Dealing with Android Malware

Home Blog Apps Dealing with Android Malware
Dealing with Android Malware

Dealing with Android Malware

One of the greatest hurdles of the Android operating system is the battle against Android Malware. Just like the Windows operating system, Android is the most widely used operating system for mobile devices in the world. Thus, it is a prime target for malicious minds. While it may be a big negative factor to the OS, there are plenty of ways to deal with this issue without breaking away from your experience.

What is Malware?

Basically, malware is software that was meant to perform malicious behavior. This software can gather data about yourself, such as your credit card details, contact names, messages, passwords and any other personal information.

Malware can also elicit abnormal behavior, such as overheating, unwanted calls, and excessive data use. This can be detrimental to your life, which may include excessive bill charges as well as the destruction of the device itself.

Thankfully, in Android devices, the damage is usually very minimal compared to the PC counterparts of malware. Data manipulation and collection can still occur, but it all depends on the app itself and the permissions it uses. Android operates each app using individual virtual machines to avoid interaction between apps as much as possible.

Sources of Malware

Malware in a PC environment usually involves backdoor processes that are embedded in infected files and software. In Android, the only time you get malware is usually by installing an app that was designed as malware. Unless you explicitly install the app, no malware issues can occur. In essence, a smartphone with no third party applications is completely safe from malware.

Of course, a smartphone is not a true smartphone without apps, so it is practically impossible to maintain an app free smartphone. Since we can’t avoid installing new apps eventually, what you need to do first is to be careful of which apps you install.

Malware apps often come from third party Android app stores. While the Play Store has been known to slip up sometimes and let malware applications in the store, it is still the safest marketplace for apps. Third party stores may have their own way of keeping malware away, but oftentimes, they are where the malware apps thrive.

Types of Malware Apps

1. Low Quality Apps

Malware apps are often bundled together with low quality apps. These apps could be some random widget, a game with very low graphic quality, or an app with a weird name.  These apps are pretty obvious, but a lot of people still unwittingly install apps like these. Of course, not every low quality app is a malware infested one. It could be just the first try of beginner at Android app development.

2. The Placebo Apps

These apps are normally created with bait functions that provide a placebo effect. These placebo effects may range from speeding up your phone through some obscure process with no actual explanation, or speeding up your internet connection, which it cannot really do. It may just fiddle with your data speed recording, but it is not likely to really speed up your connection.

These apps claim to do what is not really possible through an app. These impossible tasks attract users to install the app for the benefit that it describes, only to find out that it doesn’t really do what it promises, but instead, it installs malware to your smartphone.

3. Imitation Apps

Some Malware apps are built as imitations of actual legit and popular applications. This type of malware thrives most in app stores that support piracy. An unknowing user may install a paid app though such means only to discover that it is not the app they wanted, but rather, a malware application.

In the news recently is the release of an imitation of the popular Swiftkey Keyboard paid app. The pirated app is actually a reengineered version of the original app that introduces a backdoor where every keystroke is recorded and sent to predestined site. It still works like the regular Swiftkey app, but this time, it gathers your typing data for a 3rd party to see.

What to do

When it comes to malware, prevention is key. Most malware is pretty easy to uninstall, which is just like uninstalling any other app. Of course, malware apps do not reveal themselves as malware right away. You may have to use it a few times or just hear about it in the news before you get suspicious. Since the only way to prevent any damage done is to prevent the installation of the app, here are a few ways to help detect a malware app:

1. Placebo

As mentioned before, if the app is too good to be true, better not install it. There is no real use for a placebo app other than pranking someone. You never know when the joke might be on you instead.

2. Take a look at the permissions

Permissions are a great way to figure out if the app is planning to do something it shouldn’t do. When you see a live wallpaper that has access to calling, you should know that it is not the intended function of the app and it could be an attempt at accessing data it shouldn’t need access to.

3. Avoid 3rd Party Markets

Needless to say, the most efficient way of avoiding malware is still to avoid a 3rd party markets. While the Play Store is still somewhat vulnerable to a certain degree, it is still the safest one around.

4. Avoid Piracy

While piracy in of itself is bad, another reason to avoid it is because pirated apps are basically retooled apps or cracked apps that may have been inserted with malware code. Remember, piracy is bad, and it is bad for you too.

5. Use Anti-Malware solutions

Apps like Lookout, Avast, AVG and the like are designed to protect you from installing a malware application. While these are definitely very useful in cases where you need to scan and detect malware apps, these apps are neither 100% accurate nor 100% effective. They can still fail from time to time so don’t rely on them too heavily.

6. Read User Reviews

Chances are that you are not the first user to install and try to use that app. Reviews are more than just a place to provide feedback. It is also a place where people rant if there are bugs or when they detect malware in the app. You should try to read the most critical reviews of the app and see. If there are enough people saying that it is malware, then chances are that it is a malware app.


Malware may indeed be a problem that is difficult to solve, but it is also a problem that is preventable. Vigilance is the key to preventing such problems arising from Android malware.

No Comments

Leave a comment