Google’s Android operating system is the most used mobile OS in the world, with more than 2.5 billion users worldwide. Besides being affordable, Android is much more customizable than Apple’s iOS, thanks to its open-source nature.
However, this exposes Android devices to several security risks. For one, Google’s Play Store; the primary source of Android mobile device apps — has zero quality control.
For example, malicious apps that steal data and install spyware have begun appearing on the Play Store. In Malaysia, there have been instances of Android apps capable of reading text messages which let scammers steal users’ TAC numbers and bypass their banking app’s 2FA security.
Even more frightening is the fact that hackers can remotely control these new “smart” trojan apps, thus allowing them to actually choose which victims to target. These apps, like the best Android crypto wallets, will pass initial virus scans because hackers have yet to install malicious software.
However, if the infected device displays any desired traits such as country of origin or presence of banking apps, hackers will install their programs via updates. From here, the app will begin stealing sensitive information, i.e., credentials, passwords, and other personal information.
The lack of security and quality control checks on the Play Store is to blame for this state of affairs. While iOS users are not immune to this, most victims tend to be Android users.
4 Ways to Remove Malware on Your Android Device
So, is there any way for Android users to stay safe and protect themselves? Fortunately, the answer is yes, so join us as we show you how you can get rid of Android malware on your device.
1. Turn on Google Play Protect
Turning on Google Play Protect is the easiest way to start cleaning your phone up. Besides scanning apps, before you download them, this feature also checks your device for any potentially harmful apps.
It also tracks apps on your device and warns you if they are hiding or misrepresenting any information. In short, you can think of this function as a type of gatekeeper for your device.
I recommend that you periodically activate this feature to ensure your phone stays clean.
2. Install antivirus apps
Antivirus apps work like Google Play Protected, but they are sometimes more effective. These programs help reduce the risk of accidentally installing malware on your device.
At the same time, they can also be used to protect your privacy when you’re surfing the internet, which is always great to have.
3. Get rid of any suspicious apps
If your younger siblings or kids have access to your phone, they may sometimes install apps from unwanted sources. So, the first thing you want to do is to uninstall any unfamiliar apps after your siblings have used it.
Secondly, to be safe, you should consider performing your banking on a separate device. If you can’t do that, educate your kids/siblings on good phone safety.
4. Perform a factory reset
As mentioned above, Google’s Play Store tends to have some questionable quality control. If you’ve been receiving overly personal ads or noticed an increase in data usage, it’s time to perform a factory reset.
Also known as a hard reset, factory resets remove everything installed on your phone. This wipes the slate clean and removes all viruses and malware.
Note: if your device is rooted, a factory reset may not remove everything, so you should uninstall all downloaded APKs and remove root access to all apps. Finally, disable unwanted permissions, which should clear everything else up.
As hackers become increasingly sophisticated, it is more important than ever to generate awareness of the risks of mobile banking.
By following the tips mentioned above, you can keep your banking apps safe and out of the hands of cybercriminals.