Malware Removal for Android Phones

Malware Removal for Android Phones

Android devices have the largest share of the global mobile device market. The need for malware removal for Android phones is very real. Google does, of course, police the Google Play store and remove malicious apps when they are found. However, a study by G Data showed that over 750k malware apps surfaced online during the first quarter of 2017. [1] Over 800 Android apps on Google Play Store contain Xavier Malware.

Mobile Apps Access Your Phones Data (Maybe)

All mobile apps access data on your phone. During the installation process, legit apps will advise you of what information they will be accessing. Permission can include access to your contacts, photos or even call history. For some apps, the access levels makes sense. For exmaple, Figure one has a screenshot of the update for a messaging app I use, Signal. It asks for no extra permissions! However, for some apps, the data “required” by the app is not needed for the app to function. Unnecessary data access is one indicator that you may be installing malware. One of the more famous and common apps asking for unnecessary permissions was Flashlight App. Users install the app sp the can use their camera flash into as a bright, steady flashlight. There is no reason for this app to access anything on your Android phone except for the camera light. Yet, those who installed is it granted full permissions to contacts, photos, call history, etc.

Figure 1

Why Should I Update My Phone?

It is important to keep the operating systems of all Android devices up-to-date, just as you would hopefully update your computer. Android phones should be updated with the newest version of the operating system. Usually your service provider – Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T – pushes the updates automatically. However, users have the option to delay an update to a more convenient time like when a phone is using a WiFi connection to save on data charges. This can lead to smartphone updates being delayed or forgotten.

How to get rid of malware on your phone

So how do you get rid of malware once it is on board? Fortunately, it is easier than removing it from a laptop! Malware removal involves locating the app on the phone, deleting the data, and then removing the app. If your Android phone is responding to the keys and the screen, then malware removal is easy.

To remove a malicious app, follow these steps:

  • From the home screen, tap the “apps” button
  • Choose settings
  • Select Apps
  • Choose Application Manager
  • Select the malware app to remove
  • Choose Manage Storage, then clear the data and clear the storage
  • Next, choose Uninstall

How to Reset Android Phones to Factory Settings – Samsung

If that doesn’t work or if your phone is completely unresponsive, then you may have to return it to its factory settings to regain control of the device. WARNING! If you have not backed them up, you will lose all of your data, photos, and settings!

To reset the phone, follow these steps:

  • Simultaneously press and hold the Power button (located on the upper-right edge), Volume Up button (located on the left edge near the top), and the Home button (located at the bottom in the middle) until the Samsung logo appears
  • Release the power button ONLY
  • Release the volume up button and home key when the Android recovery screen appears
  • Using the volume button to navigate, select wipe data/factory reset by selecting it with the power button
  • Choose Yes to delete all data
  • Select reboot system now

The phone reboot process will take a few minutes to finish. After it is done, follow initial setup steps for the device.


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Michelle writes about cyber security, data privacy focusing on social media privacy as well as how to protect your IoT devices. She She has worked in internet technology for over 20 years and owns METRONY, LLC. Michelle earned a B.S. in Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Michelle published a guide to Cyber Security for Business Travelers