- We review the advantages or disadvantages that installing an antivirus on an Android mobile can have, and we help you decide if it is essential.
Every year 1 or 2 important mobile “viruses” appear. One of the most talked-about in recent times was the famous Stagefright that we talked about a few years ago, which again opened about whether it is necessary to install antivirus for Android, either free or paid.
The theoretical function of these applications is to protect us from all types of malware, phishing, and other families. The point is that the amount of hazardous malicious software that can damage a phone is negligible, and therefore, roughly, Android terminals are not in danger of being infected.
For this reason, a virus that spreads becomes “famous,” as the one mentioned at the beginning, since it is rare in Android to suffer attacks of this type. And the reason why it is not common is not thanks to those antiviruses that some sell as the solution to all our ills. What’s more, these applications are not capable of detecting a potent virus in our terminal.
With this, we are not saying that they do not fulfill their function. These applications work and react well to basic or deprecated malware, such as tracking “cookies” or known malicious programs. But many of them have extra tools added, like the typical useless RAM cleaning or hardware acceleration. Although they also have others that can be useful at a given time, such as freeing up storage space.
- Android and malware, two old acquaintances
- How can I get infected?
- What is the best free antivirus for Android? The answer is in you
- I have deleted the infected app, but I am still infected
- So why are there antivirus apps on Android, and how do they work?
- In conclusion, should I worry about viruses on Android?
Android and malware, two old acquaintances
Malware is defined, understanding its direct etymology from English, as malicious software. In other words, it is malicious software that tries to infect your device, be it a PC, a smartphone, or any other electronic device susceptible to being attacked. At the beginning of the Google operating system, there was a lot of hysteria with this issue, and looking for the best antivirus for Android for free began to become more than a habit.
Denying that there is malware on Android would be meaningless since it does exist. However, it does not work the same as on computers, because unlike on computers, an application cannot work on Android if we do not permit it. On a PC, it is not strange that when browsing a web page, an executable file is downloaded to us – it happens especially to users with less practice, obviously – and if you are unlucky, it can stay on your machine without you realize.
If we browse an unsafe site and an APK tries to download, first, the user has to authorize the browser to download the file, and then he has to install the APK manually. Android security prevents APK files from automatically installing, so everything hosted on your terminal is your responsibility.
How can I get infected?
This is precisely the double-edged sword of Android APKs. On many occasions, we look for free or modified versions of some applications that are in the Play Store, and it is straightforward to replace the package of the app you are looking for with another with malicious code, which ends up affecting your terminal.
On the other hand, something more difficult to eliminate is the malware hosted in the Play Store. Although Google’s security controls are increasingly thorough, the danger still exists, and we can download a virus from the Google store without eating or drinking it. It would not be the first time that hundreds of malicious applications have been discovered that, of course, Google removes from the store once they are located.
What is the best free antivirus for Android? The answer is in you.
Fortunately, the Android permission management system allows us to identify a virus on our phones, or at least suspect that it may be. As you well know, said permission management in Android is manual; that is, for an app to be able to access the GPS, phone, camera, and others, you must accept said permissions one by one both when installing it in APK format, as well as the time to run it directly if it comes from the Play Store.
If you download a flashlight app, it doesn’t make sense for the package to ask for access to calls. If you download a calculator app, it doesn’t make sense to ask for camera permissions. In general, it is quite easy to detect the bad intentions of some developers, except in certain cases in which we have no escape.
There are also occasions when applications that do not ask for extra permissions and have “normal” behavior collect information about us to send it to external servers. Unfortunately, there is no way to discover this type of malicious software, although, luckily, it is less and less frequent. To avoid this, we recommend using the basic applications that come with your phone and not replacing them with third-party ones.
Thus, common sense plays a fundamental role in this phase. Although it can be tedious on some occasions, we will not waste more than a few minutes in reviewing the permissions that the application that we are going to install is requesting us. And if it does not inspire our confidence or we see something strange, we will have to avoid installing it.
I have deleted the infected app, but I am still infected.
If you have had bad luck installing an app that has infected your smartphone, and even by deleting it, you can not eliminate it, do not worry because there are solutions. In Android, there are always residual folders where you can continue to host files, in this case, malicious. It can be not easy to find the path where the files that infect you are still staying, so in these cases, a factory reset is best.
If you’ve reset your phone and it’s still infected, try installing a new ROM. With a clean ROM installed from scratch, your device will work as before it was infected.
So why are there antivirus apps on Android, and how do they work?
Downloading an antivirus for Android is normal for millions of users, mainly due to the lack of information and the fear that a virus will “enter.” For this reason, many of the developers that create these products for computers also develop their versions for mobile phones, and some of them have thousands of downloads.
As we have said during the article, these apps can be useful in certain circumstances. Still, we must emphasize the extra consumption of terminal resources that having them installed implies, spending large amounts of battery, RAM, and, ultimately, weighing down performance.
On the other hand, if the antivirus detects any unusual permission, it will warn you that the application is a virus, but this will not always be the case. False positives are usually common since many antivirus programs consider any app you install outside of Google Play dangerous.
In conclusion, should I worry about viruses on Android?
Really, no, you don’t have to worry about viruses on Android. , you must use the mobile phone with caution, as with any other electronic device. If you come across an intrusive page browsing, close it from the tabs. If any APK tries to install without your permission, reject the installation. If you installed an application from the Google store you have observed strange behavior of the terminal, delete it immediately.
The infinite catalog of Android applications makes it easy to find malicious content, but common sense is stronger than an antivirus. Responsible use of your mobile will avoid any malicious application, so download only the essential applications, do not browse suspicious pages, and enjoy your mobile since absolutely nothing will happen to it.
For all this, the best antivirus for your Android is yourself, and for free!
Sharlene Meriel is an avid gamer with a knack for technology. He has been writing about the latest technologies for the past 5 years. His contribution in technology journalism has been noteworthy. He is also a day trader with interest in the Forex market.