Not only desktop computers are infected with malware - Android mobile device owners are not completely safe either. An example of dangerous software for smartphones is the so-called redirect virus, which is most often found in the Google Chrome browser. Fortunately, it is quite easy to deal with, and below you will learn how to do it.
- What is a redirect virus dangerous
- How a browser virus infects your phone
- The symptoms of a redirect virus
- How to remove the virus from your Chrome browser
What is a redirect virus and why is it dangerous
Redirect translates to "redirect" - and in the internet it can be a useful tool. For example if the website address has changed, a redirect will redirect the user to the new address.
Redirect viruses are not only annoying ads, which are redirected to. Often they mimic system messages, such as urging you to "upgrade" your browser (download malicious code). You may succumb to this provocation: accidentally click on the wrong button, perform an "update". As a result the phone will download malware that will be difficult to eradicate.
How a redirect virus gets on your mobile device
The most common cause of infection is the installation of unknown software. Although newer Android versions resist the malware by all means, it is possible to bypass the protection.
At a first glance a newly installed application seems harmless, but in fact turns out to be malicious. This frequently occurs when a fake browser imitating Google Chrome is installed instead of Google Chrome. The risk of this occurring when using the official Google Play store is next to zero, but when downloading the installer from a third-party, unverified source, the risk is quite high.
How does the redirect-virus manifest itself (symptoms)
Determine if you have a redirect-virus on your phone by the following symptoms (although not limited to them):
- frequent redirect notification appears; the default browser homepage or search bar changes to something completely unfamiliar to you;
- appears pop-up ads that are difficult or impossible to close;
- new tabs with ads open, they usually cannot be closed either;
- warning messages appear suggesting that there is a virus on the phone (though in many cases the warning is created by the virus) or suggesting to update the browser (this should not be trusted either);
- you lose money from your phone account (this occurs through sending SMS to special numbers for which you may not be aware);
- the browser redirects to another site: opens arbitrary pages whose addresses you personally did not enter in the search bar.
Many of these symptoms are "side effects", only the consequence of a redirect. The main indication of a redirect is that you enter one address but the browser opens another instead.
What browsers are affected
Not only Chrome/standard phone browser is affected but also any other similar application. A virus infection can also occur via Opera and Firefox.
Ways to remove redirect virus in Chrome for Android
So, how to clean Chrome from viruses? The easiest ways to deal with redirect viruses include the following:
Cleaning Chrome cache and/or data
Go to the app properties (Android Settings - Apps - All (or, in other versions, Menu - Settings - Apps - Manage Apps - All) and select the "Chrome" line).
Click "Stop - Force stop" - this will force Chrome to close.
Now clear your data and cache using the respective buttons: Memory - Clear cache.
How to correctly clear the cache on your Android can be found here.
Removing Recent Applications
Firstly, you should enter Android safe mode. This mode prevents non-system applications from running and is designed to eliminate various problems of the OS.
Hold the phone power button until the menu is displayed.
Then press and hold the power button. The option to start the device in "Safe Mode" is displayed. Select it and wait for the phone to reboot.
In the Safe Mode go to "Settings - Applications" and remove the "most recent" (by date) applications you have downloaded. For the correct way to do this, please refer to the guide on deleting applications on your Android.
Tip: do not install the applications from third-party websites (you would better use Google Play). Do not click on suspicious links. If a file download has started without your knowledge, urgently put your phone into airplane mode to interrupt the download. Delete the download and restart your Android.
Restore the device to factory state
A more drastic measure, suitable if the malicious redirect is not eliminated in any other way. The drawback is that apart from the virus all other applications will be deleted. However, this measure will remove the virus from your browser. Once your phone has been reset to factory state, Chrome will work correctly.
Make sure to make a backup of everything you need beforehand.
Go to "Settings - General Settings",
Select "Restore and Reset" (or simply "Reset" in the case of Samsung Galaxy) and click on "Reset Settings".
Confirm your choice and wait for the operation to complete successfully.
How to perform Hard Reset properly.
Use Anti-Virus and Firewall
There are applications that take care of removing redirects and other viruses. Just use antivirus functionality to clean Google Chrome from viruses and at the same time check your whole system for malware and spyware comprehensively.
Select the best antivirus for 2019:
- Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus. A free version of the popular antivirus. Scans your device's memory for malware. The paid versions of Kaspersky look for redirect viruses, malware in the background / in real time.
- Dr. Web Light. Another mobile antivirus that detects both already known redirect viruses in browsers and new ones that haven't been seen before.
- Malwarebytes & Airpush Detector. Two simple but effective applications for detecting adware, including redirect-based adware. Malwarebytes does not detect "advanced" viruses but is quite capable of detecting an adware virus in the Chrome browser.
If redirects still work, use another program from the list. All antiviruses work in slightly different ways, they have different virus databases - therefore the same malware may be destroyed by one antivirus, but ignored by another.