It seems like many Android owners have had what they consider to be a “virus problem” on their devices. Malware and viruses are a common occurrence no matter what kind of phone a user has, but it’s not something anyone should worry about. All a user needs to do is pay attention to what they are downloading whenever they are using their device.
Android Devices Are Mostly Secure
Android devices have a secure operating system for the most part. Improvements to their technology over the last couple of years have made this statement truer. New mainstream devices include a locked bootloader which prevents unauthorized access to the partition that’s located inside of the system. Sideloading non-approved applications is, by default, also disabled.
Sideloading applications and unlocking bootloaders are two ways that users can get malware on their devices, which is why the default settings have them blocked. The reason why users have so much trouble with viruses and malware is because they disable these default security features. Of course, this sets Android devices apart from the rest. Users can do whatever they want with their headsets, regardless of whether it weakens their device’s security or not.
Sideloading is even more secure with Google’s Android Oreo operating system. The feature is no longer just a setting that can allow or disallow applications from being installed outside of Google’s Play Store. It’s now an app-by-app process, meaning that users can allow apps to be installed from certain reputable stores like Amazon’s Appstore, but not anywhere else. This is a smarter approach to this particular setting.
Simply put: if a user has no intention of unlocking the bootloader or sideloading applications on their device, which actually isn’t even possible on most phones, they should have complete protection against most viruses and malware.
Some due diligence on the part of the user must be taken to ensure that a virus or malware still can’t be installed on their device through some backdoor way.
Google Play Protect: Far From Invincible
Google’s Play Protect scans each of its apps in their Play Store as well as on a user’s device. It’s like a virus scanner that is always running and always scanning for malware on a user’s device.
However, it’s far from perfect as far as malware scanners go. There are some malicious apps that may have been downloaded by thousands of users before they were revealed, which is one reason why many Android users and the media have considered the operating system to be insecure.
Malware and viruses are a fact of life. They can happen to almost anyone’s device at any given time. But is this really a fair portrayal of Android systems in general? No. It is important that users pay attention to what they are installing on their devices. Make sure the app developer is authentic, read the app’s description carefully, look at any and all available screenshots pertaining to the app, and read the comment section.
It’s common sense that these steps should be taken prior to installing an application on any device – not just Androids. And it only takes a few minutes of a user’s time to perform these steps. Most of the time, the app is authentic and is perfectly okay to install on a user’s device. It’s so very important that a user takes the time to read the fine print before they install something, as it could make the difference between installing something that’s legitimate or installing something that may contain a virus or malware.
No Antivirus Software Required
A variety of antivirus companies have profited off of Android’s malware problems by creating scanning apps that can be used to scan a user’s device. While this can be a great option to have, they’re likely not going to find anything more than Google could. Google’s Play Protect already includes virus protection anyway.
It is worth noting that there are many antivirus apps on Android that can do a multitude of things, such as block telemarketers or scammers or safeguard a user’s device from theft. What some Android users don’t seem to realize is that while these benefits are an added bonus, they’re already included in the latest Android operating system.
If using an antivirus application gives a user peace of mind, there is nothing wrong with that, but bear in mind that users are allowing a third-party application to use the same resources their device already uses, which makes very little sense. Check out our best antivirus software of the year if you want more information on antivirus programs.
As long as users pay attention to what they are downloading and installing from the Google Play Store, their devices will remain malware-free. It’s as simple as that.
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