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Re-post from StackOverflow, when suggested this was a more appropriate forum. I originally posted this on Whirlpool as well - I am very interested to see what new input I can get from this community.

I was looking at AVG by DroidSecurity in the marketplace today and am a bit confused. On the free version there is recent feedback saying that AVG isn't affiliated with the app and other comments saying it is malware that slows the machine, deletes data and sends spam. But my Googling skills reveal articles saying AVG acquired DroidSecurity.

So, has anyone on this forum had experience with this app?

And... do I really need an anti-virus on my Android device? Is it so bad? Are we talking about bad things coming from .. what, apps, email or web pages? I am coloured by my experience with iPhone, nothing evil to worry about so far.

Also, if there's nothing to worry about, what are these AV apps doing? Scanning with an empty database?

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This article about a new trojan should give you an idea of the current level of threats: androidcentral.com/… –  Matthew Read Dec 29 '10 at 23:39
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3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

I have no experience with this specific app, however here's my two cents on the second half of your question.

The Android security model is very well thought out. Android runs on the Linux kernel (a modified version) and sandboxes every app through a variety of measures, including running each under a different user account. The biggest legitimate threat you have is installing malicious apps. Most likely these will be trojans that ask for reasonable permissions (reading your SD card, communicating with the network) and use them for nefarious purposes.

If I remember correctly, the malware prevention portion of AVG works by scanning apps before you install them, much like desktop virus scans work. This is a reasonable way of protecting you, malicious apps can be added to a database and you are warned if anything you download (from either the internet or the Market) is known to be Bad. The only catch is that Google usually removes illegal and malicious app from the Play Store within a few days of it becoming available. (I have nothing but anecdotal evidence to back that claim up though)

So if you're installing a lot of apps from sources other than the Play Store, or you don't trust Google to quickly catch malicious apps, installing an anti-virus is probably a good bet.

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I think you meant "cautious", not "contentious" –  Matthew Read Dec 29 '10 at 4:29
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@Matthew you're right, fixed. –  num1 Dec 29 '10 at 4:31
    
Nicely answer @num1; a good description of the issue in general and I thank you sincerely. Based upon your input, I am inclined to keep the app. I cannot say with any real degree of confidence that all apps I see on the marketplace are legit: there are enough spam and outright conflicting comments against some apps that I am not wholly convinced that reputation alone is a good guide (on my first trip to market I marked multiple comments as spam). Certainly I did NOT see this level of divisiveness on iTunes. Flame me if you like; it is simply how I see it. –  Robert Mark Bram Dec 29 '10 at 12:51
    
So, now I wonder if anyone has experience with AVG by DroidSecurity... –  Robert Mark Bram Dec 29 '10 at 12:56
    
I found this article a few minutes ago, You might find it interesting. blog.mylookout.com/2010/12/geinimi_trojan –  num1 Dec 30 '10 at 18:50
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Anyone had this message when scaning settings?:

Your phone settings are OK, no misconfigured settings were found.

The scan confirms the integrity of the phone settings, the Linux enviornment settings, Linux core level settings, sytem process, network card (NIC), detect network problems and can identify jail broken devices and sim card replacement.

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Truth is, scanning consumes CPU cycles, which in turn consumes battery juice...

Also, if there's nothing to worry about, what are these AV apps doing? Scanning with an empty database?

That's why it should be avoided at all costs and ignore the so-called anti-virus products as that's fear-mongering into scaring you psychologically and likely, end up "paying for their product" so that you'd feel 'safer' and lulling you into a false sense of security!

Ultimately it boils down to a bit of common-sense and double-check on the reviews and weigh it up carefully, users are not likely to bother reading what sort of permissions there are, the reviews, and so on, especially, from countries where buying an app is impossible due to legalities and restrictions within that country's jurisdiction and laws!

In relation to permissions, that is why developers post explicitly on the Overview page on the Play Store, what sort of permissions there are and explain it, around the top of the page, due to the fact end-users themselves are not bothering to click on the 'Permissions' tab page!

Henceforth, for some users, who do not want to buy, they ultimately end up being the victim and also for users from these countries, which end up resorting to downloading from unknown and dodgy websites, so don't be downloading from dodgy warez websites either!

Pro-tip If you happen to be in one of those countries or that you don't want to buy, email the developer of the app personally and ask them if some sort of agreement can be made, it can be done, perhaps by using paypal or similar... developers are not "out to get you", in fact, they are friendly! :)


YES to be blunt, Android apps can easily, be modified by someone who has knowledge of the code, due to their nature, and quite likely, to have some malicious code (read not virus.. but a trojan!) that fools the user, into thinking the app is "all-good" when in fact behind the scenes, it is sending out some logs/emails etc... that is often the reason why there should be a firewall in place to block unknown apps for a few days and monitor it. The sad truth, is, no-one gives a damn or care about that and end up posting "why is my phone bill so high?" or "Why is my battery getting sucked down very quickly?"

It is those clues that are the dead-giveaway of something quirky going on and should set off alarm bells in the head as in "Oh, that's funny, ever since I installed X app, this started appearing" but are the end-users going to care.. and carry on in denial...?


That is where the so called Anti-virus software vendors kick in... hence a vicious circle ensues...

Not to be an alarmist, remember this much: Android is not equal to Windows where viruses and malware are more commonly seen and prevalent!

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