The number of Android apps infected with malware in Google’s Play store nearly quadrupled between 2012 and 2014. Make no mistake about it, there is such a thing as Android malware, cyber criminals create malware-spreading apps in devious attempts to steal personal details and advertisers use it as a marketing channel by bundling pushy ads with apps. In the first case, the users’ mobile security is clearly compromised. In the second one, the ad-app bundle is seldom mentioned, so users who download it unknowingly face a mobile privacy threat.
Can my Android phone get a “virus”?
So what about malware? Should we be worried? The key thing to remember about malware on Android is that you have to actually install the malicious app. Malware writers will use increasingly clever techniques to try and trick you into doing just that.
As malware writers try to earn money for their bad deeds, they continually look for new ways to get their malicious software installed on your devices. The best recommendation is still to think twice before installing untrusted software or clicking on strange-looking links.
Apps designed to personalize people’s Android-based phones are most susceptible to be compromised, as well as entertainment and gaming apps. Some of the most malicious apps in the Google Play store downloaded since 2012 were Wallpaper Dragon Ball, a wallpaper app, and the games Finger Hockey and Subway Surfers Free Tips.
Both Wallpaper Dragon Ball and Finger Hockey, have malware that steals confidential information such as device IDs from infected devices. Subway Surfers Free Tips, meanwhile, uses a Trojan called Air Push to bypass a device’s security settings and subscribe infected phones to premium services
When downloading apps it’s imperative that you only do so from a legitimate app store; that means from companies like Google Playstore, Amazon, Samsung, or another major manufacturer or carrier.
These marketplaces are monitored and scanned for potentially dangerous or fraudulent programs. On occasion, however, malicious apps sometimes slip through the cracks, often disguised as legitimate ones. A fake BBM app recently appeared in the Google Play store and managed to secure more than 100,000 downloads before being removed. The app itself was nothing more than a spamming service.
Pirated or cracked apps are another way that cybercriminals use to infected Android phone with malware. They get legitimate Android application package (APK) file and binding it with a malicious program is a relatively simple process to infect the Android phones. Most pirated or cracked apps usually contain some form of malware so we advise you not to install such apps.
What can an Android “virus” do?
The vast majority of malware on Android is focused on stealing your information, which is obviously a major concern. Perhaps the worst case scenario at the moment is malware that sends SMS messages to premium rate numbers.
Unfortunately, as we mentioned before, malware writers are employing ever more sophisticated techniques to fool you. There are apps that clone legitimate apps to fool you into downloading them and apps that are malware free when you first install them, but download malware through the update system.
As a way to make revenue, advertising companies are getting more and more aggressive by including functionality in their apps to display ads in the notification bar, adding bookmarks, or creating search engine shortcuts to the home screen. These advertising apps can also send off personal data pertaining to your device or account and will often require more permissions to access functionality of your device than the free app you downloaded requires.
The most common Android malicious apps will do at least one of the following:
- Collect and send GPS coordinates, contact lists, e-mail addresses etc. to third parties
- Send SMSs to premium-rate numbers
- Subscribe infected phones to premium services
- Record phone conversations and send them to attackers
- Take control over the infected phone
- Download other malware onto infected phones
- “Push notifications ads” delivering alerts to a phone’s notification bar – when the user swipes to pull down the notification bar from the top of the screen, an ad shows up under Notifications.
- “Icon ads” inserted onto a phone’s start screen – when the user touches the icon, it usually launches a search engine or a web service.
How to remove viruses from Android phone (Removal Guide)
This page is a comprehensive guide, which will remove any malicious app from your Android phone. Please perform all the steps in the correct order. If you have any questions or doubt at any point, STOPand ask for our assistance.
- STEP 1: Uninstall the malicious app from your Android phone
- STEP 2: Scan and protect your Android phone from viruses with Avast Free Mobile Security
If your Android smart phone is locked, and you are seeing an “ATTENTION! Your phone has been blocked up for safety reasons” notification from a law enforcement agency (FBI, Australian Federal Police, Metropolitan Police, U.S. Department of Justice) asking you to pay a fine via GreenDot MoneyPak, Ukash or Paysafecard code, then you will need to follow our Remove Police or FBI virus from Android phone (Removal Guide).
STEP 1: Uninstall the malicious app from your Android phone
Android phone will get infected with viruses from a malicious app that is installed on the smartphones. In this first step, we will try to identify and uninstall any malicious app that might be installed on your Android phone.
- To uninstall the malicious app from your Android device, go to the Settings menu, then click onApps or Application manager (this may differ depending on your device).
- This will bring up a list of installed apps, including the malicious app. In our case the malicious app is “BaDoink” however this will most likely be different in your case. If you cannot find the malicious app, we advise you to uninstall all the recently installed apps.
- Touch the app you’d like to uninstall.This won’t start the app, but will open up the program’s App Info screen, then click on “Uninstall” button:
- A confirmation dialog should be displayed for the malicious app, click on “OK” to remove the malicious app from your Android phone.
- Reboot your Android phone
STEP 2: Scan and protect your Android phone from viruses with Avast Free Mobile Security
As you have seen cyber criminals have started targeting Android users for malware, and we do expect that in the months to come the number of infections will grow. In this final step, we will scan your Android phone for malware with Avast Free Mobile Security, and provide a real-time protection from future malware attacks.
- You can download Avast Free Mobile Security from the below link:
AVAST FREE MOBILE SECURITY DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will open a new web page from where you can download Avast Free Mobile Security)
- Click on the “Install” button, and when the app permissions will be displayed click on “Accept” install Avast Free Mobile Security on your Android phone.
- Avast Free Mobile Security will be installed on your phone, this will only take a few seconds.
- Avast Free Mobile Security will automatically update its virus definition database, and then will start to scan your Android phone for malware and malicious apps.
- The scan may take a few minutes depending on how many apps you have installed, and if any malicious app are detected, Avast Free Mobile Security will automatically remove them from your Android phone.
- Your Android phone should now be free of viruses, and most importantly Avast Free Mobile Security will protect your Android phone from future infections.
Below you can read a few quick tips to help you keep your Android smartphone free of malware.
- Always research the publisher of the app. What other apps does it offer? Do any of them look a bit shady? If so, you should probably stay away.
- Read online reviews. Android Market reviews may not always be truthful. Check around to see what reputable Websites are saying about the app before you hit the download button.
- Always check app permissions. Whenever you download or update an app, you get a list of permissions for it. An alarm clock app, for instance, probably shouldn’t need to look through your contacts. The general rule of thumb: If an app is asking for more than what it needs to do its job, you should skip it.
- Avoid directly installing Android Package files(APKs). When Angry Birds first came to Android, you could get it only through a third-party. Th
is is called “sideloading,” or installing apps using an .APK file. Although Angry Birds wasn’t malware, in general it is highly advisable not to download and install .APK files that you randomly come across. Most of the time you won’t know what the file contains until you install it–and by then it’s too late.
- Install an antivirus on your phone (we have installed Avast Free Mobile Security). Although many people still think that antivirus scanners on phones are useless, maybe outbreaks such as this one will change minds.