The 7 Types of Computer Viruses to Watch Out For and What They Do

virus-types-computer

Just like human viruses, computer viruses come in many forms and can affect your machine in different ways. Obviously, your computer isn’t going to spend a week in bed and need a course of antibiotics, but a severe infection can wreak havoc on your system. They can delete your files, steal your data, and easily spread to other devices on your network. Here are seven types of computer virus you should watch out for. 1. Boot Sector Virus From a user perspective, boot sector viruses are some of the most dangerous. Because they infect the master boot record, they are…

Read the full article: The 7 Types of Computer Viruses to Watch Out For and What They Do

virus-types-computer

Just like human viruses, computer viruses come in many forms and can affect your machine in different ways.

Obviously, your computer isn’t going to spend a week in bed and need a course of antibiotics, but a severe infection can wreak havoc on your system. They can delete your files, steal your data, and easily spread to other devices on your network.

Here are seven types of computer virus you should watch out for.

1. Boot Sector Virus

From a user perspective, boot sector viruses are some of the most dangerous. Because they infect the master boot record, they are notoriously difficult to remove, often requiring a full system format. This is especially true if the virus has encrypted the boot sector or excessively damaged the code.

They typically spread via removable media. They reached a peak in the 1990s when floppy disks were the norm, but you can still find them on USB drives and in email attachments. Luckily, improvements in BIOS architecture have reduced their prevalence in the last few years.

2. Direct Action Virus

A direct action virus is one of the two main types of file infector viruses (the other being a resident virus). The virus is considered “non-resident”; it doesn’t install itself or remain hidden in your computer’s memory.

It works by attaching itself to a particular type of file (typically EXE or COM files). When someone executes the file, it springs into life, looking for other similar files in the directory for it to spread to.

On a positive note, the virus does not typically delete files nor hinder your system’s performance. Aside from some files becoming inaccessible, it has a minimal impact on a user and can be easily removed with an anti-virus program.

3. Resident Virus

Resident viruses are the other primary type of file infectors. Unlike direct action viruses, they install themselves on a computer. It allows them to work even when the original source of the infection has been eradicated. As such, experts consider them to be more dangerous than their direct action cousin.

Depending on the programming of the virus, they can be tricky to spot and even trickier to remove. You can split resident viruses into two areas; fast infectors and slow infectors. Fast infectors cause as much damage as quickly as possible and are thus easier to spot; slow infectors are harder to recognize because their symptoms develop slowly.

In a worst-case scenario, they can even attach themselves to your anti-virus software, infecting every file the software scans. You often need a unique tool—such as an operating system patch—for their total removal. An anti-malware app will not be enough to protect you.

4. Multipartite Virus

While some viruses are happy to spread via one method or deliver a single payload, multipartite viruses want it all. A virus of this type may spread in multiple ways, and it may take different actions on an infected computer depending on variables, such as the operating system installed or the existence of certain files.

They can simultaneously infect both the boot sector and executable files, allowing them to act quickly and spread rapidly.

The two-pronged attack makes them tough to remove. Even if you clean a machine’s program files, if the virus remains in the boot sector, it will immediately reproduce once you turn on the computer again.

5. Polymorphic Virus

According to Symantec, polymorphic viruses are one of the most difficult to detect/remove for an anti-virus program. It claims anti-virus firms need to “spend days or months creating the detection routines needed to catch a single polymorphic”.

But why are they so hard to protect against? The clue is in the name. Anti-virus software can only blacklist one variant of a virus—but a polymorphic virus changes its signature (binary pattern) every time it replicates. To an anti-virus program, it looks like an entirely different piece of software, and can, therefore, elude the blacklist.

6. Overwrite Virus

To an end-user, an overwrite virus is one of the most frustrating, even if it’s not particularly dangerous for your system as a whole.

That’s because it will delete the contents of any file which it infects; the only way to remove the virus is to delete the file, and consequently, lose its contents. It can infect both standalone files and entire pieces of software.

Overwrite viruses typically have low visibility and are spread via email, making them hard to identify for an average PC user. They enjoyed a heyday in the early 2000s with Windows 2000 and Windows NT, but you can still find them in the wild.

