Robbie

Level 28
Verified
Content Creator



Antivirus for mobile devices? Yes, in my opinion, a waste of RAM, ROM and battery life.

To start with, what's Android malware?

A virus is a type of malicious software (malware) program, the likes of which have been infecting your PCs for decades. As the Android platform has developed and became more widely used, so too has the number of potential threats to the system. Viruses don't actually infect Android, because they don't self-replicate, but the term gets used nonetheless.

Security reports – usually from antivirus and security companies – regularly tell us that the threats are on the rise. Whether you believe these reports or, think they're simply trying to scare you into installing an app, it's a good idea to know as much as you can about Android viruses and where they come from.

Where can you get Android malware from?


The biggest malware data base from Android is indeed the Play Store, offering thousands of apps. But there are plenty of other delivery mechanisms for viruses and malware. Emails with attachments – much like the ones you get on your PC – or MMSs that get automatically downloaded, hacks on popular apps such as WhatsApp, phishing scams, fake apps, APKs you've installed manually (outside of the Play Store) or clicking suspect download links, among others.

Why you don't need one?

-Permission Manager: you have listed every permission every app uses and have the option to disable a specific permission on an app. For example, there's no need why AirBrush Photo Editor would need your location, you can disable that permission from the app settings.
-Wipe, track and block phone: it's already included on Google's security options, no need to install Avast for that.
-You can create extra system accounts with less privileges to maximize security on daily basis.
-Device Administrator: built-in tool to enable and disable who can administer your device.
-Unknown sources: by default, and just in case you downloaded an infected Play Store app, no apps will be able to download from anything but the original Play Store-
-Credential storage: manage, install, or clear certificates on your device.
-Trust agents: set features like Trusted Places or Trusted Voice.
-Usage access: manage what apps have access to app-usage data on your device.
-App veryfing: Google will run a verification every time in a while to check apps and their permissions.


The bottom line is there's absolutely nothing wrong with these companies offering alternatives to existing services, especially if it gets people actively thinking about keeping themselves secure. It's just that in terms of malware protection you're probably already protected by Google — or just by common sense. Don't click on suspect links in unsolicited emails or text messages. Don't install an app that mysteriously downloaded itself to your phone or tablet. Only use reputable app stores like Google Play or the Amazon Appstore.

The reputable antivirus software companies out there are fully aware that there's no need for an active scanning tool on most phones and tablets, and that's why you see so many other features in these apps now.

Discuss.
 
D

Deleted member 65228

Android is actually a big target nowadays for malware attacks, I even heard about a new type of ransomware which works by uploading personal user documents such as Photos and threatening to leak them unless a ransom payment is transacted by the target to the attacker. Apps on the Google Play store make a lot of traffic (and attackers have found ways to get malicious apps posted on there), and attackers know that a lot of people have banking applications, e-mail and a large contacts list stored on their devices.

Users being aware of the permissions when installing applications is useful but you'd be surprised at how many people actually pay attention to it. I am sure many people ignore it, the same way a lot of us "forget" to read Terms of Service/Usage agreements.

A lot of security software on Android is free to download and use for both on-demand application scanning and real-time protection.

I myself do not use security on Android because I do not use much. I use my phone for 8 ball pool and texting, I don't download things and I only browse trusted sites. But anything can happen, maybe one day I will make a mistake and there will be nothing to potentially save me.
 
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Slyguy

Level 42
Verified
Why you don't need one?

-Permission Manager: you have listed every permission every app uses and have the option to disable a specific permission on an app. For example, there's no need why AirBrush Photo Editor would need your location, you can disable that permission from the app settings.
-Wipe, track and block phone: it's already included on Google's security options, no need to install Avast for that.
-You can create extra system accounts with less privileges to maximize security on daily basis.
-Device Administrator: built-in tool to enable and disable who can administer your device.
-Unknown sources: by default, and just in case you downloaded an infected Play Store app, no apps will be able to download from anything but the original Play Store-
-Credential storage: manage, install, or clear certificates on your device.
-Trust agents: set features like Trusted Places or Trusted Voice.
-Usage access: manage what apps have access to app-usage data on your device.
-App veryfing: Google will run a verification every time in a while to check apps and their permissions.
For one, most modern Android AV's consume almost no ram and very very limited battery life to the point that it's a triviality.. As for each of the other parts;

1) Permission manager is fine. However it IS nice when an AV notifies you of permission changes such as when a product updates, etc.
2) People use Google's Track/Wipe/Block? I disable both that and Samsungs crap stuff. It's used to spy. Go with Cerberus or Prey, and depending on the AV, it may have a very good system as well. Google is garbage for this IMO.
3) But how many people do this?
4) By default this is already disabled and offers limited benefits.
5) This isn't always the case. An already installed app can push an update from a malicious source. Unknown sources helps, but isn't bulletproof also there apparently has been hijacks that allow this to be stealth enabled. A secondary Antivirus product would notify you of this.
6) How many people know to do this and even where to do it?
7) By default, none do unless you allow them to. Malware is adept at circumventing this.
8) No thanks. I don't trust Google knowing every app and every permission. I much prefer third party notification of this.

