If you ever saw the “Walking dead series,” or you watched the medical horror story of “Monsters Inside Me,” creepy! Then you will probably understand malware.
Not related you say?
The frequent crashes, error messages, viruses, worms! Yeah, they are monsters alright, and what they do to your system – computer, phones, are similar to what parasitic organisms do.
What is Malware?
The definition of Malware is not complete if these two words are not in it:
- Intentional, and,
Malware is an encompassing term for any, and, every destructive/parasitic software, intentionally built to elicit damage to your server, computer, network, or, your phone.
Different names call it, but all with the same intent. There’s Ransomware, which literally, is a software designed to hijack your information and hold you ransom. With threats to release some data and secrets, the victim has no choice but to pay the “ransom.”
Also, there is Spyware, which is like James Bond, 007 ish, malicious software, built to gather and steal information from its victims. Others are;
- Logic Bomb
- Computer Worms
- Trojan Horse
But, we are not discussing those other names and examples today.
It is essential to know that your computer can get infected with malware in different ways.
Although, most malware infections present with the same symptoms and signs, with some more dangerous than others. In essence, they all have the same outcome and unpleasing effects.
Malware on Your Phone
Most people question the fact that it is possible for mobile devices to get infected by malware.
The plain truth?
It is 101 percent possible, well maybe not in the standard traditional method, for iPhone and Apple devices. But, technically, the same process applies. Once malware gets hooked on to your phone, it performs multiple operations. Competes with your phone’s resources, and destroys a lot of programs.
The classic signs of malware in your phone are;
- Apps taking longer to load
- Your battery draining faster than normal
- Apps that you did not download showing up
How Do You Fix This “
Monsters Inside You” Problem
There are two ways you can detect and remove malware from your phone.
- The Manual way
- The Automatic way
The Automatic Way
This method is easy and very simple. You need to buy, download and install anti-malware software, which will do the job. Most protection software comes with different features. These apps can scan for all kinds of malicious software, uninstall/delete it, and protect your phone from future attacks.
The Manual Way – Android Phone
Step One: Shut down your Phone
The moment you detect the classic signs of malware invasion, the first thing you do, if you cannot pinpoint the site of entry, is to shut down your phone.
Shutting down the phone will stop further damage, and, the spread of the malicious software to other programs.
It is the safest first option.
Step Two: Activate Safe Mode
Activating the safe mode on your Android device is as easy as
- Hold down the power button, for a few seconds.
- If you skipped step one, and decide to go straight to safe mode. Then while your phone is on, hold down the power off option.
- Tap the restart option; most android phones have this option. Then click on Reboot to Safe mode.
- For devices that do not have this option, switch off your phone, by long pressing the power button.
- Then long press the Volume down button, wait till your device comes up.
- The Safe mode option will come up at the lower left corner of your phone.
Step Three Part A: Phone Administrator Settings
Some malware is so intelligent and cunning. When they invade your phone, they find a way to protect themselves. They go to the Phone Administrators settings, and then they change the configuration.
So you can try all you want, but you will not be able to remove them. To fix this, do these;
- Go to your phone’s Settings menu.
- Navigate to the Security options.
- Find the Device Administrator icon, deactivate the malware’s access and reconfigure the settings.
Step Three Part B: Find and Uninstall the Suspected App
This step can be considered to be the single most important because it deals with eliminating the threat. It is also an easy one.
- Just go to the Settings on your android phone.
- Navigate to the Apps icon.
- Choose App Manager to find the full list of your apps.
- Select the infected apps.
- An Uninstall/Force close option should be right there.
- Choose to uninstall, and this will remove the app from your phone.
- You can also remove other suspicious apps, to be sure.
- In cases when the Uninstall icon is not in the options, Disable will be there. Click it instead.
With these steps, your android phone should be back in health.
The Manual Way – iPhone
Removing malware from the iPhone is not as technical as doing the same on an Android device. This is so because of the iOS and the fact that you can only download and install apps from the App Store.
