Skip to Content
© Suttipun Degad | Dreamstime.com
Smartphones & gadgets

How to protect your Android from malicious apps

Considering the laundry list of calamities in 2020, it might come as no surprise that malicious apps and scams are on the rise. If Android is your platform of choice, now is the time to make sure your device is protected and you are not at risk of having your data and finances compromised.

We always recommend only downloading apps from the Google Play Store, as third-party app stores are not as secure. But, sometimes malicious apps will even make their way into official app stores. Tap or click here for a recent list of 30 apps infecting Android devices.

In 2020, there are more malicious apps available for download than there were last year, and fraudulent mobile transactions are on the rise, but what should you look out for and how do you check your device for troublesome apps? Read on to learn exactly how to protect your device and what you’re protecting your device from!

Malicious Android apps and mobile scams are on the rise

According to a report by Upstream, there were more than 29,000 malicious Android apps in Q1 of 2020 as compared to the 14,500 malicious apps identified in the same quarter of the previous year. The first quarter of 2020 also saw a massive 55% spike in fraudulent mobile transactions as compared to the same time period in 2019.

What this means is there are more dangerous downloads out there than ever. If you’re unlucky enough to install one of these applications, your device could slow down, personal data could be compromised, and in extreme cases, even your credit cards and banking information could be accessed without your consent.

Many of these dangerous apps aren’t just malicious behind the scenes and can attempt to trick and/or scam less experienced users into spending money unnecessarily. In this sense, children and older family members can be particularly at risk, and if they happen to use your phone, you could be at risk too.

How to protect yourself from malicious Android software

It’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to securing your Android device, though, because keeping yourself safe in the digital world is easy on Android. As you go about your day and use your device normally, simply keep in mind these two things:

  1. Watch out for suspicious attachments and files sent to you, especially if they’re coming from a person or address you don’t recognize.
  2. When downloading apps from the Google Play Store don’t assume they’re safe because it’s on the store. Be sure to read reviews and if you are at all concerned about the app’s safety, don’t download it. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

If you follow these best practices and make sure anybody that uses your Android does as well, it’s likely you’ll be able to avoid infection. But how can you be sure your device is secure right now, and what happens when you can’t tell if a file or application is safe to download?

An antivirus app on your Android device is the answer to all of these concerns. Fortunately, there are a large number of antivirus apps available that range in price and offer different kinds of mobile protection, and most popular applications will get the job done and keep your device safe.

Want to be sure you download the antivirus app that’s right for you? Tap or click here to see the top 5 Android antivirus apps.

Once you’ve installed an antivirus application from the Google Play Store, like the popular and free Avast Antivirus, there’s usually nothing more you’ll have to do, as your new antivirus software will likely automatically scan your device and protect it from future intrusion. But if peace of mind is what you’re after, manually scanning your device is easy:

  • From the Google Play Store, download and install the antivirus application of your choice.
  • Once the installation is complete, launch the app and manually start a scan yourself.
  • With antivirus software like Avast, this is done automatically, but the app also offers easy access to scan your device whenever you’d like for all kinds of malicious software.
  • Automatic scanning, depending on your device and your application of choice, will only happen so often, so if you’re ever concerned about your device’s security, a pre-preemptive scan is always a good idea.

What happens if you are careful with what you download and your antivirus software detects something sinister, like a virus? Tap or click here for signs your Android has a virus and what to do about it.

Komando Community background

Join the Komando Community!

Get even more digital know-how and entertainment within the Komando Community! Watch or listen to The Kim Komando Show on your schedule, read Kim's eBooks for free, and get answers in the Tech Forum.

Join Now