Android Malware: Google's Advice

To protect your Android phone from a virus or malware, Google suggests downloading the free version or purchasing their MalwareBytes from the Play Store. (See their advice below). The paid version is $11.99 p/yr. The irony here is Google’s well known problem with malware apps available for download. Google can’t keep up with it.

Regarding any concern about battery drain I do not know how much MatwareBytes may drain but my typical Norton Mobile Security is always 1% whenever I check. It is always on, of course, and works in the background.

From Google’s website:

Protect your device from problem apps

  1. Make sure Play Protect is on:
  2. Open your Android device’s Google Play Store app Google Play.
  3. Tap Menu Menu and then|autox18 Play Protect.
  4. Turn on Scan device for security threats .
    Consider purchasing and downloading an anti-malware app, like Malwarebytes.

I considered it. I don’t feel the need for it. I try to stay away from shady apps and websites. I’ve used Malwarebytes on my PC, but usually only after one of the nephews comes over and downloads a bunch of ■■■■.

The article you referenced is a troubleshooting article if you are having unwanted pop-ups. It’s not general advice to all android users.

As an IT Professional and Android user, I don’t see the need to install anti-malware on my Android device. I only install apps from the Play Store and try not to visit suspicious sites. I will note that older Android versions that are no longer being updated will have more security vulnerabilities than newer versions. Which is why I buy smartphones that get updates.

Android was built and designed very differently than older operating systems, such as Windows. Android was designed with security in mind and has built-in security features, which wasn’t on the designer’s radar when Windows was first designed. The average user does not have to install a third-party anti-virus on their android device. Anti-virus/malware apps tend to hog system resources and cost money, which is a con for installing them. There is nothing wrong in choosing to install anti-virus/malware apps. That’s an individual choice to make.

Some references:


I’ve used 6 different android devices over the past 8 years and I’ve never had a single instance of Malware/Viruses on android. It all comes down to common sense to a point.


This isn’t always enough though.
There are documented cases of bad apps with active malware in the Google Play store.
It is an ongoing issue, just search most any smartphone centric tech news site and you will find recent lists of bad apps that were discovered, sometimes after years of use, that have had malware in them of varying degrees.

Google seems to have to play catchup. Apple has had bad apps to in thier app store, however, it seem much more rare for malware/bad apps on iOS so i have read. Google Store also has millions of what are clones of other apps…so many camera or torch apps, it drive one mad. Sticking to well rated, and paid ad free versions of apps, is best practice. Read the reviews for the app before u install it…and read alot of them, not just a few. Or free but Open Source apps.

That being said, yes, i used to run ESET and Malwarebytes on a smartphone in the past, and even when I was mass installing random apps, those that give u rewards, gift cards etc, questionable apps etc, those so called security apps never alerted or found any issues…ever. I even installed them on my grandparents phones for a while, to see if they helped combat the random junk apps that “the phone installed it self” they say, that were ad serve machines and took over the phone. nope, nada.

Those apps biggest issue, is updates and detection. These apps are not like the software’s used on PC. Zero day exploits are near impossible to protect from. Active exploits or whatever new comes out in some shaddy app, often takes much time to become known, code made to fight and remove it, then that info sent and those security app updated. By then, the bad app has been removed by Google and has already done its work on the users phone.

In my opinion, having those apps on your phone is useless, a placebo. Should you get actual malware somehow on your phone, factory reset it. and keep frequent backups of your data. But your typical, shaddy, ad nutty apps, most often, can just be uninstalled and cause no real harm.

True. I’d call it low risk for most people. It’s a low enough risk for me as I keep apps to a minimum and know to keep an eye out. Some people just have a knack for installing bad apps.

Very true. Well put.

Honestly, what scares me more than bad apps and popups is shady privacy policies. Some places have no respect for your data. I’m currently hyper aware of that issue because I’ve had to review a few the last few months. There is no such thing as free.


(Update since making the post below: Phone stop ringing again. )

  1. A factory reset of a Republic phone should be a last resort.

I’ve built all our computers since 1987. Unix versions, Linux, Windoze, OS2. I don’t believe I missed an OS that came along in my home office. I was an OS systems analyst in the '90’s. I am a charter subscriber to Wired. I’ve learned one big lesson. An ardent defender of their chosen operating system will seldom acknowledge glitches in their OS.

The conversation here has been focused on the effectiveness of Android’s native virus protection and is or is there aint malware in the Play Store. The aftermarket security apps - the big guns, not some strange app in Play Store - offer more than virus traps and those few features are something vanilla Android should have but does not and that’s why I like the added features.

Overseas you will definitely benefit by having more robust security on your phone than native Android and that is also while taking all the usual precautions of not logging into hotel, cafe, etc. WiFi or downloading apps or lighting-up your financial institution app like a dummy while over there.

My problem with Android was solved with a simple reset (…for a while. Phone stopped ringing this morning). Yes, I did try that twice the first day before the ghost in the machine on a different day was exorcised on the third attempt. With any OS you could grow old trying to find the reason for some magical repair. When something like that happened at work we would all just smile, go for coffee and let everyone think we were geniuses.

I’d love to discuss more but my wife’s notebook has a couple of settings the latest Win10 push decided to obliterate. Gotta hop. This is my last post on this dead horse.

If this is the issue you are having, that is not Malware related, but a fairly common issue that some here have had. It can be caused by any one of many factors. Coverage, Doze mode, and issue with the wifi network it is on…

If you wish to troubleshoot the issue of your phone not ringing, the community would be happy to help you with that, though it may be best to start a new thread on the topic.

I can’t seem to find any mention of what phone make and model you have, but that would be a good starting point.

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