One question that is asked by majority of Android users is that whether their devices can be infected with an Android virus? Is it even possible? What are the chances of having a virus in an Android device? Today, we are going to answer such type of questions for you and explain that can Androids get Viruses and affect your smartphone OS, Apps and personal data on the phone.
Even on PCs, virus usually comes in the form of malicious software. You installed something (a malware) and it infected your system with viruses. Same goes for Android smartphones and tablets. Technically, there is no standalone Android virus but there are malicious apps containing viruses that infect your device such as Android 5.0 Lollipop OS devices Nexus 6, 5 and Nexus 9 and 7 tablets.
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What is an Android Virus?
First things first, what is an Android virus? How will you define an Android virus? Traditionally, a “virus” is a program that disguises itself and tricks the operating system by attaching itself with another program. On a PC, this is possible but on a smartphone running Android, not possible. The reason behind this is that there haven’t been any single instance reported where an Android device is actually infected by a virus that resides inside the Android OS without the user’s knowledge.
Can Androids Get Viruses, How your Android Smartphone is Infected?
Android is the most popular operating system for smartphones and there are hundreds of devices running Android OS. It is also the most open and customizable OS. This open nature of Android allows hackers to develop apps which look like decent looking mobile apps but in real are malware apps.
The safest place to download and install an Android app is through a reputable app store like Google Play, Amazon app store etc. Apps are published on such stores after security testing but still some of the apps bypass it but it’s very rare. Eventually, these app stores catch such apps and ban the accounts. The biggest source of malware apps are the third party sites or app stores. And most of these apps are available for free to attract users. A user finds a free version of an app which is for few $ on Google Play on a third party app store and he/she downloads it without thinking for a second that it could be a potential malicious app.
What Do These Malicious Apps Do?
The most common thing that such apps do is to collect user’s personal data. Just before pressing the “Install” button, there’s a list of permissions required by the app that are shown to user. Once a user agrees and installs the app, there is no going back. Now, these apps, without the knowledge of user, can do any of the following
· Access GPS location, contact lists, email addresses etc. and send it to third parties.
· Record voice calls and SMSs.
· Download more malicious content.
· Send SMSs to unauthorized numbers without the user consent.
· Show forced ads on lock screen, startup etc. on which user has to click in order to go through.
How to Protect your Android device?
1) There are few basic things that you need to take care off while installing Android apps. The first thing that you have to do is to download a mobile security app or an Android antivirus app that will instantly catch a malicious app and notifies you.
2) The second thing is your judgment. Be very careful what you choose to install. Don’t install every other app you see. Always read some comments or feedback about the app before installing it.
3) The third thing that you need to adapt is to always download and install apps from reputable sources. It is always good to avoid newly published apps or new developers who don’t have any previous app history. Better look for apps from trusted developers and companies.
4) And finally, uncheck the “Install from unknown sources” option in the “Device Administration” menu inside Apps in Settings. This way, you will always be warned if you try to install an app that can cause you trouble.
Google is working really hard on removing all sorts of malicious apps from Google Play and is also making Android more efficient in detecting such apps and making it hard for hackers to access user’s data easily. As of now, there are just 1% of Android devices infected worldwide but what if you are a part of that 1%? Just following the above mentioned precautions and you are good to go.
This guide would be useful to know whether can Androids get viruses and how to to protect your Android smart phone and tablet from the modern internet threats and Apps vulnerabilities.