7. Spacefiller Virus

Also known as “Cavity Viruses”, spacefiller viruses are more intelligent than most of their counterparts. A typical modus operandi for a virus is to simply attach itself to a file, but spacefillers try to get into the empty space which can sometimes be found within the file itself.

This method allows it to infect a program without damaging the code or increasing its size, thus enabling it to bypass the need for the stealthy anti-detection techniques other viruses rely on.

Luckily, this type of virus is relatively rare, though the growth of Windows Portable Executable files is giving them a new lease of life.

Malware Prevention Is Better Than Malware Removal

As always, taking sensible steps to protect yourself is preferable to dealing with the potentially crippling fallout if you’re unlucky enough to get infected.

For starters, you need to use a highly-regarded antivirus suite. Also, don’t open emails from unrecognized sources, don’t trust free USB sticks from conferences and expos, don’t let strangers use your system, and don’t install software from random websites!

Read the full article: The 7 Types of Computer Viruses to Watch Out For and What They Do

The 8 Best Security Software for Windows 10 Malware Protection

windows-10-security

Windows Defender has improved over the years. For the majority of Windows 10 users, it offers more-than-adequate protection. However, there are lots of options out there. How can you decide which is the best antivirus for Windows 10? Here are our eight picks. The Best Free Antivirus for Windows 10 If you want to stick to free options, consider one of the programs below. Before installing any of them make sure you pay particular attention to avoid installing bundled toolbars—they are now commonplace as the developers look to monetize their products. 1. Windows Defender Windows Defender isn’t as bad as…

Read the full article: The 8 Best Security Software for Windows 10 Malware Protection

Windows Defender has improved over the years. For the majority of Windows 10 users, it offers more-than-adequate protection.

However, there are lots of options out there. How can you decide which is the best antivirus for Windows 10? Here are our eight picks.

The Best Free Antivirus for Windows 10

If you want to stick to free options, consider one of the programs below. Before installing any of them make sure you pay particular attention to avoid installing bundled toolbars—they are now commonplace as the developers look to monetize their products.

1. Windows Defender

windows defender homescreen

Windows Defender isn’t as bad as it used to be, having been baked into the operating system since the Windows 8 release in 2012. It grew out of Microsoft Security Essentials but is now a standalone real-time antivirus program.

Yet the app still suffers from its old reputation. Back in 2015, it was given just 0.5/6 in a study on AV-TEST. However, it’s now one of the site’s recommended products. In June 2018, it scored 6/6 for protection, 6/6 for usability, and 5.5/6 for Performance.

Windows Defender also has some non-security benefits:

  • It works straight out of the box; there is no need for you to enable anything, set anything up, or register for anything. For people who are less computer literate, this is a huge positive.
  • There are no nag screens. Many free antivirus suites now pester you once a day (if not more) to upgrade, or add features. Some of them are on the verge of becoming malware in their own right. With Windows Defender you won’t even know it’s running unless it finds a problem.
  • It’s not going to monitor your browsing history. Some of the free options have now started harvesting your data in an attempt to make a profit. For example, in 2014 Avast was found to be tracking what sites you are visiting and using that data to insert their own adverts into pages.

In Windows 10 it’s not easy to turn off Windows Defender manually—it requires a registry hack or a Group Policy tweak. This is intentional and comes back to Microsoft’s policy of attempting to make sure you always have some basic cover.

If you install a third-party antivirus program, Windows Defender will be disabled automatically.

2. AVG

AVG is one of the best free antivirus apps for Windows 10.

That wasn’t always the case. Back in 2014 and 2015, the app struggled in AV-TEST’s performance tests. It frequently struggled to score more than 10/18.

However, in mid-2016 the suite was given an overhaul. Ever since, it has been one of the best performing products. The latest release saw the app earn 5.5 for protection and perfect sixes in the other two categories.

It now holds AV-TEST’s top product award, so you can be sure you’re in safe hands.

Download: AVG

3. Avast

Avast is arguably AVG’s biggest rival. The basic scan feature is solid, fast, and lightweight. But be warned, the app has introduced a phenomenal number of nag screens and pop-ups in recent releases.