With that being said, I find the FunnyCat VirusTotal to be stellar. Also I really like V3 (Ahn Labs) Antivirus because of all of the extra features, the flashlight on the lockscreen, the applock, etc.

Reasons to use a third party AV?

1) Applock - it is always wise to have a passkey to access individual apps. Often hijacks will try to launch other apps covertly but not with an applock. Also nice as a secondary defense.
2) Web Filtration - most good Android AV's also scan for malicious web activity.
3) SMS protection - most good AV's check for malicious SMS activity.
4) Installation Protection - most good AV's check installations BEFORE allowing them, a good extra feature.
5) System Protection - many good AV's keep an eye on system files to ensure they aren't tampered with.
6) ROOT detection - most good AV's detect rooting and notify you of it.
7) Call and SMS blocking - good AV suites have impressive blocking systems (usually)

To be honest, given how small of a footprint modern Android AV's have I think it's silly to not have one and to put your trust in Google? Forget it.
 

Solarquest

Level 33
Verified
Staff member
Malware Hunter
I don't agree....few point for this.....just the fact that 87% of Android devices don't run the latest version is scary (if memory serves, Nougat 7, not even 7.1.1 or 7.1.2).
Most phones don't get any updates anymore and since a long time...even worse.
MW can be downloaded form "safe" places as google play.
Many MW are not detected by Google and I don't think by the Android features listed above.
Users need a big (red) warning to avoid installing/allowing programs .....alerts that app "xyz" needs many permission don't scare enough users anymore, unfortunately (and few apps just do what they should without requesting unnecessary permissions).
Some phones get delivered with MW in the firmware (few, but it happened already)
Infected phones in a network can spread MW to other devices....better safe than sorry...
Many users don't know the requested "good habits" or not enough...
...
 

Robbie

Level 28
Verified
Content Creator
I will insist in that malware for Android is real, still antimalware solutions are not efficient enough to this day to be worth installing. Last time i ever saw malware on Android was in a chinese clon phone which a friend of the owner actually installed malware from the Store consciously to prank him. When they brought the phone to me, i tried to format the phone: did not work. I installed Norton, and Avast, and they said system was clean, while porn applications where being downloaded at the same time on the background. I installed Kaspersky, which detected a malicious application, and was useless at time of disinfecting the phone, only useful to tell me something i already knew.
 

Yoda

Level 3
Verified
I have zemana installed, but Active protection option turned off (to reduce unnecessary continuously cpu and memory usage).
I am only using it as "On demand scanner". I have only Anti-Keylogger enabled.
 

roger_m

Level 24
Verified
Content Creator
My phone has an antivirus included as part its customised version of Android. I have a few other antiviruses installed too, just to try out.

I've used many different third party app stores, mainly for updating existing apps, rather than installing new apps. I've also installed around 1,000 apps from the Play Store, and a few apps from APKs. Despite all of this, I've never got infected. That's not too say that I never will though.
 

Robbie

Level 28
Verified
Content Creator
To be honest, given how small of a footprint modern Android AV's have I think it's silly to not have one and to put your trust in Google? Forget it.
Is there an actual difference between getting spied by Google or an AV company? Data collection is real and you cannot avoid it. Want more privacy create your own OS :/
 
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Arequire

Level 23
Verified
Content Creator
Is there an actual difference between getting spied by Google or an AV company? Data collection is real and you cannot avoid it. Want more privacy create your own OS :/
I believe he meant he doesn't trust Google to adequately secure their own app store or for Google Play Protect to sufficiently detect infected apps.

As for me, I'd rather have an AV and not need it than need it and not have one.
 
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Solarquest

Level 33
Verified
Staff member
Malware Hunter
I will insist in that malware for Android is real, still antimalware solutions are not efficient enough to this day to be worth installing. Last time i ever saw malware on Android was in a chinese clon phone which a friend of the owner actually installed malware from the Store consciously to prank him. When they brought the phone to me, i tried to format the phone: did not work. I installed Norton, and Avast, and they said system was clean, while porn applications where being downloaded at the same time on the background. I installed Kaspersky, which detected a malicious application, and was useless at time of disinfecting the phone, only useful to tell me something i already knew.
AV are better at protecting the system than at detecting a threat and at deleting it.
Q&A - MRG Effitas Android AV review
Btw, ransomware on Android is booming....

macOS and Android: Both are booming malware markets (report from Malwarebytes)
 

Trooper

Level 6
Verified
I've run and av on my Android device off and on for years, however more off than on. Have recently tried Norton and Zemana. I dunno, for how I use my phone I do not feel that I need it. I only install third party apps on occasion from either F-Droid or APK Mirror. In all my years with Android never once had any malware. To me, it is not worth the wakelocks that a lot of them cause resulting in your battery depleting faster. Of note, currently not running an av on my Pixel XL.
 

Robbie

Level 28
Verified
Content Creator
It, of course, relies on how your Android life style is, and if you have browser or general tools. For example, if you have Android 7.1 Nougat, all updates installed, an ad-blocker and Google's built-in security measures enabled (the ones mentioned on the thread) and you do not downloaded crappy stuff, then most probably you don't need nothing else. On other cases, it's a good option.
 
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