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It seems like I have a virus on my android tablet. I have had my tablet for 2.5 years (virus problems for almost 5 months). I am thinking about buying a new phone (Android) in the near future (I currently have a Windows phone).

My question: With my new phone I want to sign in to the same gmail account but I am afraid that this virus can move trough my gmail from tablet to new phone and infect it. Is it possible?

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    It depends on what the virus is. If you have files set to sync from your old device from a backup, configured automatic reinstalation of your apps there is a possibility that the virus or the delivery mechanism for the virus could reinfect the new device. At a guess I would say the risk is low, but without all the information it is hard to give a more precise response. – TheJulyPlot Jan 6 '16 at 21:33
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As mentioned in other answers, you should assume that any passwords or data that you type into your tablet is visible to the attackers. So once you stop using the tablet for good (or do a factory reset on it), change all your passwords (if you change your passwords and keep using the tablet then they will simply see the new passwords).

You also need to consider how the virus got onto your tablet in the first place. While it's common on Windows for viruses to get in through email attachments or media files, this is far less common in Android. Chances are higher that you downloaded some game from the app store that has a virus in it.

One of the nice things about Android is that when you log into your Google account for the first time on a new device, it'll automatically download all your apps. In your case, it'll also bring the virus-game with it and PRESTO! Infected. It's been a while since I set up a new Android device, but I believe it asks permission to re-install all your apps, say no!

Another point is that with your tablet being 2.5 years old, it's probably on an older version of Android. The vulnerability that allowed the virus in in the first place might have been fixed in the more recent versions of Android, so there may be no issue.

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I would highly recommend that you immediately stop using your tablet, as the only way to be sure that you have gotten rid of any malicious software on your device, is to reformat the hard drive and reinstall the operating system.

Then I would change the password on every account that you have accessed with that device over the last year.

The virus will not move through your gmail to the new phone, (unless the source of the virus was an attachment that you opened on your tablet from your gmail, then just don't open that attachment) but your gmail login credentials are most likely compromised.

  • What if the virus is a trojan in an app installed from the app store? If the settings for the phones are to restore apps from other devices, I think the malware could spread. – Neil Smithline Jan 6 '16 at 21:46
  • You speak about reformatting disks and reinstalling the OS, but the question is about mobile devices. Do you mean factory reset the device? – Neil Smithline Jan 6 '16 at 21:47
  • Yes, factory resetting the device should have the same effect in theory, but it probably depends on the manufacturer, what the factory default process entails. – Allison Wilson Jan 6 '16 at 22:00
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While the original thought is that it would be very unlikely from the virus to move through your gmail to a new phone, I will need to further research the claim by @Neil Smithline that logging into g-mail causes applications to synch / logs you into your old phone, as that could be a significant cause for concern.

Usually, logging into your e-mail would not give you a virus, but this may be a special case. Viruses can and do spread through e-mail, primarily if you open an infected attachment, or follow a link to a malicious site, and you open that attachment or malicious link. It is good practice not to follow links or open attachments in e-mail sent from people you don't know. Even when you do know the person, exercise caution here.

You will likely be able to remove the virus on your current tablet with an antivirus product for Android. You can Google "antivirus for Android" to get some current choices to choose from, some of which are free.

As @Addison Wilson points out, changing your passwords is very important because the virus may have compromised them. If you have the expertise, reformatting / reinstalling your device would be a good measure to take as well to ensure the virus is fully removed.

  • On Android, signing into Gmail can sign you into your phone which will cause apps and lots of other stuff to sync. This can spread malware. – Neil Smithline Jan 6 '16 at 21:48

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