This Week’s How-To: Keeping Your Android Device Virus-Free

Is your Android device acting up?

The guys and gals of Intercom put their heads together to give you a guide on determining if you have a virus on your device, removing the virus and preventing Android viruses from finding their way to your device.

Finding the Sneaky Little Buggers

Malware does not announce itself but it does leave a trail of crumbs. To find out if your device has a virus, look for the following signs:

  • Crashing apps
  • High data usage
  • Ceaseless pop-ups
  • Overheating of the phone and quick battery drain
  • Unexplained calls or texts
  • Unexplained bill charges
  • Unwanted apps

Your device doesn’t have to tick all the boxes. If a few of these symptoms are already showing, take action as early as now. It will stop the virus from carrying out its full program.

Getting Rid of the Virus

Removing a virus is pretty straightforward. Like a Trojan horse, the prevalent viruses that find their way to Android devices usually get there through hiding in an app. So getting rid of the virus entails finding the app that sneaked it in and uninstalling it. Here’s how:

  1. First, put your device into Safe Mode to prevent any third-party app from running. If you don’t know how, you can Google how to put your unit into Safe Mode. It’s best to put in the exact model of your device to find better instructions.
  2. When you’re already in Safe Mode, go to Settings > Apps and look at the Downloaded tab. If you know when your device started getting pesky, you can see from the tab which new app you downloaded that could be causing your phone to misbehave.
  3. Once you’ve found the malicious app, open its info page then click Uninstall.

If the Uninstall button cannot be clicked, this means that the virus gave itself administrator status.

Annoyingly clever, right? But it isn’t the end of the world. You can still remove the little bugger.

Go back to the main Settings menu then go to Security then Device Administrators (Settings > Security > Device Administrators). Find the app that you want to uninstall and untick its box. On the next screen, tap Deactivate.

From there, you can go back to the apps menu and uninstall the malicious app.

All you need to do now is to restart your device to go back to normal mode.

Protecting Your Phone from Viruses

To protect your phone, you don’t necessarily need to install antivirus apps. Since the malware sneaks in through dubious apps, your first line of defense is being more careful with the apps you download.

Google regularly checks the apps on Play Store and removes those with hidden malware. So to stay safe, don’t download and install apps that aren’t on Google Play unless you are absolutely sure it’s virus-free.

Be wary also of cloned apps and check the developers in the app information. If the developers are unknown or you see a typo in the name of the app or developer, chances are it’s a clone.

Also, make sure that you disable the Unknown Sources option under the Security menu (Settings > Security > Unknown Sources) so that your device won’t download apps outside of Google Play.

Android viruses may be rare, but they always find a way to ruin a good day. So being attuned to the changes in your phone and being careful with the apps you download can save you from annoying nuisances or even bigger issues.

Scott Logan

Scott has probably dismantled and put back thousands of gadgets in his lifetime. We’re lucky enough to have his ideas and myth-busters consistently fuelling our blogs. Scott also edits our contributors’ reviews and how-to’s.

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