About 15 or 20 years ago, the term “antivirus” went viral. Not in the sense that we think of things going viral on the Internet today, but it was a buzzword that everyone knew, and it struck fear in the hearts of computer users everywhere.
However, many operating systems today have evolved into mostly self-sufficient products when it comes to security. So, what about antivirus for Android? Are Android devices immune to the pitfalls of viruses and other security threats? And what is the best antivirus for Android smartphones? Let’s find out together.
Android became popular on the principle of its openness. Compared to platforms like iOS, you can unlock, root, and customize your Android device any way you like. You can download APKs and apps from almost anywhere, and you can install a different version of the Android OS, too.
For Android users who aren’t adventurous enough to want to do any of these things, then your device is already pretty secure, but the more you use your device and the more apps you install, the more you put your device at risk for harm.
You see, not even the Google Play Store is 100% safe. Android continues to improve security year after year, including the Play Protect feature that scans the Play Store for dangerous apps and removes them. Play Protect will also scan local apps stored on your device.
This is a great feature, but it’s not airtight. In 2017, tens of thousands of users downloaded apps posing as QR code scanners and alarm clocks containing a Trojan virus. The virus inside the app tricked users into granting complete access to their devices, leading to a loss of a large amount of personal data.
Last year, 36 apps posing as security software were installing malware on Android devices, triggering false alerts and earning big revenue numbers from the ads that supported them. They also requested access to large amounts of user data.
Android also tends to fragment their updates and release them very slowly. Not all Android users will receive the most recent update right away. Certain devices, carriers, and residents of specific countries get preference over others.
So while others are reaping the benefits of being in the right place at the right time, you could very possibly be days or weeks behind in the latest security and system updates, putting your device at risk.
The best advice we can give you is not to download apps if you don’t know what they are or who they’re from. Because of Android’s openness, anyone can develop an app for the Play Store. Some of these third-party app developers are reputable, and some are not.
Malicious apps are the number one threat to your Android security and double-checking the legitimacy of the app before you download it will keep you safer than any Android update. However, there are still things you can do to keep your personal information even more secure.
The best antivirus for Android smartphones will get you advanced security at a reasonable cost. Check out our list of top-rated antivirus for Android products on the market today for security, safety, and bonus features that will cost you less.