Do Android Devices Need Antivirus Software?

As smartphones and tablets have become ubiquitous in our daily lives, it's more important than ever to take steps to protect our mobile devices from cybersecurity threats.

Android devices are some of the most popular on the market, but many people wonder if they need to install antivirus software to stay safe.

In this post, we'll take a closer look at the security features built into Android, the risks that Android devices face, and the pros and cons of using antivirus software.

We'll also provide some tips on how to stay safe on your Android device.

Android security features

Android devices have several built-in security features that help protect users from cybersecurity threats.

These features range from Google Play Protect, which scans apps for malware and warns users of potential risks, to automatic security updates that keep the device up-to-date with the latest security patches.

In this section, we'll take a closer look at some of the key security features that are built into Android devices, including the Google Play Protect, built-in malware scanner, permissions system, and automatic security updates.

By understanding these features, users can take full advantage of the security benefits that Android devices have to offer.

Google Play Protect

Google Play Protect is a feature that's built into the Google Play Store app on Android devices.

It's designed to keep users safe from malware and other security threats when downloading and installing apps.

When a user installs an app from the Play Store, Google Play Protect automatically scans it for malware and other potentially harmful code.

If any issues are found, Play Protect warns the user and provides options for removing or uninstalling the app.

This feature is always on and constantly working in the background, so users can feel confident that they're being protected from threats in real-time.

Built-in malware scanner

In addition to Google Play Protect, Android devices also have a built-in malware scanner that's designed to detect and remove malicious software from the device.

This scanner works by scanning the device's internal storage and SD card for known malware signatures.

If a threat is detected, the scanner will provide the user with options for removing or quarantining the infected files.

While this feature is not as comprehensive as a dedicated antivirus app, it can still provide an added layer of protection for users.

Permissions system

Another key security feature in Android is the permissions system, which allows users to control what data and resources an app can access on their device.

When installing an app, users are prompted to grant permissions for various features, such as access to the camera, microphone, or contacts.

The user can choose to grant or deny these permissions, and can also revoke them at any time.

This helps users maintain control over their personal information and can help prevent apps from accessing sensitive data without permission.

Automatic security updates

Finally, Android devices also have a feature for automatic security updates, which ensures that the device is always up-to-date with the latest security patches and bug fixes.

These updates are released periodically by the device manufacturer or carrier and are designed to address any known security vulnerabilities or weaknesses.

By enabling automatic updates, users can ensure that their device is always protected against the latest threats and risks.

Risks to Android devices

While Android devices have several built-in security features to protect against cybersecurity threats, they're still susceptible to a variety of risks that can compromise personal information or cause other types of harm.

These risks can range from malware and viruses to phishing attacks and unsecured public Wi-Fi networks.

In this section, we'll take a closer look at some of the key risks that Android users should be aware of, including how they work and what users can do to stay safe.

Malware and viruses

Malware and viruses are among the most common types of cybersecurity threats that Android users face.

These threats can come from a variety of sources, including malicious apps, phishing emails, and unsecured websites.

Once installed on a device, malware and viruses can cause a range of problems, from stealing personal information to hijacking the device for use in a botnet.

To protect against these threats, users should only download apps from trusted sources, keep their device software up-to-date, and use antivirus software if they feel it's necessary.

Phishing attacks

Phishing attacks are another common type of cybersecurity threat that can target Android users.

These attacks typically involve sending a fraudulent email or message that appears to be from a legitimate source, such as a bank or online retailer.

The message may ask the user to provide sensitive information, such as a password or credit card number, or to download a file that contains malware.

To avoid falling for phishing attacks, users should always double-check the source of any messages they receive and never provide personal information unless they're sure it's safe to do so.

Unsecured public Wi-Fi networks

Finally, unsecured public Wi-Fi networks can also pose a significant risk to Android users.

These networks are often unencrypted, meaning that any data sent or received over the network can be intercepted by an attacker.

This can include personal information, such as login credentials or financial data.

To protect against these risks, users should avoid using public Wi-Fi networks whenever possible, and use a VPN (virtual private network) if they need to connect to the internet while away from home.

Pros and cons of using antivirus software on Android devices

Antivirus software can be a valuable tool for protecting Android devices from cybersecurity threats, but it's not always necessary for all users.

While some users may want to install antivirus software for added peace of mind, others may feel that the built-in security features are sufficient.

In this section, we'll examine the benefits and drawbacks of using antivirus software on Android devices.

Benefits and drawbacks of antivirus software

Benefits of antivirus software – Antivirus software can provide several benefits to Android users who are looking for added protection against cybersecurity threats. Here are some of the key benefits:

  1. Additional protection against malware and viruses While Android devices have several built-in security features to protect against malware and viruses, they're not foolproof. Antivirus software can provide an added layer of protection by scanning apps, files, and webpages for potential threats. This can help prevent malware and viruses from infecting the device and stealing personal information.
  2. Enhanced privacy features Some antivirus software also includes privacy features that can help protect sensitive information, such as photos and messages. For example, some apps include a privacy advisor that scans apps for permissions that could be used to access personal data. This can help users control what data is being shared and keep their information private.

Drawbacks of antivirus software – While antivirus software can provide additional protection, there are also some drawbacks that users should be aware of. Here are some of the key drawbacks:

  1. Performance impact Antivirus software can impact the performance of an Android device, particularly if it's an older or lower-end device. This is because antivirus software needs to run constantly in the background to scan for threats, which can use up system resources and slow down the device.
  2. Battery drain Similarly, antivirus software can also impact the battery life of an Android device. This is because the software needs to run constantly in the background, which can use up battery power even when the device is not in use.
  3. False positives Finally, antivirus software can sometimes produce false positives, which are alerts for threats that don't actually exist. This can be frustrating for users, as it can lead to unnecessary warnings and potentially impact the performance of the device.

How to stay safe on Android devices

In this section, we'll take a closer look at some of the key practices for staying safe on Android devices, including keeping software up-to-date, only downloading apps from trusted sources, and using a VPN on public Wi-Fi networks.

  1. Keep software up-to-date Keeping software up-to-date is one of the most important steps that users can take to help stay safe on Android devices. This is because software updates often include security patches that address known vulnerabilities and help prevent potential threats. To ensure that software is up-to-date, users should regularly check for and install any available updates.
  2. Only download apps from trusted sources Another key practice for mobile security is to only download apps from trusted sources, such as the Google Play Store. This is because third-party app stores or websites may host malicious apps that can compromise the device and steal personal information. Users should also carefully review app permissions and reviews before downloading an app to ensure that it's safe to use.
  3. Use a VPN on public Wi-Fi networks Finally, using a virtual private network (VPN) can also help protect against cybersecurity threats on Android devices, particularly when using public Wi-Fi networks. A VPN encrypts all data sent and received over the network, which can help prevent attackers from intercepting sensitive information. Users should also avoid conducting sensitive transactions, such as online banking or shopping, on public Wi-Fi networks.


In today's world, mobile devices have become an integral part of our daily lives, and it's important to take steps to protect them from cybersecurity threats.

While Android devices have several built-in security features to help keep users safe, there are still risks that users should be aware of.

By following best practices for mobile security and weighing the pros and cons of using antivirus software, users can help reduce the risk of cybersecurity threats and protect their personal information.

By staying informed and vigilant, users can continue to enjoy the convenience and benefits of their Android devices without sacrificing security.