Installing apps in APK format is more dangerous than downloading these apps from Google Play. Therefore, it is best to make sure that the files are “ clean ” before running them on your Android: VirusTotal checks if they are infected with viruses and / or malware. We show you how it works.
Android is an operating system for mobiles which has notable advantages, such as openness in installing applications and the freedom to download them from anywhere, not just from the official Android store. Of course, these downloads carry an additional risk because it is very easy to modify the code of the applications so that they infect all the mobiles that install them. Therefore, the first rule to avoid infection is to make sure that the page from which the applications are downloaded is trustworthy; the second rule is to check all files with VirusTotal.
VirusTotal is a website that scans APK applications for viruses and malware.
The first thing we need to clarify is that VirusTotal is not an app that scans your phone for threats: It’s an antivirus website that will check all the files you download manually. Scanning downloaded APK apps involves a process which can be a bit cumbersome, but it almost 100% avoids suffering from infections on the mobile.
VirusTotal scans APK files that are downloaded from the web for any threats contained in its code. If after the files are scanned, they show no signs of infection, they can be installed with confidence. Although yes: although the application is free of viruses and malware, this does not imply that its operation is transparent, only that the file has not been modified to modify its code and turn it into a malicious application
VirusTotal can tell you that an app is not infected, but that doesn’t mean the app is trustworthy. It can abuse permissions, collect too much private data …
Since this is a web page, and does not have any official apps (there are apps related to VirusTotal that can use its API, but none are developed by the company), you need to load a browser and check each APK file one by one. It is a simple process that becomes difficult when the number of applications to scan is high.
To use VirusTotal, you need to perform the following process:
- Make sure the APK app you downloaded is on your phone (or go to VirusTotal from your computer, then move the APK to your mobile).
- Open your mobile browser and go to the VirusTotal website.
- Click “Choose File” to choose the APK file to scan.
- VirusTotal will perform a full scan for viruses and malware. If the app has already been downloaded, the process will be faster.
- Once the analysis is complete, go to the “Summary” tab. If the result is “0”, the application is clean. If threats have been detected, the web will tell you how many and which ones it has found (in the “Detection” tab).
- Install the APK only if VirusTotal tells you that it is completely clean. Always make sure that the app is also reliable.
We recommend that you do not download any apps in APK unless you are familiar with what those apps do and the download page is reliable. And if you download them always check for threats: VirusTotal is one of the most reliable ways to avoid malware infections.