Android Virus Checker: Do you need it?

Android Virus Checker Do you need it

Android has grown a lot during the last ten years and become the most used operating system, therefore, making it an attractive target. Do you need an Android virus checker?

Software enterprises are usually pushing a virus scanning app of some sort. However, Android and other mobile platforms have their roots in the modern era when programmers understood the dangers of the internet, and so by its very own nature, the system is much more secure than a desktop computer running Windows.

So it is questionable whether these security apps are really needed. Probably, Android already got what it’s needed to keep your device safe.

Android’s open design is inherently more prone to malware than iOS, but despite that, it comes with several smart built-in security measures to protect your phone or tablet.

For its nature, Android makes it impossible for any app to be installed without your explicit permission. The ability to install apps from other sources rather than the Google Play Store is even disabled by default. And for principle, all apps in the Play Store are trusty and won’t harm your device.

But, more important, you should know Android already has its own native malware scanner which is constantly monitoring all of the running apps in the background, warning you if there is some malicious attempt.

Also, it runs a safety check on apps from the Play Store before you download them. It is Google Play Protect and you can check it by going to Settings > Google > Security > Google Play Protect.

Android Virus Checker
Android Virus Checker

Table of Contents

  1. Do Android viruses exist?
  2. How do Android phones get viruses?
  3. What to do when you see a generic Android virus warning?
  4. Best Android virus scanner
    1. Scan Android for viruses online
  5. How to clean Android virus
  6. List of Android viruses
  7. iOS vs Android malware statistics
  8. Wrap Up

Do Android viruses exist?

Yes, they do. There’s no running from the fact that Android viruses do exist and Android phones can get viruses and malware. Viruses are often associated with computers, usually desktop or laptop computers running Microsoft Windows.

However, with the increasing popularity and use of smartphones and tablets and the personal data they contain, viruses and malware have started to target these devices.

How do Android phones get viruses?

The most common way for a smartphone or tablet to get infected is by installing apps from dubious sources. If the app contains a virus or malware embedded in its code, it will diffuse to the device’s operating system.

We are talking about apps you will no longer find in the Google Play Store and you can only get through external *.APK download platforms.

There is no review of the code, and no need for the developer to give up their personal information. While this makes developing software easier, it definitely makes for software that is much more insecure and troublesome.

That said, a little caution when installing apps from other sources than the Play Store should be taken to keep your device clean and healthy. If you only install apps from secure and reputable sources, it is highly unlikely that your phone may become infected.

E-mails are also a possible way for your phone to get a virus. Reading an e-mail would not cause any harm, but opening an attachment, like a text file, an Excel spreadsheet, or even a PDF that contains a virus or malware, will contaminate the whole smartphone’s OS.

There is also Android malware from websites that may put your phone at risk by making attempts to remote control it, or to phish private information from it. Avoid visiting insecure or suspect web pages, usually related to piracy or other illegal activities. That will highly reduce the risk of getting an Android virus from web browsing.

Android virus sending text messages is also a possible way to infect an Android phone. If you receive a text message with a link to an Android application package (.APK) file containing a copy of a piece of malware, it can also harm your device. You should never open links or attachments from messages of unknown senders.

What to do when you see a generic Android virus warning?

Generic Android virus warning is usually fake. A pop-up window will appear and warns you that your Android is infected with a virus, and invites you to run a scan to remove the malicious software from your device.

Never follow that procedure! It will redirect you and induce you to install some malware that will probably harm your phone and infect your Android with a virus.

Keep in mind that most of the time when you really have a virus on your Android device, you won’t be advised by any warnings.

Best Android virus scanner

Despite being very secure by its very own nature as explained above, you may be interested in rising your device’s security level to a fool-proof extent. Those are some of the best Android virus scans you can find:

  • Bitdefender Anti-Virus Free
  • Avast Mobile Security
  • Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus
  • McAfee Security and Power Booster Free
  • AVG

They all provide a bunch of useful features to keep your Android with maximum protection.

Scan Android for viruses online

Tired of installing and uninstalling virus scanners on your phone? You can opt to scan your Android device for viruses online.

It’s a good alternative as the installation is not required and it would work from the phone’s browser. Also, they are free, so you don’t need to pay for a license or even do regular updates.

Like the installed versions, they will help you to figure out whether there is a virus on your phone and they will also search for spyware or malware and remove it.

Some good online virus scanners you can use without installation:

How to clean Android virus

Aside from sluggish performance and decreased battery life, one of the most commonly known symptoms of an Android virus is that the web browser is redirecting to a gambling site, a porn site or you are experiencing dodgy pop-ups.

In such instances, the first step to do is clear your browser cache in the browser’s own settings menu.

If the problem persists, uninstall any suspicious apps you don’t remember downloading or that you got outside the Google Play Store.

Run an Android virus removal tool, it’s the most certain mean of confirming malware on a device. If the first scan doesn’t find anything, you may want to download a second anti-malware app and try again.

If none of the above-stated solves your problem, you may need to take a more drastic option and perform a factory reset, which will clear all your device’s data and restore it to the original settings.

List of Android viruses

There are millions of Android viruses. Here is the top ten of the most common viruses out there. Top Android viruses list 2019:

  1. FakeInst:
  2. OpFake
  3. SNDApps
  4. Boxer
  5. GinMaster
  6. VDLoader
  7. FakeDolphin
  8. KungFu
  9. Basebridge
  10. JIFake

Most of these viruses were found in dozens of Android apps that are available to download outside the Google Play Store, on third-party websites.

iOS vs Android malware statistics

Android devices are nearly 50 times more likely to be infected by malware than iOS devices. The fact that Android is open source makes it more vulnerable. Its open design is inherently more exploitable than iOS.

In iOS, the source code isn’t released to app developers and the owners of iOS devices aren’t able to modify the code themselves either. The iOS operating system is designed to limit access to core functionality and the ability to execute actions and code that would interact with core functionality. Doing so makes iOS less versatile but more secure and less likely to get infected.

Also, Apple is strict on getting its users to keep their operating system up-to-date, while most Android devices with more than a couple of years are running on security-obsolete Android versions.

Wrap Up

Bear in mind that there isn’t a 100% secure device or operating system. Android viruses are by no means as prevalent as media outlets want you to believe, and your device is much more at risk of theft than it is a virus.

But it is true, that Android viruses do exist, and some caution has to be taken when installing non-official apps, as there are a lot of Android apps with viruses.

Also, bypassing suspect webpages to avoid android malware from websites is a wise move.  So, do you need an Android Virus Checker? Despite the efficiency of Android’s own native malware scanner, a decent third-party antivirus app can provide you some extra peace of mind.

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