Dennis Underwood
Published on
April 11, 2023

Malware on Phones: Removal and Prevention Guide

While phones certainly make things more convenient, they also open up new threats. Explore this removal and prevention guide for malware on phones.

Malware is sweeping across the United States. 5.4 billion malware attacks occurred in 2021 alone, more than 170 attacks every second.

Yet when people think of malware, they often think of programs on computers. Very few people think about malware on phones, despite malware on phones being as destructive as computer-based malware. 

If you want to keep your information safe, you must pay close attention to your mobile devices. Here is your essential guide on malware on phones, including how to remove programs.

What Is Mobile Malware?

Mobile malware is malware that hackers design to target smartphones, tablets, and other devices. A hacker may want to steal your data so they can hold it for ransom. They may want to gain access to an account and send phishing emails from it or steal your identity with it. 

Related: Malware vs. Ransomware

Different Types of Malware Used on Mobile Devices

Though numerous types of malware exist, some are more common than others. Here are a few of the common types of malware on phones.

Remote Access Tools

Remote Access Tools (RATs) can access your address books, call history, and web browsing data. A hacker can also send messages from your phone number, track your phone using its GPS, and turn the camera on and off. 

Cryptomining Malware

Cryptomining malware allows a hacker to make calculations on your device so they can mine or generate cryptocurrency. They hide these calculations on an app, making the malware hard to notice.

Bank Trojans

Bank trojans are pieces of malware that resemble legitimate applications. You may use a bank trojan to send money to someone, but your money goes to the hacker instead. They can also steal your login details to take over your account.


Ransomware is malware that prevents you from accessing your phone and its data. You must pay the hacker a certain amount of money to get your phone back. Thankfully, ransomware is not a significant threat to phones currently.

Related: Ransomware & File Corruption

Advertising Click Fraud

Advertising click malware lets a hacker commit click fraud. They take over your device and then make false clicks on ads that they have made, letting them generate money. 

Concerned about the many types of malware out there? Schedule a meeting with the cybersecurity experts at CyberCrucible today.

A man in a gray shirt doing research on a computer

How to Remove Malware From Android Phones

The first step to removing malware from your device is to notice the malware. Signs of malware include your device overheating and slowing down and the battery draining faster than usual. 

The second step is to check for malware. Visit the Google Play Store app and open the menu button, the three-line icon in the top-left corner of your screen. Select Play Protect and tap Scan. If your device finds harmful apps, you can then remove them. After you’ve removed them, you should step up automatic scanning so that you receive alerts anytime malware is on your device. Tap the gear icon in the top-right corner of your Play Protect window. 

You can also delete malware programs by rebooting your phone in safe mode. Every few months, you should check the apps on your phone and get rid of unfamiliar programs. 

How to Remove Malware From iPhones

The signs of malware on an iPhone are similar to those on an Android. Your battery life may become short, and your phone may slow down, even for essential functions. 

Check your phone for any unfamiliar or suspicious apps. You should then check your data and power usage; malware tends to use high data and battery life, so unusual spikes are tell-tale signs of malware. 

If you find an app you don’t remember downloading, you should uninstall it. If your iOS is not new, you should update it, as many hackers target phones with outdated operating systems. After you remove apps and update your operating system, you should restart your device and delete your phone’s browsing history. 

If your phone is still lagging, restore your device and initiate a factory reset. A factory reset will delete all your apps, so this is a last resort. But it will remove any harmful programs on your device and give you a fresh start. 

Preventing Malware on Phones

The easiest way to remove malware is to prevent malware from getting on your mobile device in the first place. Here are a few no-nonsense ways you can prevent malware. 

Treat Your Phones Like a Computer

Many people protect their computers using methods like installing antivirus software and turning on security features. Treat your phone and tablet the same way. Never open a suspicious app or link on your phone, even if it comes from a source that seems legitimate. Consider getting cyber liability insurance that extends to your mobile devices.

Keep Your Device Up-To-Date

Every time there is a new update for your device, you should update the device. You can enable your phone to have automatic updates while you are asleep. You should constantly update your operating system when a new update comes out, even during the day, because hackers can take advantage of outdated systems. 

Encrypt Devices

Encrypting your device will make it hard for someone who steals your phone to access your account. Set up a unique password for your phone and SIM card. Install apps that will encrypt your personal messages and emails, preventing others from reading them. 

A woman in a white shirt holding a phone

Be Careful Which Wi-Fi Networks You Connect To

Public Wi-Fi connections may seem secure, but someone with a router can access the information you send and see what websites you log into. Never use a network at a public location. If your business has a public Wi-Fi network, set up a private one with a password; only your employees know.

Related: Remote Work Security

Use Behavioral Analytics to Protect Your Data

Behavioral analytics anticipates what hackers and victims do during instances of identity theft. Analytics can help you prevent theft from occurring and reduce the harm that theft causes. Analytics tools can protect your cookies, tokens, and passwords so others cannot access them right away. 

Interested in behavioral analytics? Purchase behavior-based identity theft protection tools from CyberCrucible today.

The Importance of Mobile Malware Protection

Security experts detect 560,000 new pieces of malware every day. More than one billion malware programs are circulating online, and each pos a different threat to your device. A malware attack can steal your personal information, money, and accounts, and a hacker can threaten your physical security. 

Implementing the basic steps we’ve outlined can help you stay safe for years to come. But you must remain vigilant and read about the latest malware threats. Get the latest tools to protect your mobile devices and all the information they contain. 

About the author
Dennis Underwood

Dennis Underwood is a veteran, cybersecurity leader, inventor, and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience. He is an expert at cryptography, intrusion discovery and analysis, having discovered multiple previously unreported intrusions to clients throughout his career. Currently, he is leading a team of like-minded experts delivering next generation intrusion discovery and ransomware response automation tools to consumers.

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