How to fix virus-infected Galaxy S9 Plus (showing popups and apps crashing)

Virus infection on Android devices have many symptoms. In today’s episode, we include one typical case of a virus-infected Galaxy S9 Plus. Learn how to deal with this problem below by following our suggestion.

Problem: How to fix a compromised Galaxy S9 Plus (that’s infected by virus or malware)

Phone keeps turning on settings I turned off. Some settings it says only device administrator can turn on. I can’t even find administrator settings. When I try to open something I have to do it twice. When I save something I have to do it twice almost as if I’m saving to two devices. My Facebook Yahoo account got took over. My wifi disconnects a lot and my girlfriend is right next to me and hers functions fine. When I click on an app it sometimes opens a different app.I really feel like someone else has access to my phone. Oh yeah I’ve also had fraudulent charges to my bank account. So I know my card has been compromised. I’ve factory reset 3 times. I just found out about the master reset so I’m gonna try that. Sometimes I try to open my gmail and it loads halfway then stops then loads halfway and it does it like 30 times but never loads completely. Any suggestions would be welcomed! Oh one more thing. After I factory reset I got a phone call from some Indian dude in California. I didn’t answer but it seemed like my phone got all messed up all over again. Thanks for your help Abe

Solution: It’s likely that your Galaxy S9 Plus has been compromised. You may have installed an app or malware that turns off your phone’s defenses. Factory reset can remove the malware or apps you installed but the problem may return after you reinstall the same set of apps afterwards. What you can do to effectively prevent the problems from returning is by making sure that you don’t add the bad app or apps after wiping the phone clean.

Solution 1: Identify the bad app

Most malicious software or viruses that affect Android devices are spread by apps. We believe that your phone is most likely affected by a malware that causes all the problems you mentioned above. Some bad apps are designed to look legit and harmless. In many cases, they may even offer services that appears to provide real functions. Some may take the form of games.

There can be many reasons why developers make bad apps. Most malware or viruses nowadays are not designed to primarily wreck havoc only. Most of them are built to steal accounts, passwords, credit card details, or log browsing habits. These type of information are then either sold to third parties, or used by the developer itself for monetary gains. In some cases, bad apps may be hard to detect because they do their activities in a subtle manner but others may cause a system to crash, lag, or reboot randomly. Some bad apps may hijack a system and force it to show ads or popups. These popups can generate advertising fees for the developer.

Needless to say, there’s a need for you to know if your phone is indeed infected by a malware or virus. Since a lot of these things are caused by a compromised app, your main task right now is to find out if that’s the case. The easiest way to do that is by restarting the device to safe mode. In this mode, all third party apps will be suspended and won’t be allowed to run. So, if all the symptoms of a bad app issue are absent on safe mode, that means that one of your apps is behind them.

If you haven’t tried restarting to safe mode yet, follow the steps below.

  1. Turn the device off.
  2. Press and hold the Power key past the model name screen.
  3. When “SAMSUNG” appears on the screen, release the Power key.
  4. Immediately after releasing the Power key, press and hold the Volume down key.
  5. Continue to hold the Volume down key until the device finishes restarting.
  6. Safe mode will display in the bottom left corner of the screen.
  7. Release the Volume down key when you see Safe Mode.

Now that your phone has booted to safe mode, let the phone run for some time to see if the symptoms or problems occur. If they don’t, that means that our suspicion about a bad app, is correct.

While safe mode can block third party apps (apps that you downloaded and are not part of the original software), it won’t pinpoint which of the apps is the real cause. You’ll have to troubleshoot further to know the app and remove it from the system.

To identify which of your apps is causing the trouble, you should boot the phone back to safe mode and follow these steps:

  1. Boot to safe mode.
  2. Check for the problem. If the issue remains, proceed to Step 3.
  3. Start uninstalling apps individually. We suggest that you begin with the most recent ones you added. At this time, you want to erase ONE app.
  4. After you uninstall an app, restart the phone to normal mode and check for the problem.
  5. If the problems return, repeat steps 1-4.

Continue doing the same loop of steps until you’ve identified the problem app. Make sure not to reinstall it after you factory reset the device.

Solution 2: Return all software to defaults (via Master reset)

Another approach to solving the problem is by wiping the phone clean, then making sure that you don’t install a problem app at all. This means being careful what app to add back. If you don’t screen your apps well, the problems will most likely return after a master reset. Use only this solution if you have an idea which of your apps is causing the problem.

For reference, these are the steps on how to master reset your S9 Plus:

  1. Turn off the device.
  2. Press and hold the Volume Up key and the Bixby key, then press and hold the Power key.
  3. When the green Android logo displays, release all keys (‘Installing system update’ will show for about 30 – 60 seconds before showing the Android system recovery menu options).
  4. Press the Volume down key several times to highlight ‘wipe data / factory reset’.
  5. Press Power button to select.
  6. Press the Volume down key until ‘Yes — delete all user data’ is highlighted.
  7. Press Power button to select and start the master reset.
  8. When the master reset is complete, ‘Reboot system now’ is highlighted.
  9. Press the Power key to restart the device.

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