Malware on Your Phone? How to Find it and Remove It

Susan Kennedy
June 8, 2020

Malware, or malicious software, can attack any device and any operating system. At best it’s just a minor annoyance and at worst it can do serious damage to your cell phone and possibly compromise your personal data.

Malware is a broad term that covers any unwanted software or app that is installed on your mobile device. They can be malicious apps designed to target your personal data or apps that are designed to track your movements.

Some are aimed at making money through various scams. Some are in the form of spy apps aimed at hacking your cell phone and spying on almost everything you do on your device. Whatever for it takes, Malware is a problem and one you must take seriously.

So how does malware even get on the device? One of the main ways to get Malware is through risky apps or hacked apps. Unfortunately, mistakes happen, and some apps on official app stores do squeeze through security. If you have a Rooted Android or Jailbroken iPhone – you’re even more at risk, as you can install third party apps, which could have been infected with malware.

Your Android could be infested with malware, and you wouldn’t know it. So how do you find and get rid of malware, and how can you make sure that malware never rears its face on your device again?

Signs of Malware

Thankfully, if your phone has been attacked by any sort of malware, there are certain signs to look out for. Here you are looking for sudden changes in your phone or devices behavior. Check for several of these signs:

Unusual Data Depletion

Malware can be used to gather your data, and when it does, it sends it back to the person who sent it there in the first place. Doing this causes data usage to go up. If you see strange increases in data usage when you know you haven’t done anything to cause that, it could be a sign of malware.

Performance Isn’t as Good

While your phone’s performance can go down due to age, if your new phone is performing at a snail’s pace, and everything seems fine otherwise, it could be a sign of malware. Try rebooting it. If the problem doesn’t go away, all signs point to malware.

Poor Battery Life

Again, battery life decreases with time. But if your battery doesn’t last at all and your phone is new, this could be a sign of malware. The malware works hard in the background to gather your data constantly, and of course, that means that naturally, your battery usage will increase. The more severe the malware, the shorter your battery span will be.

Calls Keep Getting Dropped

If you keep getting your calls dropped, and both sides have good service, it could be a sign that malware is trying to interfere. Once again, you should make sure that it’s the service’s fault before you judge. If you keep getting your calls dropped and your service is great, it could be a sign of malware.

These are just a few common signs of a Malware attack. It is important to understand that these signs can be normal at times due to your device or service provider. What you are looking for is sudden changes and repeated problems.

I have read a few places online talking about using codes to check if your phone is hacked – but when you dig into it these turn out to be pretty useless. Nice idea but too simplistic and they don’t give results.  

So How Do You Remove Malware?

On a computer, the best way to remove malicious software from your desktop would be to install a malware remover. So how do you do it on a cell phone? The same way! There are apps out there that can remove your malware. But make sure you install a trustworthy one. I have you covered when it comes to making choices. Here are some you can download with no charge.

Avast! Mobile Security: This app manually searches through your device, or you can set it up to schedule regular scans. It keeps you covered always! When you’re browsing, it pushes malware links away, and it’s always on the lookout for threats. In addition to that, it filters your SMS and calls, has a firewall, and includes measures to prevent theft.

360 Mobile  Security: Just like the previous app, this one can scan manually or automatically. It has a cloud database where it lists threats, so you’re always updated. Not only does its interface look pleasing, but it’s very fast. You won’t even be aware you were even hit with malware after it’s through with it.

AVG Antivirus Security: Here’s another great one. This one scans all files and apps you download and points out if they have anything suspicious on it. In addition, it’s like a mother to you, telling you how you can fix security flaws and make your phone security as tight as possible.

How Do I Prevent Malware Attacks From Happening?

To prevent malware 100% of the time, you would have to abstain from using the Internet, not download anything, and not plug it into any device. Of course, you’d have to be insane to want to do that. There are more sensible methods out there to decrease your chances for getting malware, and that includes:

Read the App Reviews

If the app doesn’t have reviews, wait until it does have some, and if people point out flaws, it may be a sign that its malware. Note that some developers post fake reviews in order to trick you. If you see a bunch of five-star reviews that seem a bit suspicious, and then a one-star review pointing out that it’s malware, tread lightly.

Research the Developer

If there are no reviews and you can’t wait, you should see if the developer has other apps that have had a good reputation. Once again, you need to make sure to avoid fake reviews. If this is the first app they’ve made, then you should wait.

Beware of Third-Party Markets

We’re not saying you should avoid them entirely, but all app markets can have their malware. If you’re going to use a third-party market, use the Amazon Appstore, as that’s the most trustworthy out of them all. Third-party apps can be great, but some can do some horrible damage to your device.

Don’t Grant SuperUser Access Unless You Fully Trust the App

Blindly granting apps access to everything is no good, especially if you’re using a rooted device. While many apps need access to function, only do it with apps from companies you trust. By granting access to suspicious apps, you’re just begging to get infected.

Keep Scanning!

Perhaps the most important thing you should do is have a weekly scan of your device. In order to do this, just download one of the apps we’ve mentioned, and make sure to schedule a regular scan whenever you feel like it.

Don’t Be Paranoid

While you should be wary of malware, you shouldn’t be on the lookout all the time. Plenty of people have never gotten malware, and it’s not a constant threat. But it can happen and it’s always good to have security measures in check. Download a scanner, don’t download anything suspicious, and you should be good.

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