Android smartphones and tablets can be infected with malicious apps. So-called malware infects devices even though an antivirus app was installed. Adware shows advertisements. Ransomware prevents the user from using his smartphone and takes the device hostage. Spyware reads your passwords or listens to you. Dialers send expensive SMS and make calls. We show you how to get rid of the pest.
1. Restarts in Safe / Safe mode
Android smartphones have a safe or secure mode . This only loads apps when the device is started that were already installed at the time of delivery. The majority of malware apps do not start and cannot bother you in this mode. With every smartphone you get to the safe mode in a different way. Check out our additional article to find the instructions for your device.
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In safe mode, you may immediately see the difference. If the ads have now disappeared, that’s a good sign. This means that the annoying app can be removed. Next we want to find out which app that is.
2. Identify the suspicious app
Do you have an app that pushes itself to the fore on the homescreen or when using others? Since Android 6 Marshmallow you can find out exactly which app is responsible for annoying overlays. Because the permission “Show via other apps” has been integrated into the new menu “Special app access”. To do this, go to Apps & Notifications or Applications in the settings , scroll down there, tap on Advanced and Special app access . Here you will find the entry Show above other apps.
The apps listed there may contain those that annoy you with permanent advertising banners. You can either revoke the corresponding app or uninstall it immediately. For the latter, simply tap on the app icon and on the next screen on Uninstall .
Apps with administrator rights
Some Android malware apps tricked you during the installation and the rights to the device administrator have been obtained. Because if the app had masqueraded as an anti-theft or anti-malware app, you might initially find this permission justified. Such apps cannot be easily uninstalled. If the app turns out to be malware, this authorization becomes an obstacle.
To revoke the administrator’s rights from the malware app, you first open the settings, go to security and location and tap on apps for device management . Remove the tick from the suspicious app. You should then be able to uninstall the application without any problems.
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3. Uninstall the suspicious app
To uninstall the app, go to Apps & Notifications or Application Manager in the settings and then to Show all apps . Look here for the app that you think is the cause and uninstall it from your smartphone or tablet.
4. Test success in normal mode
You can only tell whether you really deleted the malware app from your Android smartphone in normal mode. Simply switch your smartphone off and on again so that it starts in normal mode. Samsung has solved this a little more elegantly than Google and offers a permanent notification. If you tap it, your Galaxy smartphone will start up in normal mode again.
5. Bad remnants of malware
Unfortunately, removing the malware app only fixes symptoms. Thomas Uhlemann from the antivirus manufacturer Eset has explained further dangers to us. The expert warns that “the app was already able to transfer personal data from the smartphone to third-party servers.” This includes log-in data and similar confidential information. “It is also possible that a provider SMS has already been received that has changed the network access.” This would mean that the author redirects your complete cell phone access via his infrastructure and can watch you.
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Even without a malware app, it would still be possible for you to continue to see advertisements. To fix this problem, you would have to look at the APN of your device. To do this, go to Settings and follow the path: Network & Internet> Mobile network> Advanced> Access points (APNs ). Compare the access points set up with those that your provider specifies on his website. If the data do not match, request a new setup SMS or reset your smartphone.
However, if an app has gained root rights, it can “make changes deep into the system,” explains Uhlemann. “Since reputable protection apps should neither require nor set up root, they are subject to the official Android restrictions here and therefore cannot do much against such rootkit / MBR-like infections.”
In such a case, even a factory reset would be ineffective. If the app has successfully established itself as a system app, it remains anchored in the system even during the factory reset. Only the complete wipe of the system and the installation of new, clean firmware will help here. However, the resources required for this are not freely available or not available for devices from all manufacturers.
- How to perform a hard reset and soft reset on Android smartphones
Prevent Android malware
Afterwards we have to clarify how we can avoid malware at all. After all, you somehow installed it yourself. A reliable source of malware is the installation of apps outside the Play Store, preferably from any APK download portals. Our separate article is exciting:
- Self-testing Android malware
Supposed antivirus apps are usually powerless after installing the malware, because persistent malware is untouchable for them (see above). Only current apps offer reliable protection – especially browsers , Android updates and Google Play services. This is how security holes at the system level are sealed and so we are somewhat immune to scareware and other annoying attacks.
Hundreds of forgeries of popular and good apps abound even in the Play Store. They have too much advertising or collect unnecessarily a lot of data about you. Our help will show you how to find good apps in the Play Store and how to distinguish them from unnecessary ones.