant features that replicate the existing Android features and constantly remind you to upgrade to the premium version, making them unnecessary. Nevertheless, if you continue to suspect the presence of an Android virus despite following the aforementioned steps, seeking a second opinion wouldn’t hurt.

We suggest using Malwarebytes as a reliable and straightforward choice. Once installed, you can skip the free trial since it’s unnecessary for running a security scan. Simply click on “Scan now” on the homepage and grant the app permission to access your files for a comprehensive scan.

Malwarebytes will also alert you about other possible security concerns, such as enabling Developer Options and not utilizing the app’s additional features. It’s your choice whether you make adjustments to these settings; the scan will provide sufficient information to determine if your phone is infected with a significant threat.

Use Safe Mode To Eradicate Android Malware

If your Android device is infected with malware, running an antivirus scan should be able to detect and eliminate it. However, if this doesn’t work, you can try using safe mode as a more extreme measure. Safe mode allows you to boot up the operating system without any third-party apps running, which can help you identify and safely remove any problematic apps causing issues.

Refer to our step-by-step instructions on how to enter safe mode on your Android device. Once in safe mode, follow the same procedure mentioned earlier to uninstall any suspicious apps. If you encounter any problems while in safe mode, it indicates an issue with the operating system or hardware, rather than a virus.

Tips for Protecting Your Android Device from Viruses in the Future

To keep your Android device safe from viruses, you need to be both proactive and alert. Check out this all-inclusive manual for safeguarding your Android device against viruses.

  1. Download Apps Only from Trusted Sources: Stick to downloading apps exclusively from the official Google Play Store. The Play Store implements strict security measures and thorough vetting processes to reduce the chances of encountering malware. It is advisable to refrain from downloading apps from third-party app stores or unofficial sources, as they may potentially contain harmful apps.
  2. Install a Reputable Antivirus App: It is advisable to install a reliable antivirus app on your Android device. These apps can scan your phone for potential threats, identify harmful apps, and provide ongoing protection against malware. Choose an antivirus app from a reputable source that has a strong reputation and positive user feedback.
  3. Keep Your Device and Apps Updated: Make sure to keep your Android operating system and installed apps up-to-date. These updates usually contain security fixes that address newly found weaknesses and safeguard against known risks. To ensure that you always have the most secure versions, enable automatic updates for both your device and apps.
  4. Exercise Caution with Links and Attachments: It is important to be careful when clicking on links or opening attachments that come through emails, text messages, or social media messages. Cybercriminals often use phishing techniques to deceive users into clicking on links that direct them to websites infected with malware or opening attachments that contain malware.
  5. Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): It is recommended to activate two-factor authentication (2FA) for your online accounts, such as your Google account and other important services. This will provide an additional level of security by requiring a secondary verification method, like a code sent to your phone, along with your password.
  6. Pay Attention to App Permissions: When you install apps, make sure to carefully check the permissions they ask for. Only give permissions that are necessary for the app to work properly and avoid giving too many permissions that could put your privacy or security at risk.
  7. Monitor App Activity: Monitor your phone’s performance and battery usage. If you observe any abnormal activity like rapid battery depletion, unexpected data consumption, or random pop-ups from unfamiliar origins, it might suggest the existence of malware.
  8. Be Mindful of Online Behavior: To minimize your risk of encountering malware and other online threats, it’s best to steer clear of risky online behaviors like clicking on suspicious links, visiting untrusted websites, or downloading files from unknown sources.
  9. Use VPN for Public Wi-Fi: It’s a good idea to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks. This will encrypt your internet traffic and keep your data safe from any potential interception by hackers.
  10. Regularly Review Installed Apps: Regularly check the apps on your device and uninstall any that you don’t use or seem suspicious. By regularly reviewing your installed apps, you can detect potential malware or risky apps.

By adhering to these instructions, you can greatly decrease the chances of coming across Android viruses and keep your Android device safe and secure. Always remember to stay alert and take proactive security measures to protect your phone and personal information in the constantly changing digital world.

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