Android Vs IPhone: How To Remove Virus From Your Phone
According to recent research, more than 1 billion Android devices are vulnerable to malware (malicious software). If you are one of the 40% of Android users that is using an older device with an outdated version of Android, there is an increased risk of hackers stealing your personal data (such as your bank details). Here’s how to check if you have malware on your Android device, and how to prevent your device from getting infected.
If you are using an Android device running version 6.0 or earlier, you will not receive security updates. That means that you won’t receive patches that protect your device against new threats that hackers create.
Several Android phones has been tested and found that they were able to infect all of them with different malware strains, including BlueFrag, Joker, and Stagefight. Hackers can use these specific exploits to steal your contact information, register you for expensive services, or even take over your phone completely.
Google has since patched all of these exploits for users running the latest Android 9.0 and newer.
Signs That Your Android Device Is Infected
While you can’t always tell if your Android device has been infected with malware, here are some of the signs that you should keep an eye out for:
- You see an increase in data usage
- Your phone bill has increased charges
- Your phone and apps keep crashing
- You see pop-up ads
- There are unfamiliar apps on your phone
- Your phone is overheating
How To Check Virus/ Malware On Your Phone
To check for malware on your Android device, go to Google Play Store app and click the three-line icon in the top-left left corner of your screen. Then type Google Play Protect and tap the scan button.
Google Play Protect is an in-built service that automatically scans all the apps on your device to check for malware on your Android. Google Play Protect warns you about any detected potentially harmful apps that it finds, and it removes known harmful apps on your device.
- On your Android device, go to the Google Play Store app. You can find this app by tapping the Apps icon at the bottom of your home screen.
- Then tap the menu button. This is the three-line icon in the top-left corner of your screen.
- Next, tap on Google Play Protect. This will show you the status of your device and the results of the latest scan.
- Tap the scan button to force your Android device to check for malware.
- If you see any harmful apps on your device, you will see an option to remove it.
Once you have manually scanned for malicious software, you should also make sure that your device is set to scan your apps automatically. You can do this by tapping the gear icon in the top-right corner of your screen and making sure that both sliders are green.
How To Prevent Your Phone From Getting Infected With Malware
Phone malware is just like your physical health: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Protecting yourself against malware is not too difficult for most people who aren’t high-value targets, but it takes some forethought…
One of the easiest ways to prevent your phone device from getting infected with malware is to make sure an app is verified by Google Play Protect when you download it. You can tell an app is safe to download when you see a green badge underneath the progress bar.
However, there are still apps in the Google Play Store that have been verified, but they still contain malware. This can also happen when you update the app. You can check if your updates are safe by going to the Google Play Store, and tapping Menu > My apps and games. From there, you can scan all your updates manually.
- Consider installing a strong antivirus, like TotalAV on your phone
- Don’t install apps from third-party app stores
- Don’t jailbreak or root your phone
- Keep your phone updated; If you no longer receive timely software updates, purchase a new phone
- Be careful and exercise caution when installing apps, browsing the web, and following instructions
How To Get Rid Of Virus On Your Phone
The process of removing a virus is similar on Android and iOS phones, but it isn’t completely the same. To help you out, we made detailed explanations on how to get rid of cyber threats no matter what phone you have.
How to remove a virus from an Android phone
There are multiple ways you can remove mobile malware from your Android. The elimination steps mostly depend on what type of virus has infected your smartphone.
Some malicious programs disguise themselves as regular apps, such as a flashlight, and you can get rid of them by simply uninstalling the application. It’s very important to immediately take actions because these malicious programs can compromise both your device’s security, and take over your Google and other accounts.
Since it’s not always easy to find what type of malware has infected your phone and where it’s main components are hiding, I strongly advise you to get one of the best Android antiviruses to scan your device for security threats and eliminate identified malware.
However, if you’ve performed an antivirus scan and still notice malware-like symptoms, follow this guide on how to remove viruses from your phone manually:
Step 1: Remove unrecognized apps
If you have recently spotted an app that you didn’t install, there’s a high chance it might be malware. You’ll need to clean your phone to ensure that no unfamiliar and potentially harmful apps remain.
You can remove the unrecognized app by following these simple steps: Go to Settings > Apps & Notifications > See all apps > find the suspicious app and uninstall it.
Step 2: Try a different network or connection method
Sometimes, you might experience symptoms which resemble malware-related activity if you’re connected to an insecure network, for instance, public Wi-Fi.
You can try connecting to a different network by going to Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi or switching to Cellular data to resolve this problem.
Step 3: Change your Google account password
There’s a strong chance that hackers used malware to hijack your Google account and further compromise your security.
You must change the account password by navigating to Settings > Google > Manage your Google Account.
Then, open the Security tab > Password > Change Password.
Make sure you’re using a completely unique password. For that, you can use a password generator which provides strong passwords with symbols, capital letters, and digits.
Step 4: Add two-factor authentication (2FA)
You can also increase your Android protection by using 2FA which makes it almost impossible for hackers to gain access to your Google account.
You can enable it by opening Settings app > Google > Manage Google Account. Click on the Security tab and select 2-Step Verification under the Signing into Google section.