The app offers several “shields” that protect you against specific types of threat. Perhaps the most impressive is the behavior shield. It monitors the other apps on your machine in case they “go rogue.”

Avast also includes a game mode. When activated, Avast won’t eat up system resources nor show popups.

Download: Avast

4. Avira

avira homescreen

Avira makes up the final leg of the free antivirus triumvirate. It’s a halfway house between the other two, more lightweight than AVG, but with better detection rates than Avast. It also has pop-ups, but not as many as Avast.

The free version even includes a VPN. It’ll keep you safe online and provide a way to access geo-blocked content.

Download: Avira

Note: All the paid and free programs listed above have been made compatible with Windows 10, and they will all disable Windows Defender once installed.

Best Paid Antivirus for Windows 10

If you’re happy to spend a little, your options for quality coverage improve immeasurably. You could spend a long time scouring various antivirus testing sites like AV-Comparatives, but in truth, there is very little to choose between the market leaders in terms of performance.

5. Malwarebytes

Malwarebytes can be used alongside your existing antivirus suite or even replace it entirely. The free version will only clean up your computer following an attack, but the paid version offers real-time protection.

If you pay for the premium version, it will detect and eliminate malware that your antivirus missed, as well as removing (and repairing) rootkits, and fixing other things that slipped through your antivirus’ net. It’s also extremely good at removing infections like Search Protect and Trovi.

The premium version also adds ransomware protection, identity and privacy safeguards, and virus protection. It’s easy to make the argument that the app offers the best malware protection on Windows 10.

The premium version costs $39.99 for a one-year subscription.

Download: Malwarebytes

6. Webroot Security

webroot home screen

Our next recommendation is Webroot. The app is extremely lightweight (the program is just 2.1 MB), it uses no more than 3 percent of your computer’s resources, it has no pop-ups, and no add-ons. It’s ideally suited to businesses, heavy gamers, and power users.

The company’s entry-level plan costs $39.99 per year. It will protect you from identity theft and malware. For more features, you will need to upgrade to the Internet Security Plus ($59.99 per year) or Internet Security Complete ($79.99) plans. They include features such as 25GB of online storage and password protection.

Download: Webroot Security

7. Kaspersky

Kaspersky is more of a resource-hog than many of its competitors, but the flipside is that it is typically the number one app on AV-TEST for malware detection and removal.

In the most recent June 2018 results, it was one of just three apps that scored 6/6 in all three categories.

Noteworthy features include a password manager, online shopping and banking protection, and ransomware protection. Unfortunately, Kaspersky has a reputation problem after being maligned by the US Department of Homeland Security.

Kaspersky costs $39.95 to $79.95 depending on which plan you choose.

Download: Kaspersky

8. ESET NOD32

NOD32 has some of the lowest false positive rates, is lightweight, and is consistently near the top of performance charts.

Indeed, many power users swear by the holy-trinity of NOD32 (which focuses on system files), Malwarebytes (which focuses on web-based issues), and CCleaner (a PC optimization tool).

The cheapest plan ($39.99) offers basic protection, for features such as online banking protection, photo and file encryption, and password management, you’ll need to pay $79.99.

Download: ESET NOD32

Security Software on Windows 10 Is Essential

It’s essential that you use some form of security software on Windows 10. Whether you choose the free native offering, a free third-party alternative, or a paid app depends on which features are important to you (and the size of your wallet!).

Of course, an app that protects you from malware is just one of the many essential security and antivirus apps you can choose from.

Read the full article: The 8 Best Security Software for Windows 10 Malware Protection

Apple takes down Trend Micro Mac apps that collected, stored user data

24 hours of users’ browsing data was unknowingly sent to Trend Micro’s servers.

Enlarge (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

Apple removed several anti-malware apps from its Mac App Store after the apps were found to export users' browser histories. All of the apps in question are made by the cyber-security company Trend Micro, which initially denied the allegations but has since issued an apology to its users.

"Reports that Trend Micro is 'stealing user data' and sending them to an unidentified server in China are absolutely false," the initial statement says.

