how to check android for malware

How to Check Android for Malware: A Comprehensive Guide

With the increasing reliance on smartphones for various tasks, it is crucial to ensure the security of our Android devices. Malware, short for malicious software, poses a significant threat to the privacy and functionality of our smartphones. In this article, we will explore the various methods to check Android devices for malware, providing valuable insights and actionable steps to protect your device.

Understanding the Threat: The Rise of Android Malware

Android malware has become a growing concern in recent years. According to a report by AV-TEST, a leading independent IT security institute, there were over 4.6 million new Android malware samples detected in 2020 alone. This staggering number highlights the need for proactive measures to safeguard our devices.

Malware can infiltrate Android devices through various means, including malicious apps, infected websites, and even legitimate-looking emails or messages. Once installed, malware can steal personal information, track your activities, display unwanted ads, or even take control of your device.

Signs of Malware Infection

Before diving into the methods to check for malware, it is essential to be aware of the common signs of infection. These signs may include:

  • Unusual battery drain: Malware often runs in the background, consuming excessive battery power.
  • Slow performance: If your device suddenly becomes sluggish or unresponsive, it could be a sign of malware.
  • Excessive data usage: Malware may use your data plan to communicate with its command and control servers.
  • Unwanted pop-ups or ads: Malware often displays intrusive ads or pop-ups, even when you are not using any apps.
  • Unexpected charges: Some malware can send premium rate text messages or make unauthorized calls, resulting in unexpected charges on your phone bill.

Methods to Check Android for Malware

Now that we understand the threat and the signs of infection, let’s explore the methods to check Android devices for malware:

1. Install a Reliable Antivirus App

One of the most effective ways to check for malware is by installing a reputable antivirus app. These apps scan your device for known malware signatures and behavior patterns, providing real-time protection against potential threats. Some popular antivirus apps for Android include Avast, Bitdefender, and McAfee.

2. Update Your Android Operating System

Keeping your Android operating system up to date is crucial for security. Manufacturers regularly release updates that include security patches to address vulnerabilities that could be exploited by malware. To update your Android device, go to Settings > System > System Updates and check for any available updates.

3. Review App Permissions

When installing new apps, it is essential to review the permissions they request. Malicious apps often ask for excessive permissions that are not necessary for their functionality. For example, a flashlight app requesting access to your contacts or messages should raise a red flag. Be cautious and only grant permissions that are relevant to the app’s purpose.

4. Avoid Sideloading Apps

Sideloading refers to the process of installing apps from sources other than the official Google Play Store. While this can provide access to a wider range of apps, it also increases the risk of malware infection. Stick to trusted sources like the Google Play Store, which has robust security measures in place to detect and remove malicious apps.

5. Be Wary of Phishing Attempts

Phishing is a common technique used by cybercriminals to trick users into revealing sensitive information. Be cautious of emails, messages, or websites that ask for personal or financial details. Avoid clicking on suspicious links and verify the legitimacy of the source before providing any information.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Can malware infect my Android device without downloading any apps?

A: Yes, malware can infect your Android device through various means, including infected websites, malicious emails or messages, and even compromised Wi-Fi networks. It is essential to stay vigilant and follow security best practices to minimize the risk.

Q: Are free antivirus apps effective in protecting against malware?

A: While free antivirus apps can provide basic protection, they may lack advanced features and real-time scanning capabilities. It is recommended to invest in a reputable paid antivirus app for comprehensive protection against malware.

Q: How often should I update my Android operating system?

A: It is recommended to update your Android operating system as soon as new updates are available. Manufacturers release updates regularly to address security vulnerabilities and improve overall performance.

Q: Can factory resetting my Android device remove malware?

A: Factory resetting your Android device can remove most malware infections. However, some sophisticated malware may persist even after a factory reset. It is crucial to combine a factory reset with other security measures, such as installing an antivirus app, to ensure complete removal of malware.


Protecting your Android device from malware is essential to safeguard your privacy and ensure optimal performance. By following the methods outlined in this article, such as installing a reliable antivirus app, updating your operating system, reviewing app permissions, avoiding sideloading, and being cautious of phishing attempts, you can significantly reduce the risk of malware infection. Stay proactive, stay informed, and keep your Android device secure.


I am a technology writer specialize in mobile tech and gadgets. I have been covering the mobile industry for over 5 years and have watched the rapid evolution of smartphones and apps. My specialty is smartphone reviews and comparisons. I thoroughly tests each device's hardware, software, camera, battery life, and other key features. I provide in-depth, unbiased reviews to help readers determine which mobile gadgets best fit their needs and budgets.

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