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I use Linux for half a decade now, so I am not used to dealing with viruses anymore. To my surprise, I saw some discussion about antiviruses in Android. I haven't installed any yet, but this bugs me: are they really necessary? Are there (or were) any known viruses in the market? Doesn't Google runs an antivirus before allowing an app to the market?

I haven't had no problem in one year of Android, but my cellphone has a lot of important information, and I wouldn't like to be surprised with some virus cleaning my phone, or making international calls while I sleep, or whatsoever. Should I install an antivirus?

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It's even bad practice to run Linux without an AV. Same thing goes for Android. Google doesn't check the apps. –  Arda Xi Sep 14 '10 at 16:58
Please be aware, that an antivirus requires viruses. If there are no known viruses, an antivirus is worthless since android itself already has some built-in protections. Once viruses start coming out (its enevitable) for android/iphone then we will need AV software to actually keep track of different backdoors (assuming the android os does not try to solve each problem as part of the os). Also note that AV on linux checks for windows viruses incease there are interactions between systems, so that one is important too. –  Dmitriy Likhten Sep 15 '10 at 19:02
Just to clarify -- the AVs I see installed for Linux are there for when people use Linux for email servers or file sharing, and they are to catch Windows-based virus signatures. As far as I know, there are no known Linux viruses, only exploits through systems not updated, and even then are extremely rare. –  Volomike Dec 20 '10 at 10:05

4 Answers 4

You shouldn't need to worry about running an anti-virus on your phone. I would recommend running one on your PC though and having it set to scan peripheral devices. When you plug in your phone and it gets mounted as a mass storage device the desktop's antivirus will scan the phone for viruses' signatures and you will be doing the minimum to ensure your security.

It is an illusion to believe that just because you are running *nix or OSX you won't benefit from the security afforded by AV software; that said you dont need to spend anything to get a good, lean program especially in Linux.

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There have been a few reports of Trojans that basically pretend to do something, but they are actually texting short codes charing you money or stealing data or something. However, I'm not sure how these 'anti virus' programs could actually counter that as they don't have anyway to monitor what these other apps are actually doing.

All you really need to do is take a close look at the permissions requested when you install an app, and ask yourself 'should this app need full internet access and contacts access and location?'

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There was a known "virus" live background which sent data about you to it's servers. Can you really distinguish this vs ads? –  Dmitriy Likhten Sep 15 '10 at 19:04
@Dmitriy - or vs all the legitimate apps that harvest your data. –  sickgemini Feb 23 '11 at 5:24

I says No. I have two reason to support my No

1) Always look for permission before installing application and ensure application need these permission for its function or just ask to do some crap on your phone. Do not allow application to take permission to tamper your phone information.

2) Installing antivirus will slow down your phone. So better scan for virus on your PC

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This Youtube video entitled "Do You Need Anti-Virus For Android" was posted on February 7th 2013 at Lockergnome.com (a reputable site for tech news & gadget views) & is worth watching.

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A summary of that video will be useful if provided. –  Akhil May 6 '14 at 8:31
Please give a summary of the video in case it gets taken down or deleted. Without it, the answer is worthless without the video. –  onik May 6 '14 at 10:54
I'm firewalled and cannot access Youtube. In some countries, Youtube (and other sites) are blocked. So as it stands, that's no answer to me. What's the summary at least? "is worth watching" doesn't answer the question at all. –  Izzy May 6 '14 at 11:50

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