If you think your phone has a virus, you first need to perform a thorough check on your phone to see if your theory is correct. Remember that although viruses typically cause performance issues, not all performance issues are caused by viruses. If you do determine that your phone has a virus, then you need to get rid of it completely and then, finally, you need to make sure that it does not come back.
Typical Signs of a Phone Virus
In principle, viruses can have all kinds of symptoms. In practice, there are some which occur regularly. Here are the top ones.
- Being bombarded with adverts
- Apps appearing on your phone
- Unexplained calls/texts/data usage
- The internet connecting on its own
- A sudden spike in your billing
- Poor battery life
All of these do, however, have to be looked at in context, so basically if you see any of them, hold off panicking until you have investigated further. For example, free software is often funded by adverts and since ad revenue is notoriously low, some app creators try to use quantity to make up for quality. This may mean that the app becomes more hassle than it’s worth, but that does not make it a virus.
Out of all of the items on that list, the one which is arguably most context-dependent is the issue of battery life, especially as phones get older. Modern batteries do not always “age gracefully”, sometimes they work fine until they reach a certain point and then their performance deteriorates sharply. In other words, make sure you consider all reasonable possibilities before you conclude that you have a virus.
This last point is really important as some apps and adverts are designed to create performance issues to convince you that you have a virus and to direct you to their recommended solution to fix it and the best that you can hope for there is that you’ll hand over your money for nothing.
How to Remove A Malicious App from Your Phone
The basic process for removing a malicious app from your phone is the same for both Android and iPhones. The exact steps to follow will vary from device to device, so if you don’t know how to follow the instructions below, look up the specific instructions for your particular device.
First of all, try to download a reputable antivirus app to deal with it. The key point here is reputable, resist the temptation to panic and download the first antivirus app you can find and certainly not anything which appears to be recommended by your phone, this is the way to download (more) malware and make the situation worse. Stick to known and trustworthy providers such as Comodo.
You may, however, find that the malware blocks you from downloading legitimate antivirus software and if that turns out to be the case, here are the steps to follow.
Put your phone into flight mode. This will stop it from going online. If you’ve been unlucky enough to pick up a more sophisticated virus which won’t allow this, take out the SIM card. Obviously put it somewhere safe. They’re really easy to lose.
Find and remove the app. Hopefully you will just be able to go down your list of apps and uninstall it from there. If you can’t, then the app may have given itself admin privileges and you will need to see if you can revoke those privileges and uninstall the app.
If that fails, then you will have to try a factory reset. Again, a really sophisticated virus might try to stop you doing this through software, but hopefully not and if it does hopefully the hard reset option (using the phone’s hardware to start the reset) will still work because otherwise your only option would be to take your phone to a specialist store and hope that they could deal with it (it would be highly unlikely a virus attack would be covered by a warranty).
Once this is all done, download a virus-remover app and run a full, deep scan of your phone. This applies even if you’ve had to undertake a factory reset. That should put your phone back into its original state but viruses are becoming increasingly sophisticated so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Make Sure Your Phone Is Protected by A Robust Antivirus App
At this point in time, sadly, it doesn’t matter how safely you surf or how much you know about cybersecurity, the fact remains that the breadth and depth of cyberthreats are both increasing all the time so a robust antivirus is essential. The good news is that Comodo offers a great antivirus for a great price. Head over to the Comodo website now to get the protection you need at a price you can afford.