The statement also details what Trend Micro found in its investigation: the company claims its some of its apps, including Dr. Cleaner, Dr. Antivirus, and Dr. Unarchiver, uploaded a "small snapshot" of users' browser histories that covered the 24 hours before installation. The company claims this was done for "security purposes," particularly to see if users had recently come into contact with adware or other threats. The collected user data was uploaded to a US-based server hosted by Amazon Web Services and managed by Trend Micro.

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What Is SIP? macOS System Integrity Protection Explained

macos-sip

macOS changed significantly with the release of 10.11 El Capitan and the introduction of System Integrity Protection, or SIP for short. It’s a security measure that had some pretty big implications for the operating system back in 2015. These days, most of us have adapted to a post-SIP macOS. But you might still wonder what it is, what exactly it does, and why you’re best off leaving it alone. So let’s take a look at SIP, what purpose it serves, and why it came about in the first place. What Is System Integrity Protection? Put simply, System Integrity Protection is…

Read the full article: What Is SIP? macOS System Integrity Protection Explained

macOS changed significantly with the release of 10.11 El Capitan and the introduction of System Integrity Protection, or SIP for short. It’s a security measure that had some pretty big implications for the operating system back in 2015.

These days, most of us have adapted to a post-SIP macOS. But you might still wonder what it is, what exactly it does, and why you’re best off leaving it alone.

So let’s take a look at SIP, what purpose it serves, and why it came about in the first place.

What Is System Integrity Protection?

Put simply, System Integrity Protection is a security measure Apple introduced to protect certain parts of your macOS installation and core processes, and to vet third-party kernel extensions. It actively protects parts of your system from modification, and blocks installation of insecure extensions.

While you have SIP enabled, certain areas are entirely off-limits in the name of (unsurprisingly) protecting the integrity of your system. You can gain certain privileges via Apple’s developer program, allowing signed software to take actions like installing drivers.

macOS Gatekeeper

SIP is invisible, and works entirely in the background. It’s not the same as Gatekeeper, Apple’s other security feature that blocks installation of unsigned third-party software. But it’s certainly part of the security-conscious trend that saw Apple introduce the technology, previously known as File Quarantine.

Why Is System Integrity Protection Necessary?

SIP protects your Mac from unwanted meddling. It’s a security feature that appeared in the face of an increasing macOS malware threat. Gone are the days of Apple’s “I’m a PC” marketing slogans that claim the system is virtually bulletproof.

Mac malware exists; there have been many documented cases from simple JavaScript “ransomware” to pervasive malware that attempts to steal your admin password. SIP and Gatekeeper only go so far in protecting against these threats. Mac dangers are a real issue, particularly when it comes to browser technologies like the Java plug-in and Adobe Flash.

Apple noted that much of the threat to macOS (then OS X) came from the fact that most Apple computers use a single user account with admin privileges. Having admin (root) access to your computer provides autonomy, but prior to SIP, this led to some users unwittingly approving the installation of malware.

In short: your Mac isn’t safe, even from yourself. By limiting what root access can do, Apple effectively builds a barrier between you and the most sensitive parts of your system. The side effect of this approach is that you no longer have complete control, particularly with tweaking appearance and application behavior.

This tightening of Apple’s grip over macOS has led some users to complain that the platform is following too closely in the footsteps of Apple’s mobile platform, iOS. On the upside, iOS is the most secure mobile platform on the market, so the approach has some merit.

Which Parts of macOS Does SIP Protect?

SIP affects directories, processes, and kernel extensions. That means you cannot make changes to the following directories:

  • /System
  • /usr
  • /bin
  • /sbin

Most of these directories aren’t even visible, so the protection is mainly aimed at preventing third-party programs from writing to these areas. This also includes the ability to make changes to core system files, which means less customization than pre-SIP macOS.

Users and third-party apps can still make changes to the following directories:

  • /Applications
  • /Library
  • /usr/local

macOS Applications

SIP also protects most applications that come installed with macOS from interference too.

Finally, third-party kernel extensions (including drivers) must now be signed with an Apple Developer ID. Your Mac won’t boot if unsigned kernel extensions are present.

