Help! My Android Phone has a Virus
No, it doesn’t.
Blame it on the Virus
Every time a phone displays behaviour that we do not understand we blame it on a virus. When the software that runs your phone has a bug or crashes, you blame it on a virus. When your cheap Android phone hardware starts misbehaving, you blame it on a virus.
Believe me, it is never a virus. Software, just like every other thing built by man, has flaws. We can never design it to anticipate all the scenarios that user will try and put it through, hence the unexplained behaviour. Sometimes, it is just poorly built software that doesn’t work well at all. People tend to just blame it all on the virus.
Viruses exist, but not that type
One thing to understand before we proceed: You can’t take Microsoft Word from your computer and run it on your Android phone, neither can you just take Candy Crush Soda and transfer it to your computer. By this same token, a virus built and designed to attack your computer will never ever do harm to your Android phone.
So, viruses do exist. But plugging your phone to a computer infected with a virus will not lead to your phone getting infected.
But viruses do exist
Yes, but not on Android. A virus is a program that replicates itself by attaching to another program. This type of virus would never work on your Android phone for several reasons but the most important is that Android is not designed like the Windows that you use on your computer.
Imagine an exam, where each student has their own book and pen. Each student sits at their own desk and write in their own book. The exam supervisor makes sure students can’t break this rule. The students can’t cheat either because their pens are designed such that a pen is bound to a specific book.
The students, their books and pens are Android applications and the exam supervisor is the Android system.
Traditional computer viruses would never work on an Android phone. You can however, get Malware on an Android phone, but Malware is not a virus.
What is Malware?
Malware is short for Malicious Software. Malware are applications designed to steal your information such as passwords, internet browsing habits, phone number or even credit-card information stored on your phone.
These applications can be downloaded and installed on your phone just like any other. The applications tend to masquerade as a certain type of app, but once installed, they behave otherwise.
How do I protect myself?
The most effective way to protect yourself from Malware on Android is to only download and install applications from verified App Stores like Google Play and Amazon Store. Applications you get here are screened before being released to the public. Rare cases do sneak by security screening but they quickly get picked up and eliminated by Google.
So, you can relax. Your phone does not have a virus. Maybe you just need to free up some space, or remove applications that modify your phone’s behaviour like Battery saver and Speed Optimization apps. You don’t have to pay $XX to a phone repair guy to have him pretend to fix your phone and charge you for a service you didn’t need.