Android Virus Protection 101: The Basics

Android Virus Protection 101: The Basics

What is malware and what can they do to Android phones?

Malware is a contraction of malicious software that is designed to damage devices or steal data. There are different types of malware, such as viruses, trojans, worms, spyware, etc.

Android devices are much more vulnerable to hacking than Apple devices. Apple follows a stricter process of creating apps while Android allows developers a free hand in making apps. Also, Apple doesn’t release its source code to app developers, and the device owners can’t modify the code on their iPhones and iPads themselves. Android devices are relying on an open-source code, which means that the owners of these devices can tinker with their phone’s and tablet’s operating systems and might create a weakness in their devices’ security.

Then there are manufacturers themselves. If a phone maker puts out a new device with a modification to the Android operating system and there’s a vulnerability in that code, hackers will find it.

Signs your phone has viruses or other malware:

  • Apps crashing for no reason.
  • Battery drains faster.
  • Increased data usage.
  • Increased phone bills.
  • Phone often overheats.
  • You notice new unfamiliar apps, files, calls, SMS messages or in-app purchases, being made without your permission or control on your phone.
  • You may receive a notification saying that your phone is locked and that you must pay a ransom in Bitcoin.
  • Your phone becomes slower.

How to check your phone for viruses:

Make sure Google Play Protect is enabled, go to Settings > Security on your phone, tap Google Play Protect. When it was launched, the service scanned only apps installed from the Play Store. Now it scans every app on your device.

Install a trusted antivirus app. Download an antivirus from a reputable website or Google Play. Some antivirus companies provide free versions of antivirus software, you can download one if you need only basic protection. But if you have lots of sensitive info on your phone, we suggest you invest in a premium version of an Android antivirus app.

According to Google, Bitdefender Mobile Security, McAfee Mobile Security, Avast Mobile Security, Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus are good options for malware protection. Their features include malware and virus scanning, identity protection, safe web browsing, blocking unwanted calls and texts, anti-theft feature, etc. Download one of them and scan your phone regularly for android malware.

How to remove viruses from your phone:

  1. Install a trusted antivirus app on your android phone
  2. Run your antivirus scan by simply tapping “Scan” button.
  3. Wait until the app completes scanning.
  4. If it finds viruses, tap “Resolve”.

You can also remove viruses manually, and here is how you can do it:

  1. Go into safe mode, it stops running all third-party apps.
  2. Find the malicious app Settings > Manage Apps / Apps & Notifications > Installed Apps and look for suspicious ones, that shouldn’t be running on your phone or you don’t remember downloading them.
  3. If you find them, tap the Uninstall button to delete. If the Uninstall button doesn’t work, then try the following setp.
  4. Go to Settings > Security > Device Administrators. See if the suspicious app is listed there. If it does, click Deactivate to remove its access privileges. Then go back to the app in Installed Apps. The Uninstall button should be tappable now.

Relevant article: Best Ways to Sanitize Your Tech: Phones, Laptops, Tablets, & Computers.

Android virus protection tips:

  • Always read app permissions.

    Make sure that an app you are installing, requests access to the information it needs only.

  • Don’t click on suspicious links.

    Whether you receive them via SMS, email, or see any in social media posts, or on websites. As with text messages, downloading an infected attachment from an email or clicking a strange link to a malicious website will damage your phone. Clicking links on web pages or on malicious advertisements can install malware to your phone. Delete suspicious emails or SMS right away.

  • Don’t connect to unsecured Wi-Fi or use VPN if you do.

    A virtual private network (VPN) is used for Wi-Fi security, it minimizes the dangers of spreading viruses on your device, and lets you access and share information securely on public Wi-Fi networks.

  • Download and install a good antivirus

    An example would be McAfee Mobile Security, Norton Mobile Security or Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus on your phone. Check the course you’re downloading from. Remember that hackers can create virus-ridden malware apps and fake pages or links via social media channels to malware pretending to be legitimate antivirus apps.

  • Install apps from reliable sources only.

    Because unofficial app stores or unfamiliar websites are more likely to be sources of malware-infected apps.

  • Set a password for app installation and purchase.

    This can help prevent your Android device from installing malicious apps without your control, also if your phone gets in the wrong hands, there won’t be made any an unwanted purchase, whether it’s from a kid, a friend that’s borrowing your phone, without your permission.

  • Set a password on your phone to lock your screen.

    This actually is a spyware protection and a good way to defend against intrusions. It’s also the best way to prevent anyone else from accessing your personal information.

  • Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when you don’t need them.

    Because these connections can be used to attack you.

  • Update your operating system with the latest version.

    Malware can easily get into your phone if you are running an outdated OS. It also keeps your phone running in the best state. You should install app updates as they are released to protect your mobile device from malware.


Viruses and malware on mobile devices are only going to increase, this is the reason you should consider protecting your phone which stores so much personal data. If you follow our Android virus protection tips above, your device will be safer.