Some people will tell you that an Android phone is immune to computer viruses. But over the summer, dozens of apps containing adware and malware were found in the Google Play Store (bleepingcomputer.com, 7/26/2022). Google Play Protect can tell you if your app differs in any way from the version they keep in the store. But what if the original Google-approved code was bad?
It’s clear that anti-malware apps that can scan an Android phone for viruses and other malware have a role to play. Many of the products available for Android devices come from the same companies that have protected PCs for years. But once a current infestation is eliminated, future threats still need to be considered. Let’s assemble the components of a successful Android security strategy.
Continue reading: 15 Best Antivirus Apps and Best Anti-Malware Apps for Android
To scan an Android phone for viruses and malware, download a reputable anti-malware app (see our link above for a list) from the Google Play Store and have it scan your phone for suspicious code. After the scan, go through your app list and delete any apps you don’t remember installing.
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Can Android phones get viruses or malware?
A virus is a specific type of malware that behaves in a specific way. It duplicates itself within the operating system or app code, just like a biological virus inserts its genetic code into human cells. While Android phones don’t typically come into contact with this particular type of security threat, there are other types of malware (the larger category that includes viruses and other malicious code) that can achieve the same goals as the makers of a virus: get at your information, damage your phone or hold it for ransom.
Android phones usually acquire malware by tricking the phone’s owner into downloading it. It can be a downloaded app, an attachment to an email or SMS text, or downloaded content from a website. It could even be coming from another phone if you connect the two together.
If your phone is slowing down, dying of battery very quickly, or keeps restarting, it could be malware. If the same app keeps crashing, if you see ads in apps that don’t normally have ads, if your phone suddenly overheats, or if you see an app on your phone that you don’t remember installing, chances are you have one unwanted guest in your phone. So what should you do?
How to scan for virus or malware on Android
The first thing you need to do is scan your Android phone for malware. There are a variety of anti-malware apps for the Android operating system. Most operate on the same model, offering a free version with basic features and charging for the deluxe version. Most Android owners will be fine with the free version (many people don’t want a VPN, for example). These apps are very easy to use, with most having a large one scan button when you open the app. Of the apps listed in our article linked above, Bitdefender Free is an excellent choice. It’s lightweight and offers decent functionality in its free incarnation. When you download and open Bitdefender Free, you will see the following.
Kevin Convery/Android Authority
Tap the Scan device and Bitdefender will start scanning your phone for malware.
Kevin Convery/Android Authority
When the scanning is complete, the results will be displayed. We received a clean health certificate on this scan. If Bitdefender finds malware, it will be deleted automatically. If this is not possible, you have the choice of disinfecting, deleting or quarantining the problematic file. Most anti-malware apps work in a similar way.
Kevin Convery/Android Authority
Remove all non-Play Store apps
Now that we’ve determined that your phone isn’t currently infected, we need to cover the possibility that there’s a corrupted app on your phone that just hasn’t moved yet. Unfortunately, if you have an app on your phone that you haven’t downloaded from the Google Play Store, then as the default location, it’s suspect because apps are usually not available on the Google Play Store for some reason.
Sometimes it’s because an app is performing a function that violates a company’s terms of service. And sometimes it’s because the makers or distributors of the app want to put spyware or other malware in their app. You know Google won’t let that happen. Although there are sometimes temporarily infected apps in the store, Google regularly scans their inventory to remove malware. If you want to be sure of the security of your device, remove all apps from your phone or tablet that you have not downloaded from the Google Play Store.
What about the future?
Keeping your Android device free from malware in the future is a matter of vigilance. Here are some steps you can take to ensure no malicious code finds a beachhead in your phone:
- Continue to take all normal security measures you’ve probably already made a habit of, including clicking on links in emails or text messages unless you’re 100% sure they’re safe, and lock your phone with a PIN if you don’t use it for a while.
- You can use an antivirus app on your device. For real-time protection, consider a monthly subscription. However, having antivirus software on a PC is pretty much a necessity. If you follow basic Android security practices, such as B. opening suspicious messages and emails, avoiding third-party apps outside of Play Store and other similar precautions, you may find that antivirus software is not necessary for all users.
- Google Play Protect is a feature of the Google Play Store that allows you to scan the Play Store apps on your phone or tablet and compare them to the versions in the store. Any app that has been modified on your device will be flagged. If you only use Play Store apps and scan regularly with Play Protect, it will be difficult for anyone to damage your device. Search for Play Protect in the Play Store to access the tool.
- Each Android system update included security fixes and fixes for known vulnerabilities in the previous version. The longer an Android version is publicly available, the greater the chance someone can exploit these vulnerabilities as more hackers learn about them. There are also minor Android security updates between version updates. You should install these as soon as they become available.
- Disable saving passwords. It makes a hacker’s job that much easier when your passwords are stored on the very device they’re trying to break into.
Continue reading: How can I tell if someone is spying or tracking my Android phone?
frequently asked Questions
All viruses are malware, but not all malware is a virus. A virus is a type of malware that spreads by copying itself into your phone’s operating system or app code. Malware can be a virus, ransomware, adware, or a worm. Viruses are a subset of all malware.
Androids do. There are more Android phones than iPhones in the world, making them a more attractive target for malware makers. There are also more ways to infect an Android since you can download Android apps from places other than Google Play Store. This gives attackers a way to bypass Google Play Protect and get onto your device. The only way to download an app on an iPhone that isn’t from the Apple Store, with its vaunted security procedures, is to jailbreak the phone.
no It is very difficult to damage an Android phone in a way that would require you to discard it. If your phone is badly infected, you can always factory reset it and start over.
Clicking links in text messages can take you to malicious websites. And hackers can even use Bluetooth to transfer virus-infected files that an unsuspecting person could open.