How Does SIP Affect Mac Software?

In the few years since SIP was introduced, developers and users alike have adjusted to the lockdown of certain system components. Many developers rewrote apps from the ground up to work alongside SIP. Lots more have since launched that already accommodate Apple’s restrictions.

All apps in the Mac App Store must work with SIP in order to gain Apple’s approval. The vast majority of third-party apps work just fine too. There are a few exceptions like Winclone, which still requires the disabling (and then re-enabling) of SIP in order to perform its function as a Boot Camp cloning tool.

Install or Buy App Mac App Store

While there are plenty of small handy Mac tweaks for fixing just about everything still available, deep system tweaks are mostly no longer viable. For example, theming apps designed to change the colors, look, and feel of Finder relied on code injection, which you can’t do anymore. These apps are no longer viable without building something new from scratch.

Ultimately, though, software is not affected unless the developer specifically points it out. If that’s the case, it might be worth looking for a different app to perform the same task. SIP exists to protect you. For the vast majority of users who see macOS as a functional base with which to get work done, it’s well worth living within these constraints.

How Do You Disable SIP on macOS?

If you really want to disable SIP, you can do so by rebooting into your Mac’s recovery partition (hold Cmd + R at startup), then using the csrutil command line utility. Check out our full guide to disabling SIP, but we’d recommend you re-enable it when you’re done tinkering.

It’s also worth pointing out that your computer will re-enable SIP every time you update your OS, or upgrade to a new version of macOS. You might as well leave it on and work around it, since it’s here to stay.

System Integrity, Protected

Apple’s efforts to secure macOS have led to it enjoying an excellent security record. Built on a Unix base, macOS provides signature Apple user-friendliness and approach to user privacy. It’s completed with a rock-solid foundation and a focus on security.

Since new software is built with SIP in mind, only old software, deep system-level tweaks, and the odd niche third-party app will ever require you disable it.

In the end, it’s a security feature, and one that follows Apple’s design sensibilities for the macOS platform. Since the use of Apple’s OS is one of the primary motivators for buying a Mac, it doesn’t make much sense to disable a feature like this.

Read the full article: What Is SIP? macOS System Integrity Protection Explained

How to Block Third-Party Junk Offers With Windows Defender

Today, most malware doesn’t come from traditional viruses but from potentially unwanted programs, which are third-party programs foisted on you during free downloads. They’re often shady utilities like PC cleaners or search hijackers. If you aren’t careful, you’ll end up downloading an unrelated junk program while installing a legitimate free tool. While Windows Defender has been a solid antivirus without nags, it now has a hidden feature that will block this kind of junk. Here’s how to use it. How to Block Third-Party Junk Offers Open a PowerShell window by typing PowerShell into the Start Menu. Right-click the entry and…

Read the full article: How to Block Third-Party Junk Offers With Windows Defender

Today, most malware doesn’t come from traditional viruses but from potentially unwanted programs, which are third-party programs foisted on you during free downloads. They’re often shady utilities like PC cleaners or search hijackers.

If you aren’t careful, you’ll end up downloading an unrelated junk program while installing a legitimate free tool. While Windows Defender has been a solid antivirus without nags, it now has a hidden feature that will block this kind of junk. Here’s how to use it.

How to Block Third-Party Junk Offers

  1. Open a PowerShell window by typing PowerShell into the Start Menu. Right-click the entry and choose Run as administrator, then confirm the prompt.
  2. Enter the following command:
    Set-MpPreference -PUAProtection 1

That’s all you have to do to enable automatic junk protection with Windows Defender. You can run this command again with a 0 replacing the 1 to turn it off anytime.

Now, you’ll have an extra layer of protection from installing unwanted programs. Unlike Unchecky, which detects these checkboxes and automatically unchecks them for you, Windows Defender will step in and quarantine this junk if you accidentally install it.

Windows Defender classifies it as a “potentially unwanted software.” You can view the history of what it’s blocked by visiting Settings > Update & Security > Windows Security > Virus & threat protection. Click Threat history and you’ll see a list under Quarantined threats. Use the See full history link if there are too many entries to list.

