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Like a computer, a mobile phone is constantly connected to the Internet. So you think virus protection makes sense – but what’s the point?
According to Google, the Android virus scanner is unnecessary, after all, Google Play Protect has had a built-in virus scanner that scans apps in the PlayStore for some time. At first glance, the situation is similar to the situation on Windows, where Windows Defender is also a pre-installed virus scanner and you don’t need an alternative.
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But there’s a big difference: Windows Defender offers good protection, Google Play Protect doesn’t, at least Google’s virus scanner failed completely in our last test. The current AV-Test test confirms that the situation has not improved, where Play Protect scored only 2 points for the protective effect. Google Play Protect also ranked last in our partner AV-Comparatives, with weak protection and the most false alarms at the top.
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So antivirus software manufacturers are not entirely wrong when they release their own applications. Because Google has been fighting malware in the Play Store time and time again. However: In our opinion, Android Virus Scanner is not necessary if you are only looking for the best apps in the Play Store.
In other cases, you should take precautions with virus protection, especially if you like to try apps from alternative sources and don’t hesitate to explore every corner of the Internet with your smartphone.
Interestingly, you can also consider the Android virus scanner for other functions that are not primarily related to virus protection. Virus scanning applications combine different security functions in one central place. Android can already do this to some extent, but it spreads the settings system-wide.
Security functions such as a clear list of suspicious app permissions, anti-theft protection, child safety, surf protection, monitoring connections in messengers or WLAN security are clearly grouped in the protection application. This is definitely an added value.
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Many security applications come with additional modules, such as the option to block calls and SMS messages, or there are full system checks that check whether the most important security settings are set correctly. Trend Micro Mobile Security & Antivirus achieved the highest marks in the test.
Most of the concerns about Android virus scanners are directed against the increased consumption of resources. After all, the virus scanner is always running in the background and offers real-time protection. If you don’t want to do that, you can also install a helper like VirusTotal Mobile.
The application does not run continuously in the background, but optionally checks installed applications for malware. More than 50 virus scanning engines check applications and provide you with a quick report. Unknown apps can still be downloaded from the Security Checker app.
Important: VirusTotal Mobile does not protect your system, it just makes it easier to check. If malware is found, you must take care of removing it yourself.
The Best Antivirus For Android In 2022: Free & Paid For Apps
What not to do: Get a virus scanner, then dismiss all security concerns because a security app protects you. Don’t fall into this trap and think you are invulnerable. A virus scanner is only one piece of the security strategy puzzle. The following points are also important:
Microsoft is launching a preview version of its antivirus software for Android today. The software giant revealed that Windows Defender was coming to iOS and Android earlier this year, but didn’t fully specify what to expect. Now we get a good idea why Microsoft thinks Android needs antivirus protection.
The public preview for Android will include phishing protection and promises to go a step further than Google’s built-in malware protection with “additional visibility and controls” and its own signature-based malware detection. “Scans are performed instantly [to] detect malware and potentially unwanted applications (PUAs),” explains Kanishka Srivastava, senior program manager at Microsoft. “If a safe app is downloaded, the end user will see a light notification that the app is clean.”
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Microsoft’s web protection will include anti-phishing so that unsafe websites sent via SMS, WhatsApp, email or other apps are instantly blocked. Microsoft also uses its Defender SmartScreen technology to block insecure network connections that malicious apps may try to create without the user’s knowledge.
The preview of the Android app comes more than a year after Microsoft launched a public preview for its Defender antivirus on macOS. As a result, Microsoft renamed Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) to Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP), and the Mac client also provides complete protection against viruses and threats combined with the ability to quickly scan or witches.
Microsoft is also planning an antivirus app for iOS, although it’s clear that the company will be much more limited to what it offers on Apple’s operating systems. Apple installs iOS apps by default and prevents most end users from sideloading apps without an App Store. It is not yet clear what exactly the iOS version of Microsoft Defender will offer.
“In the coming months, we’ll be rolling out additional capabilities to Android, and you’ll hear more from us about our investments in mobile threat protection for iOS devices,” explains Rob Lefferts, corporate vice president of Microsoft 365 security.
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Antivirus software is supposed to protect our devices from malware, but what happens when the problem is the antivirus application itself?
A recent report by AV-Comparatives revealed that as many as 138 Android antivirus apps available on the Google Play Store fail to meet their antivirus detection obligations, and may even pose serious security risks to your Android device.
AV-Comparatives evaluated 250 antivirus apps on the Google Play Store by trying to install and run 2,000 known malicious apps, along with 100 benign apps. The site then ranked each antivirus application based on how many threats it correctly caught, as well as how many false positives it made.
Microsoft’s New Android Antivirus App Is Now Available In Preview
Of the 250 apps, 80 detected at least 30 percent of all threats and had no false positives, while 138 were determined to be “risky.” Apps have been rated “risky” because of one of the following factors:
While applications in the latter category are completely omitted from the test results, the report devotes a section to their discussion and comparison. One of the most interesting findings was that these applications tend to use similar detection methods, whitelists, and even user interfaces.
It’s also worth noting that some antivirus apps don’t work properly in the background on Android 8 or later. These apps can detect most threats during a manual scan, but won’t catch threats while running in the background. This is an obvious vulnerability, but since they work well otherwise, they are not labeled as “risky” per se. You can read the full results of the report here.
If your antivirus application is listed as risky in the AV-Comparative report, or if it falls below the accuracy range you’re comfortable with, there’s an easy solution: Get a new antivirus application. And if you don’t have an Android antivirus app and want recommendations, we’ve got you covered.
Do I Really Need Android Antivirus?
According to the report, 23 apps had a perfect accuracy score, including zero false positives. We support AV-Comparatives’ recommendation that you go with one of these: Important: Your current version of Windows is outdated and no longer supported. For your safety, we recommend upgrading to Windows 10 or Windows 11 before downloading the software. Update your version of Windows here.
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