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How do I know if I've installed a malicious third-party app?

You may encounter some of the issues or symptoms below when a malicious app or malware is installed.
  • Fake law enforcement warning requiring you to pay a fine/fee
  • Fake anti-virus messages
  • Unexpected pop-up screens that prevent your HTC device from performing as expected
  • Redirection to an unintended website or app download
  • Unusual data usage and charges on your bill
  • Your contacts receiving an unintended SMS or email
  • Unintended posts or uploads to social media sites
  • New app suddenly appearing
  • Noticeable reduction in battery life after the installation of a new app

Many malicious third-party apps will automatically start when your HTC device boots or set themselves as device administrators to make the apps more difficult to uninstall. To prevent this from happening, uninstall or disable any suspicious apps.

  1. To reboot into Safe Mode, press and hold the POWER button. Then press and hold Power off until the Reboot to safe mode prompt appears. Tap OK.
  2. Go to Settings.
  3. Do one of the following:
    • Tap Apps & notifications > See all.
    • Tap Apps.
  4. Look for any suspicious or unfamiliar apps. Tap the app, and then tap Uninstall or Disable.

    If you don't see any suspicious apps, uninstall any recently downloaded apps that were installed shortly before the symptoms appeared.

  5. If the app doesn't have the uninstall or disable option, go back to the main Settings screen, and then do one of the following:
    • Tap Security & location > Advanced > Device admin apps.
    • Tap Security > Advanced > Device admin apps.
    Deactivate the app. Then do steps 3 and 4 again to try uninstalling or disabling the app.
  6. Reboot and check if the issue is resolved.

    If this doesn't fix the issue, you may need to do a factory reset.

Perform a factory reset through Settings

As a last resort, you can reset your phone to factory settings. Before you do so, please be aware of the following:
  • A factory reset will erase all data, media, and files from the phone storage. You'll lose them and won't be able to restore them if you didn't sync or back them up before. Make sure you've backed up all important information and files before you proceed.
  • Make sure the phone is charged to at least 35% before performing the reset, or is connected to an HTC charger and is actively charging.
  • Make sure you know your Google Account name and password. You'll need them to unlock your phone after the factory reset.

    In phones with Android 5 or higher, Device Protection may be enabled, which means that after the factory reset, you'll need to sign in using the same Google Account that was logged into your phone. If you forgot your Google Account password, use your computer web browser and go to www.google.com/accounts/recovery to reset your password first.

To perform a factory reset:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • Tap System > Reset options.
    • Tap Backup & reset.
  3. Tap Erase all data (factory reset), and then tap Reset phone.
    Note: You may need to scroll all the way down to read everything on the screen and enable the Reset phone button.
  4. If you have a security lock on the phone, you need to enter your security credentials before you can proceed.
  5. Tap Erase eveything or tap OK when prompted.

    The phone will reboot and reset.

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