Does your Android device have malware? Do you suspect that it’s affected by a virus? Will malware put the information and files on your device at risk? If you find yourself asking these questions, then you have come to the right place.
A Major Security Fear for Android Users
One of the biggest security threats to mobile devices has come to pass. Last June 6, Google confirmed that cyberthieves and hackers had successfully preinstalled malware into the Android framework. Simply said, Android malware had found a way onto phones before they were even shipped and released to the public.
In a blog post, Lukasz Siewierski from Android’s security and privacy team wrote, “In the Google Play app context, installation meant that [the malware] didn’t have to turn on installation from unknown sources and all apps installed looked like they were from Google Play.”
“The apps were downloaded from the C&C server and the communication with the C&C was encrypted using the same custom encryption routine using double XOR and ZIP. The downloaded and installed apps used the package names of unpopular apps available on Google Play. They didn’t have any relation to the apps on Google Play apart from the same package name,” he added.
What Actually Happened?
According to Google, the incident happened two years ago. Although they did not say why they hadn’t announced it before, it appears that Google wanted to ensure it had fixed the issue before disclosing it to the public.
So, what really happened? It all started three years ago with a series of ad-displaying apps called Triada. These apps existed with an aim to install spam apps onto a device. Because of the Triada apps, the creators managed to collect high revenue.
When Triada apps are installed onto a device, a type of superuser binary file is created. This file allows other apps to access root permissions. From there, issues surface.
At some point, Google was able to detect the malware apps and remove them using Google Play Protect. Then again, around the summer of 2017, Triada fought back. Instead of just getting root access, Triada apps evolved and improved until they finally became a preinstalled Android framework backdoor.
This time, Triada apps did not only gain root access. They also attempted to execute complex codes while disguised as other apps. They also got more creative to a point that they avoided detection and scans.
Fortunately, Google was able to find ways to kill these apps.
What Can Malware Do to Your Android Phones?
Malware programs exist for the sole reason of generating revenue. They steal information from a device, install random adware, and make your device do things it’s not supposed to do. And unfortunately, no matter how careful you are, they will always find a way to sneak onto your devices.
However, how can you tell that it’s not a hardware or software failure that is messing up your Android device but rather some malware programs? Here are some signs of malware to look out for:
- Your Android phone runs slow.
- Your battery drains faster than usual.
- Apps take longer to load.
- A lot of ads pop up randomly.
- Apps that you don’t remember downloading exist.
Now, if you suspect that malware has successfully penetrated your system, it is advised that you run a quick virus scan using a reliable Android antivirus app. Do your research to ensure that you are investing in a reliable cyber security app that does not overlook vulnerabilities. Once a piece of malware is detected, remove it right away.
How to Remove Malware in Android
To prevent malware from wreaking havoc on your device, remove the Android malware from your phone or tablet right away. Here’s how:
1. Switch Off Your Android Phone and Restart It in Safe Mode.
Long press the Power button to access your device’s Power Off options. Select Restart in Safe Mode. Once your device has restarted in Safe mode, check for signs of malware. If everything is working fine, then it is possible that your device has hardware or software issues that need to be fixed.
2. Uninstall Any Suspicious-Looking App.
Is there an app on your device that you don’t remember downloading? There is a chance that it’s a piece of malware. Remove it to keep it from wreaking havoc on your system.
To uninstall suspicious apps, go to Settings and find the app you want to delete. Tap Uninstall or hit Force Close. The second option may not remove the malware, but it can prevent malware from causing further damage.
3. Find Apps That May Be Infected.
It is possible that some apps on your device have been infected by malware. If you think you know the affected apps, uninstall them right away.
4. Install a Third-Party Malware Removal App.
If you are not confident with your troubleshooting skills, it is best that you install a third-party malware removal app. But again, you have to be extra careful because there are pieces of malware that disguise themselves as antivirus apps. To be sure, read reviews before downloading and installing one.
Protect Your Android Device Against Malware
There are a few things you can do to protect your Android device against malware and viruses. These include the following:
- Invest in a reliable Android security app.
- Keep your Android operating system and apps up to date.
- Never click on any suspicious links in your text messages or emails.
- Always use strong passwords.
- Never connect to unsecure WiFi networks. When connecting to a public WiFi network, it is best that you use a VPN.
- Download and install apps from trusted sources like Google Play Store.
Do not wait until your Android device gets infected with malware. Make protection a priority and install a reliable Android antivirus. While it may sound obvious, it’s also a good idea to keep your Android device’s operating system and apps up to date. Ignoring updates can put your Android phone at risk for attacks.
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