The Avast Guide to Android Apps Part 1: This guide teaches you how to identify malicious apps and keep them off your Android phone.
By now, you should be familiar with that sudden bout of uncertainty as you are gearing up to install a new application. How do you check if an Android app is safe to install? Does it have a virus? What does a malware app even look like? If you have ever felt threatened at the prospect of installing a fake app masquerading as a fan-favorite, then this guide is for you.
From malware to overheating and more, smartphones today suffer from the same issues PCs do. In this four-part guide, we reveal every threat you and your trusty sidekick can face, and how to outsmart them.
In Part 1, we discuss all the common malware that can infect an Android smartphone and how to deal with it. Part 2 delves deeper into virus infections, and Part 3 deals with overheating issues. Finally, in Part 4 we reveal how to manage your app permissions such that no one can ever see that hidden folder on your phone. Ever.
Let’s begin by filling you in on the tell-tale signs of a malicious app.
Often disguised as legit applications, mobile malware can spy on user activity, steal sensitive data such as credit card/bank details, and send that data to third parties. Chief culprits found here include…
Google has its own anti-malware solutions in the form of built-in protection on Android devices and Google Play Protect. The latest Android version called Pie also has very robust security features which disable camera and mic for background apps and compiler-level security for detecting dangerous app behaviors.
While these technologies are quite powerful, they have no rule over the permissions you may grant (perhaps unwittingly) to other apps. In other words, it’s best you know what to look for if you want to ensure there are no unsavory surprises waiting in store.
So, how can you make sure that really interesting new app isn’t going to infect your device? Here are a few ways to find out…
Even though some can be cleverly designed, the vast majority of fake apps are quite easy to spot if you look at it the right way. Keep the following in mind...
Click on “view details” under app permissions
before installing to see what the app
needs access to. If something does not
seem right, don’t install the app.
Red alert! Your failsafes have failed and your phone is staring into the abyss! Fear not, we’ve got you covered. Consider the following steps to get your phone back up and running in no time…
Always remember you have the option to call in reinforcements to secure your front lines. There is no shortage of mobile cybersecurity suites on the market, but make sure you vett the product before you purchase. There would be no greater irony than for you to install what you think is cybersecurity, when in reality the program only causes more harm. Third-party labs like AV-Comparatives and AV-TEST independently examine and compare cybersecurity products. Look at their reviews and results before committing to a brand.
Our own solution, Avast Mobile Security for Android, is free to install and offers the following safety-ensuring features:
With Android Pie, Google is bringing its most advanced AI and machine learning technologies to the consumer front, which will no doubt add a whole new layer of security to your smartphone.
But, as mentioned above, most malware apps target user inattention as their entry choice. Simply put, they are counting on your ignorance and complacency. If you willingly give permission to an app to access your mobile device, then there is little that Google, or any other software-maker, can do.
Practicing due diligence is your only defense against such apps. For the most part, safety boils down to a good dose of healthy suspicion and a little bit of patience.
Next week in The Avast Guide to Android Apps — All hell has broken loose! Your phone has a virus, and you’re one wrong move away from losing all your selfies! Or, have you already lost them? What should you do? Stay tuned...