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How To Remove A Virus From An Android Phone Or Tablet


Why did your mobile phone suddenly start behaving differently, or even “live” with its “life”? Perhaps because a malicious program has settled in it.

Today the number of viruses and Trojans for Android is growing exponentially. Why? Yes, because the cunning guys-virus writers know that smartphones and tablets are increasingly used by our fellow citizens as electronic wallets, and they are doing everything to move funds from the accounts of the owners into their pockets. Let’s talk about how to understand that a mobile device has caught an infection, how to remove a virus from Android and protect yourself from re-infections.

Symptoms of a virus infection an Android device

  • The gadget turns on for longer than usual, slows down or suddenly reboots.
  • The history of SMS and phone calls contains outgoing messages and calls that you did not make.
  • Money is debited from your phone account by itself.
  • Ads that are not associated with any application or site are displayed on your desktop or browser.
  • Programs are installed by themselves, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or a camera are turned on.
  • Access to e-wallets, mobile banking has disappeared or, for unknown reasons, the amount on the accounts has decreased.
  • Someone has taken over your account on social networks or messengers (if used on a mobile device).
  • The gadget is locked, and a message is displayed on the screen that you have violated something and must pay a fine or simply transfer money to someone to unlock it.
  • Applications suddenly stopped starting, access to folders and files was lost, some device functions were blocked (for example, buttons were not pressed).
  • When launching programs, messages pop up like “an error has occurred in the application.””
  • Unknown icons appeared in the application list, and unknown processes in the task manager.
  • The antivirus program informs you about the detection of malicious objects.
  • The antivirus program uninstalled itself from the device or does not start.
  • The battery of your phone or tablet is starting to drain faster than ever.
  • Not all of these symptoms are 100% indicative of a virus, but each is a reason to immediately scan the device for infection.

The easiest way to remove a mobile virus

If the gadget is still working, the easiest way is to remove the virus using the antivirus installed on Android. Run a full scan of the phone’s flash memory, if a malicious object is detected, select the “Delete” option, saving the neutralized copy in quarantine (in case the antivirus identifies itself and takes something safe for a virus).

READ MORE: Remote working: How to keep your devices safe from cyber attacks

Unfortunately, this method helps in about 30-40% of cases, since most malicious objects actively resist being removed. But the rule exists on them. Next, we’ll look at options for action when:

  • The antivirus does not start, does not detect or remove the source of the problem;
  • The malware is restored after deletion;
  • The device (or its individual functions) are locked.

Remove malware in safe mode

If you can’t clean your phone or tablet normally, try Safely. The bulk of malicious programs (not only mobile ones) show no activity in safe mode and do not interfere with their destruction.

To boot the device in safe mode, press the on / off button, place your finger on “Power off” and hold it until the message “Entering safe mode” appears. Then click OK.

If you have an old version of Android – 4.0 or lower, turn off the gadget in the usual way and turn it on again. When the Android logo appears on the screen, press the volume up and down keys at the same time. Hold them until the device boots up completely.

While in safe mode, scan your device with antivirus. If there is no antivirus or it does not start for some reason, install (or reinstall) it from Google Play.

READ MORE: What You Need To Know About “Reset Your PC” in Windows 8 and 10

In this way, advertising viruses such as Android.Gmobi 1 and Android.Gmobi.3 (according to Dr. Web classification), which download various programs to the phone (in order to increase the rating), and also display banners and ads on the desktop, are successfully removed.

If you have superuser (root) rights and you know exactly what exactly caused the problem, start a file manager (for example, Root explorer), follow the path where this file is located and delete it. Most often, mobile viruses and Trojans place their bodies (executable files with the .apk extension) in the system / app directory.

To return to normal mode, simply reboot the device.

Removing mobile viruses from a computer

Removing viruses on the phone through a computer helps out when the mobile antivirus cannot cope with its task even in safe mode or the device’s functions are partially blocked.

Removing a virus from a tablet and phone using a computer is also possible in two ways:

  • using antivirus installed on the PC;
  • manually through a file manager for Android gadgets, for example, Android Commander.

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We use antivirus on the computer

To check the files of the mobile device with the antivirus installed on the computer, connect the phone or tablet to the PC with a USB cable, choosing the “Like USB storage” method.

After that, 2 additional “disks” will appear in the “Computer” folder on the PC – the internal memory of the phone and the SD card. To start scanning, open the context menu of each disk and click “Check for viruses”.

Removing malware via Android Commander

Android Commander is a program for exchanging files between an Android mobile gadget and a PC. Running on a computer, it provides the owner with access to the memory of the tablet or phone, allows you to copy, move and delete any data.

Removing malware via Android Commander
Removing malware via Android Commander

For full access to all the contents of an android gadget, you must first get root-rights and enable USB debugging. The latter is activated through the service application “Options” – “System” – “Developer options”.

Next, connect the gadget to your PC as a USB drive and run Android Commander with administrator rights. In it, unlike Windows Explorer, protected system files and directories of the Android OS are displayed – just like, for example, in Root Explorer, a file manager for root users.

The right half of the Android Commander window shows the directories of the mobile device. Find the executable file of the application (with the .apk extension) in them, which is causing the problem, and delete it. Alternatively, copy suspicious folders from your phone to your computer and scan each of them with an antivirus.

What to do if the virus is not removed

If the above operations did not lead to anything, the malicious program still makes itself felt, and if the operating system after cleaning has ceased to function normally, you will have to resort to one of the radical measures:

  • reset with restoration of factory settings via the system menu;
  • hard reset via the Recovery menu;
  • flashing the device.

Any of these methods will bring the device to the state as after purchase – no user programs, personal settings, files and other information (data about SMS, calls, etc.) will remain on it. Your Google account will also be deleted. Therefore, if possible, transfer the phone book to the SIM card and copy paid applications and other valuable items to external media. It is advisable to do it manually – without using special programs, so as not to accidentally copy the virus. Then proceed to the “treatment”.

Restoring factory settings through the system menu

This option is the easiest. It can be used when the functions of the operating system and the device itself are not locked.

Go to the “Settings” application, open the “Personal” – “Backup” section and select “Factory data reset”.

Hard reset via the Recovery menu

A “hard” reset will help to cope with malware if it cannot be removed by any of the above methods or if it has blocked the login. To our delight, access to the Recovery menu is still available.

Logging into Recovery on different phones and tablets is different. On some, for this you need to hold down the “Volume +” key when turning on, on others – “Volume-“, on the third – press a special recessed button, etc. The exact information is contained in the instructions for the device.

In the Recovery menu, select the option “wipe data / factory reset” or simply “factory reset”.

Flashing is essentially a reinstallation of the Android OS, the same last resort as reinstalling Windows on a computer. It is used in exceptional cases, for example, when a certain Chinese virus is embedded directly into the firmware and lives on the device from the moment of its “birth”. One such malware is the android spy 128 origin spyware.

To flash a phone or tablet, you will need root rights, a distribution kit (the firmware itself), an installation program, a computer with a USB cable or an SD card. Remember that for each gadget model its own, individual firmware versions are released. Installation instructions are usually included with them.

How to avoid virus infection on Android devices

  • Install mobile applications only from trusted sources, abandon hacked programs.
  • Update the device as system updates are released – in them, the developers fix vulnerabilities that are used by viruses and trojans.
  • Install a mobile antivirus and keep it always on.
  • If the gadget serves as your wallet, do not allow other people to access the Internet from it or open unverified files on it.


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