3 ways to check if an Android app is dangerous

Google Play Protect is the new security feature developed by Mountain View engineers and allows you to protect your smartphone from virus threats

Android is often targeted by hackers, mostly because of users. In fact, many users continue to download apps from alternative markets to Google's, which, as we know, are often used to deliver malware via APK files.

It can happen, however, that something gets out of Big G's control with cyber criminals able to bypass Android's strict security checks and hide virus code within an apparently legitimate application. Google, of course, didn't stand by and in the second half of 2017 introduced Play Protect, a tool consisting of a series of features with which Mountain View's mobile operating system protects users from malicious applications. Play Protect examines both the apps already on your devices and the ones you're about to download from the Play Store, thus allowing you to protect your smartphone or tablet in three different ways.

Check Already Installed Apps

To protect your Android smartphone from security dangers you first need to make sure that Play Protect is enabled. Open the Settings, choose Google and then Security, where you will find the direct link to Play Protect. To access the scan of already installed apps and check if the service is enabled, you'll just need to press on it and check if the "Scan device for security threats" option is enabled. That's it. The Mountain View tool will periodically scan your smartphone, checking if any of the installed apps have security issues.

Check app security before installing them

Play Protect doesn't just act as an Android antivirus, checking only the apps already on your device. As soon as its release is complete (it started at the end of July 2017), information regarding the security and reliability of apps will also be placed within the Google Play Store. This will allow you to find out if an app is secure (and scanned) before installing it, thus putting you away from nasty surprises. But that's not all: hackers often target Android by inserting malware within an update of an app downloaded from the Play Store. Play Protected will scan the update for possible threats. This way, downloading and updating an app will be even safer.

Don't download from unknown sources

The best way to defend yourself against one of the many viruses hitting Android is, however, to be wary of unofficial digital markets, which often host malicious apps. Google, as we've seen, constantly checks the applications published on its store, and with Play Protect, hackers will find it even more difficult to fool Android's control systems.