Is there a security solution for Android that's vastly regarded as "the best" one at the moment or is it like in the PC world where there are 3-4 which are "the best"?

Also, what should I expect to happen to the battery life between charges if I were to install an antivirus?

Note: I am running Android 2.2, soon to be updated to 2.2.1.

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    To be honest, I don't think you really need an antivirus in Android. All applications are sandboxed from each other and therefore cannot touch each other except via intents. Additionally, you are warned about permissions everytime you install an app. The only real way to damage to your phone is if you install an unsavory app that asks for root access (if your phone is rooted). If you're worried about an app, read other people's comments or reviews, check it's rating and see if the developer has a good reputation in the Android community. – Bryan Denny Dec 31 '10 at 15:37
  • Thank you for the comment. My phone isn't rooted, I'm still pondering wether I need that or not. But that aside, I didn't know that root requirement was one of the permissions that can be set in the manifest of an application. – Francisc Dec 31 '10 at 15:52
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    @Francsic sort of. Instead, the application makes a sudo/root call, and the superuser application on your rooted phone will popup a dialog telling you that the application is asking for root access, do you wish to give it or deny it. No app can just start using root access without your permission. – Bryan Denny Dec 31 '10 at 16:31
  • Hmm, thank you. I've not encountered such an app yet. I suppose that if I were to install security software it would ask for that. – Francisc Dec 31 '10 at 17:36
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    @Brian while technically Android malware may not be a virus, there could be many trojans. Many apps require access to contacts, call history and such. It's difficult to know which of them should be trusted not to do bad things with that info. – dbkk Dec 31 '10 at 19:05

An antivirus app will have a major effect on your battery life. A friend with an HTC Desire couldn't understand why he could never get more than 4 or 5 hours out of his battery, even turning most things off, until he remembered installing one of the AV apps to try it out. Removing that brought his battery life back up to what it should be.

When the first Android troojan virus hit back in August last year, similarly to the recent Geinimi trojan, in both cases the affected user had to willingly install an app that was from a third-party source, and go through the permissions screen where the app specifically asks for permissions that it shouldn't really need.

An attentive and careful user can protect themselves from these kind of threats just by taking care to only install apps from trusted sources, and to read which permissions an app asks for as it installs, and stop to think whether it really needs to do things like read your contacts and send SMSs.

The real problem will come when a virus learns to either break out of its app's sandbox and into another, or learns how to give itself root access, or take advantage of the root access that someone else has installed. This is what the iPhone worm of about a year ago did, when it took advantage of the fact that the most popular iPhone jailbreak app left all jailbroken phones with the same root password by default, and most users never bothered changing the password. No Android virus has yet been shown to be able to do that.

  • Thank you GAThrawn or as I like to call you, GTA hrawn. :) – Francisc Feb 2 '11 at 10:33

An Antivirus solution would really be waste of processing resources and battery life. Each application is running in a locked environment and it cannot really infiltrate or break anything on other applications nor on the OS.

The only thing I'd be looking into are malicious applications that are sending your private info to a remote server. In order to do this, a user would need to accept the list of permissions to access their private content.

Follow these simple two rules to protect yourself about such malicious applications: - Never install applications that just came out on the Market. - Read the comments, usually a malicious application should be rapidly identified and the users will report it in the comments.

  • Thank you, jmbouffard. I wish I could have two correct answers. – Francisc Feb 2 '11 at 10:33

Kaprica Security have twisted this on the head. Simply connect your Android device to the Skorpion charger and it will be scanned for malware, viruses, and malicious rootkits while it charges.

A review entitled A Smartphone Charger That Sniffs for Malware was written on 4th October 2013 by R. Metz for The MIT Review.


There is apparently a trojan on the loose on some Chinese Android phones.

AVG has a version for your Android phone.

  • The Trojan got me thinking about this Muad'Dib. I know about AVG, but from experience with it from the PC world, I can't say I like it very much. The most popular seem to be Lookout, Norton, McAfee (forgot the name of the AV itself) and AVG. – Francisc Jan 1 '11 at 12:29

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