Do you need Mobile Antivirus software?
What does Malware do on Android Devices?
There are a few main functions of malware on Android devices:
- Ransomware: these programs limit access on the compromised device, such as preventing users from launching applications. They demand payment in order to regain access of the device.
- SMS Trojans: These apps secretly send texts to premium numbers, raising users’ phone bills through the roof.
- Adware: Adware automatically shows advertisements on the user’s device, often in the notification tray. Note that these applications are considered a “gray area”, as they may not cause serious harm to users’ devices, but are very much annoying.
- Spyware: Spyware is a less specific term than the others in this list, however it encompasses all malware that aims to collect data from its users, such as credit card and account passwords.
How do you get Malware on your Device?
While Amazon AppStore is fairly trustworthy, sticking with Google Play is still the safest course for most users.
The most common way of getting malware on Android devices, by far, is installing infected APK files from third-party sources. This can be a big issue with pirated keyboard apps, as even if they work, they could contain a keylogger, recording every keystroke you make. Of course, if you don’t pay attention, shady websites may end up downloading malicious files onto your device, but they require the user to open and install them in order to have effect.
In short, if common sense regarding shady websites are used, your device is will likely be fine. For less tech-savvy users (such as those who may confuse a fake download advertisement with a real download button), an antivirus application may be a good solution in theory. However, there are quite a number of mobile antivirus apps, so which should be used?