Windows-Defender-Threat-History

This won’t block every piece of crapware, so you should still be diligent about avoiding those checkboxes and be careful where you download from. Keep an eye out for “special offers” when installing free software, and never click Next blindly. It’s a great part of Windows Defender, and it will hopefully improve in the future.

Read the full article: How to Block Third-Party Junk Offers With Windows Defender

How to Remove Android Viruses Without a Factory Reset

remove-android-virus

Desktops aren’t the only devices that pick up viruses. While it’s not a common occurrence, Android devices can indeed suffer from malware. If you do get a virus, you could perform a factory reset to get rid of it, but that means you’d lose all your data. Your photos, saved games, text messages, and everything else will be gone if you didn’t back them up. Obviously, a factory reset should be your last option. So what can you do to remove a phone virus without a factory reset? Let’s find out. Does My Android Phone Have a Virus? Many times,…

Read the full article: How to Remove Android Viruses Without a Factory Reset

remove-android-virus

Desktops aren’t the only devices that pick up viruses. While it’s not a common occurrence, Android devices can indeed suffer from malware.

If you do get a virus, you could perform a factory reset to get rid of it, but that means you’d lose all your data. Your photos, saved games, text messages, and everything else will be gone if you didn’t back them up. Obviously, a factory reset should be your last option.

So what can you do to remove a phone virus without a factory reset? Let’s find out.

Does My Android Phone Have a Virus?

Many times, when people think they have an Android virus, it’s actually something more docile.

Suppose your Android phone crashes every time it starts up. Or maybe you can’t download apps from the Play Store. These are not necessarily caused by a virus. So don’t panic! Check our list of common Android problems and how to fix them.

If none of those tips fix your issue, ask yourself a few questions:

  1. Did the problem start happening after you downloaded some app or file?
  2. Have you recently sideloaded an app from a third-party source (outside the Play Store)?
  3. Did you tap on an ad that downloaded a file or app you didn’t want?
  4. Does the problem occur only when you run a particular app?

If the answer to any of the above is yes, there’s a chance you have malware on your system. Thankfully, you might be able to fix it without a factory reset.

How to Stay Safe From Android Viruses

Google Play Protect is now part of all Android devices. It’s a built-in security measure that scans the apps on your device and checks for harmful ones. No matter where you install apps from, Play Protect looks through them. This means you essentially already have an antivirus built into your phone.

If you only install apps from Google Play, the chances of you picking up a phone virus are slim to none. Google scans all apps added to Google Play for malicious behavior and removes offenders. While some slip through the cracks, you’re very unlikely to install a virus app from the Play Store.

Installing from other sources is entirely different. Downloading apps from random websites, especially “cracked” apps (paid offerings illegally provided for free), is a great way to pick up malware. If you chose to sideload apps, make certain that you trust the location you download them from.

However, this doesn’t mean every app on Google Play is beneficial. Scam apps might take your money for nothing, and many free apps abuse phone permissions to steal your data. But those are separate concerns from Android viruses.

Like on other platforms, common sense will help you avoid a virus. Don’t download from shady websites, try to avoid tapping on ads, and keep an eye on app permissions.

Android Virus Removal Apps

The Play Store is home to dozens of Android virus removal apps. However, most of them are bloated and want you to pay for features you don’t need. However, there are a few worth using.

If you think you’re infected with Android malware, it’s not a bad idea to install one of the below apps and scan. You don’t need to keep it around afterwards if you follow the common sense tips above.

Malwarebytes

One of the most trusted names in desktop security, Malwarebytes also provides an Android app. The free version scans your phone for malware and removes any threats it finds. It also has an audit feature for app permissions, so you can keep track of what each has access to. And it doesn’t have ads either.

The Premium version for $12/year adds real-time detection and other features most people don’t need. For a no-nonsense virus scanner and remover app for Android, it’s your best bet.

Download: Malwarebytes Security (Free, subscription available)

Bitdefender Antivirus Free

Bitdefender is another solid virus removal app, mainly because it’s lightweight. Cloud scanning means there’s little impact on your device, and the app doesn’t bog down its core offering with a bunch of annoying extras.

