How to Avoid Android Viruses - dummies

By Dan Gookin

How can you tell which apps for your Android phone are legitimate and which might be viruses or evil apps that do odd things to your phone? Well, you can’t. In fact, most people can’t because most evil apps don’t advertise themselves as such.

The key to knowing whether an app is evil is to look at what it does. If a simple grocery-list app uses the phone cellular signal, and the app doesn’t need to access the Internet, it’s suspect.

In the history of the Android operating system, only a handful of malicious apps have been distributed, and most of them were found in Asia. Google routinely removes these apps from the Play Store, and a feature of the Android operating system even lets Google remove apps from your phone. So you’re pretty safe.

Generally speaking, avoid “hacker” apps, porn, and those apps that use social engineering to make you do things on your Android phone that you wouldn’t otherwise do, such as text an overseas number to see racy pictures of politicians or celebrities.

Also, abstain from obtaining apps from anything but the official Google Play Store. The Amazon Market is okay, as is Samsung’s app store. Other markets are basically distribution points for illegal or infected software. Avoid them.