Last updated: January 5, 2023
Adware, ransomware, locker… Android is not free from malicious attacks. Antivirus solutions abound on the Play Store, but are they really useful? Is installing antivirus really important? What is the risk for the user if they do not install one? Here is my answer.
Yes I know ! They have always recommended that you make sure to install an antivirus on all your mobile and stationary machines. And I understand that the paranoid side with you, made you adopt antivirus software. But at the end of this article, you will change your mind about antivirus.
For starters, know that hackers are always one step ahead. Today's malware evolves so quickly that many antivirus companies find it extremely difficult to stay ahead of the curve. Phishing and 0days flaws make traditional antiviruses totally ineffective in addition to unnecessarily weighing down our smartphones.
Antivirus slows down the system, consumes more resources and in addition it is a real disaster for thesmartphone autonomy.
Personally, I have never used an antivirus on my phone. In Android, the term virus should be banned. It's a lie !
So you are going to tell me: “But Ahmed, I have already been the victim of a virus! "
I will answer you then: "A program that you install voluntarily and which tells you that it can send SMS (permission to display before installation) you call that a virus?".
Android virus is a lie, that's why?
The strategy of antiviruses has always been to take advantage of people's ignorance and make them believe that they are more in danger than they really are.
First of all, what is a virus?
Un Android virus is a simple application whose main purpose is to reproduce by contaminating others. On the other hand, Android prevents such behavior because all the applications are in "sandbox".
Le sandboxing consists of almost completely separate the applications from each other. When Android runs an application, it restricts the latter to well-defined actions (memory access, access to sensors, etc.). This practice helps to protect the system as much as possible by avoiding letting applications do as they see fit.
Each application, in its "bubble", has no information about its peers and no way to reach them.
So we cannot talk about viruses in an Android system. But, publishers cultivate the virus myth Windows to sell their products.
Android is already well secured without Antivirus
The first thing to know about the security of your phone or tablet is that Android is a "light" version of Linux. This is important to know because it means that Android itself is an antivirus. Indeed, this is due to Linux which is a very well secured operating system which protects various parts of its system.
Several security mechanisms are in place to counter potential threats. They are divided into several categories acting at different levels
The application sandbox
The first layer of security within an Android smartphone is at the operating system level.
As smartphones are currently planned to accommodate many applications, they must put in place mechanisms so that these installations do not represent a danger either for themselves, or for other applications, or for data (of the system, of other applications). or user).
If malware manages to reach a mobile, the attack surface that the system offers must be as small as possible. Sandboxing develops this idea of compartmentalizing the different processes, preventing them from interacting and therefore harming each other.
Every app you install on your Android phone should ask you for permission to perform certain tasks.
And yes, when we download a new application, we have a pop-up on the permissions requested by the application. By pressing "Accept", we accept them all. Concretely, this means that the applications have limited capacities.
For example, unless an app has requested permission to send an SMS, it cannot send them. And to tidy up the permissions of your Apps, check out this article: Clean up the permissions of your Android apps.
Google Play Store
All applications in the Google Play Store are scanned before publication by an internal system that is supposed to check for the presence of malware. In addition, the function " Verify Apps ”Is enabled by default on Android devices, and helps protect the user from applications from other sources.
From there, why install an antivirus on Android?
What Android antivirus companies are hiding
Antivirus companies endanger the user, lulled into sleep by a false sense of security, and encourage him to take risks.
Their goal is to earn money. To do this, they will find all the means that will lead you to trust them: virus, Facebook hacking, sending premium-rate SMS, intrusive advertising, laptop theft or data ...
Here are some small sales tips used by antivirus companies:
- Publish alarmist studies in specialized newspapers or blogs.
- Always express the progression of the number of viruses in percentages, which gives the most impressive statistics.
- Never count the number of malware present on Android. They are too few to impress.
- Never communicate about the antivirus itself or its effectiveness. That would be admitting that the threat is non-existent.
- Confuse viruses, malware and intrusive advertising.
Android threats and how to protect yourself against them
I cannot deny that the possibility of contamination of your Android smartphone or tablet but I confirm that the chances of this contamination are almost zero, since the number of doors through which an Android system can be infiltrated by a malicious application can be summed up in four possibilities.
- When an application deceives the user who requests permissions that are not normally required for its proper functioning (sends premium-rate SMS).
- When a user installs apps from unofficial stores and those apps hide malicious code behind legitimate permissions. Android prohibits by default any installation outside the Playstore.
- When an application tricks the user into asking them to enter personal or sensitive data such as a credit card number.
- When the user's phone is rooted. With a rooted phone, all security layers of the Android system are removed. However, it is difficult to root your phone. An impossible journey for the average user.
As you can deduce: one of the best protections against these types of attacks is you. Antivirus cannot do anything against these threats and cannot protect you in any way.
What were these applications used for? Provide a false sense of security.