Our mobile phones have become our modern diaries. So, it’s uncomfortable for us if we see someone peeking or invading our mobile phones without our consent. Unfortunately, this so-called invasion frequently happens, and the worst part is we usually don’t have any idea that it’s already happening.
Spyware is one of the most common malicious software that can compromise our privacy and security.
If you suspect that your Android device might be infected with software, you’re in the right place. In this guide, we’ll help you understand what spyware really is, the signs your Android has it, and the steps to take to remove spyware from your device. Let’s begin!
Table of Contents
What Is Spyware?
Spyware is a type of malicious software designed to gather information from your device without your knowledge or consent.
This information can include your personal data, browsing habits, passwords, credit card details, and even other sensitive financial information.
The collected data is then transmitted to third parties, often for malicious purposes such as identity theft, unauthorized surveillance, or targeted advertising.
Regardless if you have cable or satellite internet, you should always be careful in clicking links, opening emails, and other online activities.
How Do You Get Spyware Virus?
Getting a spyware virus on your Android device can happen through various means, often involving actions that expose your device to malicious software without your knowledge. Here are some common ways in which you might get infected with spyware:
- Downloading Infected Apps – One of the most common ways to get spyware is by downloading apps from unofficial sources or third-party app stores. These apps might be disguised as legitimate applications but actually contain hidden spyware.
- Clicking on Suspicious Links – Clicking on links from unknown or untrusted sources, especially in emails or text messages, can lead you to websites that automatically download spyware onto your device.
- Malicious Attachments – Opening email attachments, especially from senders you don’t recognize, can introduce spyware onto your device. These attachments often come in the form of documents or files that appear harmless.
- Software Vulnerabilities – Outdated operating systems and apps can have vulnerabilities that spyware can exploit to gain access to your device. It’s important to update your device’s software to patch these vulnerabilities regularly.
- Drive-By Downloads – Visiting compromised websites or clicking on misleading ads can trigger automatic downloads of spyware without your knowledge or consent.
- Unsecured Wi-Fi Networks – Connecting to unsecured public Wi-Fi networks can expose your device to potential threats, as hackers can intercept your traffic and inject malicious software.
It’s also worth noting to choose a reputable internet provider. Internet service providers have the ability to snoop if they like, and this is especially true for untrusted providers that are offering too-good-to-be-true internet plans.
So, if you’re on a budget, make sure to assess the provider you’ll choose.
- Bluetooth and File Sharing – Sharing files via Bluetooth or other file-sharing methods with unknown devices can also lead to the transmission of spyware.
- Pre-Installed Apps – Some devices come with pre-installed apps that might contain spyware or adware. These apps can monitor your activities and collect data without your consent.
What Does It Mean If I Have Spyware on My Android?
Having spyware on your Android device means that your privacy and security have been compromised. Spyware is designed to operate covertly, collecting sensitive information from your device without your knowledge or consent.
If you suspect that your Android device is infected with spyware, it’s essential to take immediate action to protect your personal data and prevent further unauthorized access.
Signs Your Android Device Might Have Software
Spyware is designed to be hidden, so it can be tricky to detect. While there might not be a solid sign that your phone is infected, like an application named “Spyware,” there are other signs that can help you find and confirm spyware on your Android device, such as:
- Unexplained Battery Drain
Spyware often runs in the background, consuming significant amounts of battery power. If you notice a sudden decrease in your battery life without any apparent reason, it might be a sign of spyware.
- Sluggish Performance
Spyware can use up system resources, which leads to slower performance, freezing, or crashing of apps. If your once-smooth device starts to behave erratically, spyware might be the culprit.
- Unusual Data Usage
Spyware continuously sends the gathered information to external servers, causing an increase in data usage. If you notice a significant surge in data consumption despite your regular usage patterns, it’s worth investigating.
- Strange Behavior
Spyware can trigger odd behaviors on your device, such as random restarts, unfamiliar pop-up ads, or even strange noises during calls. These anomalies could be indicators of unwanted software.
- High Data Traffic
If your device seems to be transmitting data even when you’re not actively using it, spyware might be behind the scenes sending information without your knowledge.
Spyware can cause your device to work harder than usual, leading to overheating. If your phone becomes unusually hot even during light usage, it could be due to background spyware activities.
- Unusual Folders or Files
If you come across unfamiliar folders or files when browsing through your device’s storage, it could be a sign of spyware. Some spyware disguises itself by creating hidden or obscure folders to store its data.
How to Remove Spyware from Android?
Navigating the intricate process of eliminating spyware from your Android device requires careful steps to regain control of your digital privacy and security. So, we’ve provided a detailed guide on how to eliminate spyware from your beloved device.
- Activate Safe Mode
Turn on your Android’s Safe Mode by pressing and holding the power button, then tapping and holding the “Power Off” option. This precautionary step disables non-essential apps, creating an environment conducive to detecting potential spyware.
- Check for Suspicious Apps
Within your device’s settings, navigate to the Apps or Applications section. Thoroughly inspect the roster of installed apps, removing any that raise suspicion. Pay close attention to apps with ambiguous names or those you can’t recall installing.
- Check for Any New Software or App Updates
As mentioned below, it’s important to keep your device up-to-date at all times. Keep its operating system and apps updated as soon as you can. You must also regularly check for available updates in the system settings to ensure protection against known vulnerabilities.
- Look into Reputable Antivirus or Anti-malware Software
Even if you have the best fiber internet plan, you can still be vulnerable to spyware. So, having a trusted antivirus or anti-malware software in place will help you identify and get rid of any traces of spyware.
- Change ALL Your Passwords
You’ll never know what information the cybercriminals have already stolen. So, once you suspect that your Android has spyware, it’s best to change all the passwords to a unique combination that doesn’t relate to you. We recommend avoiding your birthday or other common words, as those are easy to guess.
- Backup Important Data
Before proceeding any further, make sure to back up all your files. This way, when worse comes to worst, you won’t lose any important data during the removal process.
While this may sound daunting, it’s actually pretty easy. If your phone has a lot of files with nowhere to go, you can look into Google Drive and other cloud drives online so you can easily store and access them.
- Perform a Factory Reset
If you’ve exhausted all other options and are still experiencing unusual behavior or suspect spyware, a factory reset may be your last resort. This procedure will erase all data on your device, reverting it to its original state.
To perform a factory reset, go to your device’s settings, find the “System” or “General Management” section, and look for the “Reset” option. Make sure you’ve backed up all important data before proceeding with this step.
- Monitor Your Device
After the reset, monitor your device closely and make sure there are no signs or traces of spyware on your device. Usually, after a factory reset, the spyware should also be gone.
However, it’s still a good practice to keep an eye on your device’s performance, battery life, and behavior to ensure that there are no lingering issues.
- Stay Educated and Always Practice Safe Habits
To prevent future spyware infections and maintain the security of your Android device, it’s crucial to stay educated about cybersecurity best practices. Continuously update yourself on the latest threats and ways to protect your device.
Additionally, practice safe habits such as downloading apps only from official app stores, avoiding suspicious links and attachments, and connecting to secure Wi-Fi networks.
The Bottom Line
Remember, while spyware can compromise your privacy and security, taking proactive measures to protect your Android device can significantly reduce the risk of infection and the potential negative impact on your digital life.
Now that you have a better understanding of spyware, how it happens, what it means for you to have spyware, signs you have spyware, and how to remove it from your Android device, you should be able to avoid getting spyware in the future. Good luck, and safe browsing!