What are the real odds of getting infected?
If you’re wondering if it’s safe to forgo antivirus software on your Android phone, the answer is yes. The odds of getting a virus are actually very low. This is especially true if you make sure only to download apps from the Play Store and never from other sites or download services. However, even with these precautions, there are still some ways that someone could infect your device without your knowledge (but less likely). One way is through malicious links sent in a text message, which can be avoided by simply not clicking on links that come from unknown numbers. Other scams push users to visit a fake version of the Play Store where they unknowingly download malware disguised as an app. The best way to avoid this is by making sure that all apps are downloaded directly from Google’s app marketplace instead of other versions of the store made by third-party developers.
Most Android phones have a built-in scanner that runs automatically when you install an app or plug in an external drive like a USB thumb drive. This helps protect against unauthorized programs gaining access to important data stored on your phone at any time during normal use, but because it can’t completely prevent attacks, having extra protection isn’t harmful and may give users peace of mind about security concerns related to their mobile devices.
An antivirus app might not always be needed, but can provide useful protection.
An antivirus app can protect you against malicious websites and apps. If you think that’s not a problem with the way you use your phone–say, because your parents or teachers have restricted access to the Google Play Store, or because you download apps only from trusted sources–it may be that antivirus isn’t needed in your case.
On the other hand, there are some types of threats that even safe users can face. For example, a malicious text message could cause harm even if you don’t open it as long as it has certain vulnerabilities in its code (the same goes for a malicious email). Or malware might try to hide on your device’s storage. An antivirus app can protect against such threats and keep your phone secure without any action from you. Some will even help find your phone if it gets lost or stolen.
How would an attacker infect you?
Your Android device is a mobile powerhouse, packed with features and functions that can help you get things done. However, for all the technological goodness, security hasn’t been one of its strengths. Like many other types of malware in today’s world, an app on your device could be used to infiltrate your personal information and access your device itself.
For example, if you’re traveling or want to protect yourself while shopping online or checking messages on your phone, you might want to install an antivirus program. Antivirus programs can detect this type of malware and remove it from your device before it has a chance to do any damage.
Why should you get an antivirus app?
- Peace of mind: Having an antivirus app on your device will give you peace of mind knowing that if a threat is detected, the app is there to deal with it.
- Protecting your friends and family from attacks: If your Android device is infected with malware, hackers can use it to strike other devices connected to the same network and steal private data such as usernames, passwords, and banking details.
- Avoid being hacked: Even if you’re careful about which links and apps you click, sometimes malware still finds its way onto your device. An antivirus app gives you an extra layer of protection against new threats.
- Keep your data private: Most of our personal lives are stored digitally on our mobile devices today—emails, photos, contacts, etc. Losing this data or having it stolen would be devastating. By using an antivirus app, you can help ensure that no one has access to this sensitive information without your permission.
- Avoid wasting time and money dealing with an attack: Just like with PCs, fixing an infected Android device can be a big hassle at best and impossible at worst.
Are free antivirus apps good enough?
You’re better off with a free antivirus app than none at all, but premium Android antivirus apps generally offer more and better protection.
Another important consideration is whether you will be able to get a refund if the software doesn’t work. Some mobile antivirus products offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try them before you buy them. A guarantee like this will also protect your money if the software works poorly or not at all. Free Android antivirus apps typically don’t offer refunds, but some may come with a free trial period.
Paid antivirus software may also offer extra features that are unavailable in free versions, such as real-time protection against malware and viruses while they are trying to access your phone, or automatic updating of virus definitions so that your app stays up-to-date with the latest threats.
Is there a good Android antivirus app?
Not every premium antivirus app is worth your money. Some of the best free and paid antivirus apps for Android include:
- Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus
- Norton Security & Antivirus
- Avast Mobile Security
- McAfee Security & Power Booster
- AVG AntiVirus for Android
- Bitdefender Antivirus
- Lookout Security & Antivirus
Antivirus software can help protect your phone from attacks, but it’s not necessary for every situation.
How much do you value the data on your phone? I’m talking about all the contacts and photos, social media profiles and banking apps, online shopping accounts, and video games. If there’s a lot of personal information stored on your Android device, it might be worth considering purchasing an antivirus app. For most people, though, if you’re not concerned about malware or spyware stealing or corrupting your info, then there’s no need to buy an antivirus for Android—at least not for now.
Of course, if you have a Google Pixel 3 or newer running stock Android (meaning without any added software from a third party), then you can rest assured that Google Play Protect is scanning every app to ensure it’s safe.