Extra step: Wipe your Android phone
If none of the above mentioned methods to clean malware from your phone helped, it’s possible that you might need to wipe your Android and reset it to the primary state. In case malicious programs made specific changes on the device’s settings, they’ll be reversed.
Here is a guide showing how to wipe your Android phone:
- Make a backup of your data onto a trusted computer. Don’t rely on Google’s backup features in case it’s also compromised. Plug your device into your computer using a USB cable. In the pop-up, select File transfer/Android Auto, and proceed with file transferring on your computer. The most important files to transfer would be photos and videos located in the DCIM folder, however, think about anything else you have on your phone that you would like to save.
- Reset your phone to factory settings. While these settings might be located in different places depending on your Android device, the most generic steps would be to go to the Settings app > System > Reset Options > Erase all data (factory reset).
How to remove a virus from an iPhone
The most effective way to clean your iPhone from viruses is to employ reliable antivirus solutions for iOS. The security suites can not only remove viruses, but also help you protect your device from future infections.
However, sometimes it’s wise to take some manual actions, so that you’d be sure that your phone is absolutely malware-free. Here are the step-by-step guidelines showing how to remove a virus from your iPhone:
Step 1: Reboot your phone
Simple, unsophisticated viruses which are known as non-persistent malware can be removed with a reboot.
Click and quickly release the volume up button, click and quickly release the volume down button and then, press and hold the power button until the Apple logo appears.
Step 2: Connect to a different network
Some types of malicious programs can find their way into your iPhone if you’re connected to an unprotected network.
Go to Settings > Wi-Fi and connect to a different network that you know is secure. Also, you can try using Cellular to check if the malware-like symptoms persist.
Step 3: Change your Apple ID password
Sometimes, hackers manage to get into your accounts by using malware. If you think this might be the case, you should navigate to the Settings > [Your Name] > Password & Security > Change Password.
Note that it’s important to use unique passwords. Some premium password managers offer a password generator tool which can help you create a strong password and avoid future account takeovers.
Step 4: Enable two-factor authentication (2FA)
This step adds an extra layer of security to your Apple ID and makes it almost impossible to hack.
Go to Settings > [Your Name] > Password & Security > Two-Factor Authentication and enter your phone number which will be used to verify your identity whenever you or someone else tries to sign in.
Extra step: Performing a complete iPhone wipe
If you’ve tried every given method to remove malware and it still persists, you should consider wiping your iPhone. The easiest way to do this is navigating through the Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.
However, in some cases it’s not enough since an advanced malware infection is often highly resistant and even capable of reinstalling itself on the iOS.
Thus, you should follow these guidelines to perform a complete iPhone wipe:
- Make a complete backup of your important data on a PC. Don’t use iCloud Backup, as restoring a backup from iCloud later could bring back the malware. Instead, connect your iPhone to your computer using a USB, Lightning cable, or wifi connection. If you’re using Windows, you’ll simply have to choose Import photos and videos in the pop up. As for Mac users, you can find the connected iPhone in Finder > Locations > your iPhone > Back Up Now.
- Put your device intoRecovery Mode. For this step, you should follow Apple’s official instructions since the process is slightly different depending on which generation of iPhone you are using.
- Restore your iPhone to the primary stage. Replug your device to the computer and open iTunes. Then, click on the device button at the top-left corner of the window and select Summary > Restore. Follow the on-screen instructions and wait until your iPhone finishes installing and setting up the iOS.
Alternatively, you can head to Finder > Locations > your iPhone > Restore iPhone.
- Restore your data from the backup you made. Once your iPhone is all newly set up, plug it into your computer and transfer all of the important files from the backup you made back onto your iPhone.
How Virus Get Into Your Phone
Yes, phones can easily get viruses. Android phones are more susceptible to malware than iPhones, but both can get infected. Here are some of the ways by which malware and potentially unwanted apps/programs can get into your phone:
- Jailbreaking. When you jailbreak your phone to install apps and tweaks that aren’t approved by Apple, you can mistakenly install malicious software as well. Jailbreaking inherently involves bypassing the iPhone’s security restrictions.
- Rooting. Like jailbreaking on iOS, rooting an Android device gives the user more control – at the expense of security features. The same is true for custom ROMs, which give users even more complete control.
- Malicious Google Play Store apps. Although both Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store occasionally contain malware, the Play Store contains more total apps and less human screening. Google quickly removes any malicious apps from the Play Store as soon as they’re discovered, but millions of people have already installed malicious apps.
- Third-party app stores. Users occasionally choose to get apps outside of the Google Play Store. Doing this can be dangerous, as these alternative stores aren’t subject to Google’s malware screening.
- Compromised networks. Although this issue isn’t technically malware, it presents similar symptoms. Pop-ups and unexpected ads on insecure sites (HTTP, not HTTPS) are symptoms of a compromised network.
- Stolen Apple ID credentials. Again, this issue is not necessarily malware. However, if a hacker steals your Apple ID credentials, they can do all sorts of things to your devices and accounts, so it’s just as dangerous as actual malware.
- Security bypasses due to old software. New iOS versions nearly always include fixes for critical security issues. Historically, many iOS devices have been compromised through known vulnerabilities that were already patched in newer iOS updates.
- Google account compromise, security bypass due to old software, and nation-state-level hacking all work just the same on Android as they do on iOS.