Has Your Android Phone Been Infected with Malware?

Malware is out to get you. It’s a sad and unfortunate truth: regardless of your device, becoming infected with malware is a very real possibility when software installation is involved. For a long time, malware was isolated to Windows due to its dominance in the computer market, eventually moving on to infect Mac and Linux computers (to a lesser degree). Now, malware presents a threat to mobile devices, including Android. Are you prepared?

The immediate question is, how does malware get on an Android device in the first place? After all, most users only install apps through the Play Store, and Google keeps a tight watch over that to make sure malware doesn’t squeeze through, right? Not entirely. Suspicious apps have been known to make it onto the Play Store. And then there’s the whole issue with using a third-party app distributor to install cracked apps, which can also result in malware.

Is your Android infected without you knowing? If so, how can you cleanse your device of these impurities? And how can you keep yourself protected in the future? Keep reading to find out.

Signs of Android Malware Infection

android malware diagnose   Has Your Android Phone Been Infected with Malware?

Just as on a computer, there are some warning signs that can alert you to the presence of a malware infection on an Android device. The gist of it is this: if something begins acting out of the ordinary and you haven’t made any significant changes to your device, the problem might be malware related.

  • Unexplained data usage. A lot of malware exists to collect data: account details, credit card numbers, contacts lists, etc. Once it has this information, the malware app needs to relay it back to whoever created that malware – and in most cases, this information transfer will result in strange spikes in data usage.
  • Poor phone performance. Depending on the age of your device and the severity of malware infection, your phone’s performance might take a hit. If you experience a slowing down, you might have a malware infection – especially if a reboot doesn’t alleviate the problem.
  • Reduced battery life. Since most malware are designed to sit in the background and run all day long, you may notice a dip in your battery life. More severe cases of malware will kill your battery faster than mild cases.
  • Dropped phone calls. Sometimes your calls will drop due to poor service. Other times, the culprit could be malware interference. Most of the time, poor service will be the right answer, but when you start dropping more calls than normal, it could be indicative of malware.

Removing Malware From Android

android malware apps   Has Your Android Phone Been Infected with Malware?

The best way to remove malware from an Android would be to, unsurprisingly, install a malware removal app. Just be sure to install a reputable one. How silly would it be if you accidentally installed malware while trying to install a malware remover? Here are some free ones that you may want to check out:

  • 360 Mobile Security: 360 can scan your device, whether manually or automatic, and provide protection based on its ever-updated cloud database of threats. It can detect vulnerabilities on your device and optimize your settings. It’s quick, to the point, and effective – not to mention the fact that it has one of the most beautiful app interfaces I’ve ever seen. For a deeper look, check out Erez’s 360 Mobile Security review.
  • avast! Mobile Security: avast! can scan your device manually or according to schedule. When browsing, it will detect and block malware-infected links, and it will monitor all incoming and outgoing traffic for threats. Other advanced features include anti-theft measures, a built-in firewall, and SMS/call filtering.
  • AVG AntiVirus Security: AVG’s app will scan all new files and apps for potential threats, including malware, spyware, and viruses. On top of that, it can identify insecure settings and provide tips for plugging security holes. There are also some advanced features, like traffic monitoring and anti-theft measures.

Keeping Your Android Free of Malware

android malware protect   Has Your Android Phone Been Infected with Malware?

The only way to completely prevent malware on your Android is to never download any apps, never plug the Android into a computer, and pretty much live in a bubble for the remainder of the device’s lifetime. Well, that’s not exactly practical, so here are some tips you should know to minimize the chances of contracting malware.

  • Check app reviews. When you find a new app to download, always read the reviews first. If the app is problematic in any way, some of the reviews will make note of it and you can move on. If the app doesn’t have any reviews, you may want to steer clear until it does.
  • Check developer’s track record. Okay, so let’s say there’s an app you really 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.
  • Be wary of third-party app markets. 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 completely safe. At the very least, stick to the reputable ones like the Amazon Appstore.
  • Be careful when granting Superuser privileges. For those of you who have rooted your Android devices, make sure you limit Superuser privileges only to the apps you trust 100%. If you grant Superuser access to every app that asks for it, then you’re just asking for malware to gain full control of your device.
  • Run malware scans regularly. This shouldn’t be a problem if you installed one of the apps above since they all have the ability to schedule scans. But whatever you choose to use, be sure to make a routine out of scanning, whether it’s once a day or once a week.

Conclusion

Now, with all of that said, don’t freak out. Many happy Android users have gone years without ever contracting malware, so it’s not like you’ll find it around every corner just waiting to jump you. However, it’s always good to be prudent when it comes to security and it’s better to know about it than bumble along in ignorance. Take heed and keep your Android device safe!

How else do you fight and protect yourself against Android malware? Share your experiences with us in the comments.

Image Credit: Diagnose Android Via Shutterstock, Virus Shield Via Shutterstock

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13 Comments -

2 votes

C Jacobs

If you frequently steal apps from shady websites you deserve every virus and malware infected thing you get.

0 votes

Abid M

This is the main reason why i am using Iphone. I think Apple IOS is secure OS so far.

0 votes

Kevin H

They said the same thing about Apple’s computers.

0 votes

Kevin H

They said the same thing about Apple’s computers.

0 votes

Saumyakanta S

and now they are infected . IOS is secure cuz its not open source.

0 votes
0 votes

Bruno

Thats also one of the reasons why I use apple. I wouldn’t run banking software on a Android device for example. And by the way, I read the Kaspersky article, it agrees on the Android platform being highly sensitive to malware and the only reason they would like for Apple to be more open is because it would enable Kaspersky to write (and sell) software for Apple/iOS devices.

0 votes

Dean

So Microsoft Windowns must be secure. Cuz it ain’t open source…?

0 votes

Saumyakanta S

it should have been the case , but you see , MS is too much “open” , I mean there are millions of people creating viruses , and programming for MS is so much easy.

0 votes

yumilu

i have ignored the threat of malware.. in my android mobile.. please help me to fix it!

0 votes

Theresa

II received a malware from an android armor that is supposedly made to protect me from such things,…How do we know which protection is reputable, And it cost me $45.for six month…CRAZY..

0 votes

Micheal prima

I install AVG Antivirus security to my android phone ,then when i scan it, i found a malware to my launcher,,I need to uninstall it, but the problem is , i can’t uninstall that app co’z that app is the permanent launcher of my phone when i buy it.. what can i do to delete or erase that malware, ?? it affect to the performance of my phone? help me please.

0 votes

jason

my lookout security did not find any malware but apps on my phone randomly open on their own. how can I fix this?