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How to figure out whether there are any viruses on your phone


Despite the fact that mobile phones replaced computers on device market a long time ago, the problems of their “big brother”, unfortunately, didn't go anywhere. The reason for concern is that virus creators closely inspect Android smartphones and tablets and the amount of existing malware for a mobile platform is disturbing as it should be.

In this article we'll show you how to detect a virus on Android using best methods and apps.

Table of Contents

The most dangerous mobile viruses

There are a lot of types of malware, which only differ in risk level:  

  • Viruses, trojans and worms after having settled on your mobile device start to delete files, encrypt data and transfer files to Internet without your consent;
  • Spyware software including keyloggers record user's activity and pass this information to cyber criminals. The primary danger is confidential data leakage (passwords, account numbers, photos and videos from user's camera)
  • Popup advertisement is those annoying banners that you can't turn off. This kind of viruses doesn't pose a big threat, but they significantly worsen your experience while using the device as they slow down its operation.

That said, the main aim of any malware is to attack the target device, by finding its vulnerable spot, i.e. a hole in the system. Viruses not only damage your files, but they also steal your confidential information. The most harmful viruses block access to the system and extort money for the password to unlock it.  

"My phone has a virus". Android virus symptoms

If your phone operates in a strange way, it's a solid reason for concern. Sequentially check whether any signs of a virus from the following checklist are similar to what is happening on your device.

Obtrusive advertising pops up (adware)

If you haven't installed any paid apps, nevertheless banners and popup windows started to appear on their own, it may indicate that your phone has virus.

Some adware viruses (like Adware.MobiDash) display windows with links on the screen. By clicking on the URL, you open an insecure website, from where an apk file is downloaded and then your mobile device becomes infected.

Significant increasing of Internet traffic volume

A lot of mobile viruses actively use Internet for data transfer, which leads to an increase in traffic consumption. Therefore, we advise you to check the statistics via Android settings as soon as possible:

Step 1. Go to SettingsConnections.

Step 2. Go to Data usageUsage.

Step 3. If you notice a significant difference compared to your usual Internet activity, this is an indicator of malware being extremely active on your infected device.

In addition to damage of the operating system and user data, it all can lead to an increase in financial costs, especially if your operator tariffs are quite pricey.  

Unauthorized access to Internet

In addition to traffic consumption, viruses can connect to WiFi and mobile networks without any permission and change your phone settings as they wish. While you will be telling yourself off for having forgotten to disable mobile data transfer in roaming mode once again, the virus will continue harming your phone at your own expense.

Increasing of monthly fee for mobile calls and SMS

Nowadays viruses know how to call and send SMS on behalf of the user. Ask your mobile operator for the printout of calls. Check whether all of the numbers are familiar to you. Also check the text of outgoing text messages / SMS.

Battery runs down too quickly

Viruses operate like any other program so they actively consume the capacity of your device battery.

If your phone battery isn't worn out, but battery consumption has increased, this is another sign of a virus infection.

Step 1. Check the apps that drain your battery: Go to SettingsDevice care

Step 2. Oper Battery section.

Step 3. There you can find data on every app and process.  

At the same time, you can't always track data on viruses activity via the battery statistics: some particularly cunning virus types are capable of covering their tracks and disguising themselves.

Slow operation and device bugs

As we've already mentioned, worms, viruses and keyloggers don't hesitate to waste your phone resources. Virus writers don't bother to optimize their programs. Therefore, a small virus can slow down mobile OS and individual apps performance by several times.

Increased amount of glitches can be another sign of a virus infection: apps close on their own, can't be opened from the first time or won't launch at all.

Existence of unwanted apps

Viruses can disguise and embed in other apps. If you've downloaded software not from the official Google Play store, there is a risk of installing malware in addition to software, which sometimes is impossible to remove without performing a hard reset.

How to protect your device from viruses: simple rules

You must follow the basic security rules in order to prevent virus infection of your phone. It's easy to do, you just have to follow the rules listed below.   

1. It's nice to have a sufficient antivirus or firewall. Regularly check your mobile phone for viruses. It isn't necessary for your apps to work constantly and overload the resources of your device, as you can perform a comprehensive antivirus scanning several times a month and in addition to it use online antiviruses.

Here is the list of the best mobile antiviruses for 2021

2. When downloading apps from third-party resources do not trust ratings and reviews as they can be written by bots. The main verified source is Google Play, so please download apps only from there. Nevertheless, you can catch a virus even from Google Play, although the risks are low.

3. Your Android is protected from the installation of third-party (unchecked) apps from the very beginning. So if you have disabled this feature, turn it back on:

Go to Settings - Biometrics and security.

Tap on Install unknown apps section.

4. Don't click on questionable advertising on Internet. Some links may lead to malware apps. A dangerous threat to your phone might be hiding under a harmless program.

5. Don't click on links from emails and messages from strangers offering you any goods. Links can lead to phishing websites where under one content something else hides, in particular viruses.

6. Always install the latest security updates on your phone (your phone does this automatically by default). This applies both to Android OS and installed apps. It's easy to update all at once via Google Play.

What to do if there are already viruses on your phone

  1. Step 1. Install an antivirus and scan all memory areas for malware.
  2. Step 2. After detecting a virus, the first thing you should do is to turn on "airplane mode" so malicious apps won't be able to transfer data via Internet.
  3. Step 3. Check if there are any unfamiliar or unnecessary apps among the recently installed ones. Delete everything you don't need.
  4. Step 4. Perform a factory reset but make a backup of the files you need first. Note that it's the fastest and safest way to get rid of viruses in the most cases.  

Bottom line

Don't be scared of virus threats. There is no benefit from paranoia. The main thing is to monitor the security of your mobile device. The first step is to check whether there are any virus symptoms on Android right now.

We hope you've taken basic virus protection measures and your device is no longer in danger. If nothing worked out and viruses still somehow got on your mobile device, please contact us. Describe the symptoms in detail and we'll try to tell you what you can do in order to get rid of malware.

Ilia is a professional writer. He has expert knowledge in GPS and cartography with 15 years of experience. Additionally, Ilia has extensive experience in data recovery on PC and mobile. He started his career as a journalist by reviewing PC and mobile apps. His current responsibilities are to keep track of users' questions on MGT and answer them.