Malware on your iPhone will most likely be due to a Jailbreak, and you are downloading apps from untrusted sites. You can fix the problem with these steps;
Step One: Make Sure You Have Back-Up Data
It is crucial that your data is backed up, even before the invasion started. If not find a way to get your essential files off your device, but next time, make it a habit to back up your data regularly.
Step Two: Clear Browsing History and Data
- Go to the Settings menu on your device.
- Navigate to Safari icon.
- Then click Clear History and Website Data.
This is a quick step to remove error messages and many pop-ups from your safari browser.
Step Three: Shut Down and Restart Your iPhone
It is just as simple as that. Switch off your iPhone, and then restart it. This will allow it to reconfigure its settings after the second step.
Step Four: Restore From Back-Up
If the above steps do not resolve the problem, then you can restore your device to an earlier mode. That is before the malware struck. Make sure the back up is malware free, else, its square one again.
Step Five: Erase All Content
This step is more of a plan B. If all the other actions do not still work, then you can always start again. It is hard, even scary, but better than the malware anyway.
- Go to the Settings menu.
- Then to General icon.
- Click on Reset option.
- Press the Erase All Content and Settings button.
Your iPhone is as good as new. Remember it is important to get up-to-date anti-malware software. Also essential that you back up your data regularly.
Malware on Your PC/Mac
Removing malware from your PC/MAC can also be done in two ways. Although it requires some technical expertise, you can quickly get the grab of it with these steps.
Step One: Safe Mode
Safe mode will prevent the malware from causing further damage and makes it easier to remove. Before you activate safe mode, make sure you download a malware removal tool/software. After the download, disconnect from the internet. Wait till you fix the problem before you reconnect to the internet.
Safe Mode for Mac
- Switch on your Mac, and immediately press the Shift key. The Apple logo should come up. Release the shift key when you see the login window.
- If your startup disk is protected with FileVault, you will be asked to log in twice.
Safe Mode for Windows
- Restart your computer.
- When the login window comes up, press the shift key.
- Then press the power key and Restart.
- The choose an options menu will come up.
- Select the Troubleshoot option.
- Advanced options.
- Startup Settings.
- Another window will come up, click the Restart option.
- A numbered startup options menu will appear.
- Select F4 to start your computer in a safe mode.
Step Two: Clean Up
You can do this by using the Disk Cleanup tool, while still in safe mode.
- Go to the Start menu.
- Navigate to Accessories option.
- Click on System Tools.
- In the options, select Disk Cleanup.
- Scroll through to Delete List and delete the temporary files.
Step Three: Run/Use a Malware Scan
Remember the malware removal you download, use the software to run a scan. The software will do the job for you, finding and eliminating all threats. Here are some of the trusted solutions
Step Four: Reinstall Software
It is important to reinstall all the files that were damaged and removed by the anti-malware software. In addition, make sure the software you reinstall is malware free.
FAQ About Malware
Can My iPhone Get A Virus?
As explained earlier, yes, your iPhone can get infected with viruses. Although it is rare for an iPhone to get malware, some habits or processes can cause it. Jail-breaking your iPhone, and downloading apps, from sources outside the App store.
Can I Remove A Virus From My PC Without Anti-virus Software?
To this question, the answer is Yes. Although it requires a high level of expertise and experience, it is quite possible. You can use the Windows Task Manager and deactivate the unfamiliar process. Then launch your System Configuration and click the Startup Tab.
This will take you to a list of all the programs that runs on your computer. If a program is nuclear, it is better to delete it. You can always reinstall it after fixing the problem.
Will Resetting My Phone Remove Virus?
It is possible that a factory reset can remove virus. But, it depends on the OS (operating system), the malware type, and how deep it is in your phone. However, factory reset is capable of just wiping malware which attaches itself to installation processes.
Will Wiping My Hard Drive Remove Malware From My PC?
This is a tricky question. While wiping your hard drive will remove the malware, the problem will remain if your back up is infected. The malware is capable of reinfecting your PC from an infected backup file. So make sure your back up is clean, before wiping your drive.
Keeping your smartphone and personal computers safe from malware is challenging and I hope above gives you an idea about adding security protection.