The number of Android application available seems to be infinite as new applications are being developed and added each day. At present there are more than 0.7 million Android applications available at Android Market which is indeed a massive number. Majority of the applications are used by people like us to generate some productive output, perform some useful and dedicated work and also for entertainment and gaming purpose. Unfortunately the one and only disadvantage of using these applications is the possibility of our precious device getting infected from malwares.
For anyone who is an expert on the web and is experienced on Windows PCs might be aware of the terms virus and malware since they are nothing new for him while for new users these words may sound a bit alarming. Even though Android mobile platform is deemed to be more secured than other operating platforms such as Windows or other Java devices, chances of malware or virus attacks on Android devices can never be ignored. However Android users can still take their device’s security to the next higher level so as to avoid malicious apps from ruining their precious devices.
Most of the malicious apps can’t install themselves on your device instead they trick the users in order to get themselves installed in the user’s device. This technique is employed by a certain malware called malvertising that relies on other legal apps forcing users to click on the ads which in turn redirect to fake marketplace providing infected download of the apps containing malicious functions. Thus users must be very much careful while scanning the QR codes as it might also mislead to malicious apps. Testing unapproved apps is yet another reason that could lead to virus or malware attack. Some of the effects of malicious apps could be unauthorized purchases, record phone calls, stealing credit card details, personal info, account login and other information.
In such cases how are the basic and mid level users supposed to act? The best advice that is 100 % malware free is never to download apps or browse GPRS from your phone. But this solution seems to be practically impossible as it is against buying smartphones which are designed for the sole purpose to fulfill user’s requirements.
Well the good news is there are more practical steps that can reduce the risk of malicious attacks on your device. In this article we have come up with some practical preventive measures to avoid being affected from various malware attacks on your Android device.
Tip-1: The first and the easiest trick to stay away from malwares is to download the applications from trusted sources. Android Market is undoubtedly the officially recognized store for Android Applications and it has cleared the Google approval for listing. The Amazon App Store has also grown and is the secondary source from where you can download all legal and reliable apps. However we recommend you to go with Android Marketplace.
Tip-2: Apps that you download always have publisher name so you can always perform a check up and judge it by yourself. You can research for the publisher of the app and find out what other apps does it offer? If any of them look a bit shady its best if you stay away from it. Google team also adds
a ‘Top Developer‘ tag in case the provider is a rewarded developer. You can also check out the total download of any particular application globally.
Tip-3: Another way to ensure the safety of the app is to read the comments at Android Market for the particular listing of the app. Many users come and comment their views about an application. You can also read online reviews. Android Market reviews might not be always truthful. So browse around to see what other reputable websites quote about the app before you proceed to hit the download button.
Tip-4: Avoid installing the Android Package files (APKs) directly. For example when Angry Birds a popular gaming Android application first released, you could only get it through a third party. This technique is called “Sideloading” or installing apps using an .APK file. Although Angry Birds is not a malware, it is highly advisable not to download and install any random .APK files that you happen to come across. Most of the time you won’t know what the file contains until you install it and by then it would be too late. Be sure to download the app from a trusted source even though you download an APK file and if you find anything mis-spelled or mis-capitalized then restrain yourself from downloading that app.
Tip-6: Do not ever download any application by clicking on the advertisements present inside an app. Look for the application in Android Market instead. This will offer you security since the app is protected by Google’s consumer friendly refund policy. You must also understand that Android Market is not always 100% foolproof. Some apps might get affected with malware attack but Google’s algorithm removes those apps quickly and seldom you will find apps with malware.
Tip-7: Always check for app permissions. Whenever you download or update an app, you will receive a list of permissions. In case an app asks for more than what is required to do its job, it is to be skipped. Pay attention to the apps during the installation process. Be choosy while considering what information to give or reject during apps installation.
Tip-8: Put a malware or antivirus scanner in your Android device. Most of the people have this notion that antivirus scanners on phones are useless, that is not true. A number of different branded security companies are already offering mobile-security options for free. Thus it always recommended to have an antivirus app running on the background. AVG antivirus is one of the best known antivirus protection available for your Android devices since it uses only 0.1% of the device’s battery. Another antivirus software is Lookout that also functions pretty good.
What To Do If Any Malicious Apps Get Installed?
Human beings are born for committing mistakes and even if you are careful, chances of malware creeping into your phone is always there. Here is how you can provide the basic first aid for it for any malware or virus attack on your Android device.
If you discover that an app contains malware, first of all uninstall the application. Navigate to Settings > Application > Manage Applications and select the program to remove then click on ‘Uninstall’option. If this doesn’t work, try removing the application with the help of an antivirus scanning tool. And finally you can opt to go with the factory reset if nothing else works. Make sure to back up all your important data before proceeding with the factory update.