You’ll still see ads to upgrade to the full version, but if you can ignore them, this is a fine app for a quick Android virus scan.

Download: Bitdefender Antivirus (Free)

Android Antivirus Apps to Avoid

These are only two of the many Android virus scanning apps, but you can ignore nearly all other ones. Offerings from major companies like Avast, Norton, Avira, and similar are all loaded with garbage and are heavy on your system.

Many pack in RAM boosters and cleaning tools, which do more harm than good. And a lot of the functionality they tout is already built into Android. Browsers like Chrome already detect and block dangerous websites. Google’s Find My Phone feature can locate your lost phone. And you can manage app permissions on your own.

Security companies try to scare you into downloading their free apps for “safety,” then nag you to upgrade to the paid version with a bunch of features you don’t need. Know that you should never pay for an Android antivirus app!

Manual Malware Removal in Android Safe Mode

Hopefully, an antivirus scan should find and remove the malware on your Android device. But if that doesn’t get the job done, then it’s onto a manual step.

Much like Windows has a safe mode, so does Android. And if your system has a virus, you’ll need to utilize it. Safe mode loads the OS without running any third-party apps and disables them. This means that you can find out if an app is causing an issue and remove it safely.

Android Reboot into safe mode

To enter into safe mode if you can boot your phone normally:

  1. Press and hold the Power button till you see the power menu.
  2. Tap and hold Power off until you get a prompt to Reboot to safe mode.
  3. Tap OK.
  4. Wait for your phone to reboot. In the bottom-left corner, you’ll see a Safe mode watermark.

If your phone won’t boot normally because of the infection, try these steps to boot a powered-off phone into safe mode:

  1. Press and hold the Power, Volume up, and Volume down buttons.
  2. Once you see your phone’s logo appear, let go of Power but continue holding the Volume buttons.
  3. You’ll see a Safe mode watermark in the bottom-left once your device boots up.

Due to hardware manufacturer differences, this may not work for every device. Try a quick Google search for your phone to find its safe mode combination if neither of these do the trick.

Once you have entered Safe Mode, go to Settings > Apps > Downloaded. On Android Oreo or newer, go to Settings > Apps & notifications > See all X apps instead.

Here, go through the list of your apps and try to location the malicious app. It might not stick out, but think back to when the problem on your phone started. Remove any apps you installed around that time, and check if an app you didn’t download is in the list.

Android Safe Mode

To uninstall an app, tap its name and choose Uninstall on its info page to remove it. If that gets rid of it, reboot your phone normally (without entering Safe mode), and the phone virus should be gone.

If you can’t uninstall an app through this menu, it likely has Device Administrator access. To remove that access, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Settings > Security > Device Administrators (Settings > Security & location > Device admin apps on Oreo and newer).
  2. Locate the app and tap the checkbox next to it.
  3. Tap Deactivate when prompted.

Now you can go back to the list of apps and uninstall it as described above.

Android Phone Virus Aftermath: Cleaning Up

After uninstalling malicious apps, you might also want to clean up your Android device while you’re at it. Clearing the cache and history, cleaning up the startup processes, and other basic steps can assist in making sure your device is good to go.

Unfortunately, Android cleaning apps are typically full of junk, ads, and placebos. Follow our guide to cleaning your Android phone to make it easy. If you want a one-tap solution, CCleaner is a good app for removing unnecessary files without any fuss. It’s unfortunately added some bloat recently, but it still works well enough.

Once you’ve cleaned up your phone, we recommend you back up your Android data if you haven’t already. This will make it much easier to recover from future issues when they arise.

Kick Android Viruses to the Curb!

Unfortunately, if you’re sure you have malware on your device but none of the above solutions fix it, you’ll likely have to factory reset your phone. If you experience issues in safe mode, your problem may lie with the OS or hardware, not a virus.

A reset means you will lose precious data, but that’s better than using a compromised phone. For the best security, make sure you also know how to upgrade your Android phone!

Image Credit: Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH/Shutterstock

Read the full article: How to Remove Android Viruses Without a Factory Reset