Guide | How To Common tips to protect your Android devices without an Antivirus app

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Thread author
Staff Member
Jan 8, 2011
Originally a response to a comment made on Battle - Best free antivirus for Android--or no antivirus?, but thought it was best to create a new topic.

Android malware or adware can be either found pre-installed by your manufacturer [1][2], whether intentional or not. Or other times it's the user's mistake for installing apps from unknown source to bypass some restrictions (ie. cracked apps).

The Play Store, Aurora, F-Droid, or APKMirror (site) are generally considered safe places for Android app downloads.

It is important to address the following notes:
  • Android devices that no longer eligible for OS updates, or security patches will not be addressed.
  • Yes, it is known that harmful apps can bypass Play Protect and other safeguards
  • Bots and paid actors can write fake reviews to hype up a new App with positive ratings
  • Not all open-source apps will be used for the better, and not all proprietary apps are evil
  • Some apps require obscure permissions to function the way are intended to.
  • What is the App Defense Alliance and why is it part of Play Protect?

How Android users can protect themselves:
  1. Read the app reviews (are they generic or unique?)
  2. Check permissions
  3. Research the developer (ie. Google has removed almost all Cheetah Mobile apps from the Play Store)
  4. Block app Internet access (NetGuard, TrackerControl, AFWall+ (root), or through your VPN)
  5. Keep Play Protect enabled
Switch to alternate free and open source apps with F-Droid and repeat steps 1-4.

Users can see App permission before tapping install. These are visible on both the app and desktop site.

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