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How to know if an Android application has a virus before installing it

This time I would like to show you a little trick with which you can know if your Android mobile is or is not infected with a virus. It is a simple tutorial that is very easy for anyone to do and that can save you from many dislikes since following these steps you will avoid installing applications that can block your phone or perform any type of action typical of a virus. The idea is to test the application before installing it to know if it has a virus or not. And this applies to APK applications that are downloaded from outside the Play Store, but also for applications downloaded from the Play Store. Although for this second method you have to extract the application, something I’ll show you later.

Know if an APK application has a virus inside

It is important to know that Android applications are the ones that can infect the operating system that governs the phone. Fortunately, an infection can not spread to the rest of the system. That is to say, if an application is infected, with which you eliminate that application the problem ends. Therefore, if you are going to install an APK application outside the Play Store, the best thing you can do is to analyze beforehand if that application contains a virus. An application may seem legitimate to you and it may even seem so, but keep in mind that there are many applications that appear to be and are not, since they have been designed precisely to deceive users and even antivirus. In this way, the best thing you can do is analyze the APK before installing it on your Android, otherwise it is possible that when you want to do it, it is too late. This process will not take you more than a few minutes and you will be calmer.

Analyzing an application, practical case

I’ll show you, in practice, what you have to do to analyze an application. For this you only need:

  • The APK application.
  • Your Android mobile phone.
  • A file explorer (worth the mobile phone itself).
  • Connecting to the Internet from your mobile phone.
  • Accessing an Internet browser from your mobile.

If you already have everything what you have to do is download the application in APK format, the application you download is indifferent, but the APK format is the universal and only format for Android applications, so if you download a file from another type will not be compatible. For the example I’m going to download the Blackmart application, since I know it contains viruses and malware. What I do is start the Internet browser and write the url Virustotal, is also available as an application, but run less risk I will use a service that is not hosted on the phone itself. Virustotal allows you to analyze files from your phone’s memory. What the program does is upload the file and check it with all the virus databases it contains, which are a lot, in this way if some of them do not detect the virus, the others will do so and in case so you should not install the program.

  • Once inside the Virustotal page, click on Select and it will ask you to select an action, click Explorer.
  • In the file browser select the file you want to analyze and then click on OK to load it.
  • Then the file will be loaded in Virustotal, so you should proceed to analyze it by clicking on Analyze. It is important that you bear in mind that the maximum size of the file you can analyze is 128 MB, even so, the truth is that very few APK files approach that size.
  • Next, the file will be temporarily uploaded to the Virustotal server to be analyzed. In the case that this file had already been analyzed beforehand, you will be informed of it with a screen like this. Still you have the possibility to do a reanalysis in case you stay more calm or see the latest analysis. Click on this last option and it will show you if viruses have appeared or not, although in this case you already anticipate that it has tested positive in 11 of the 60 virus search engines in which it has been analyzed.
  • As you can see, in this case there are many search engines that have detected all types of viruses in this file, they are mostly adware, annoying advertising and so on.

And as you can see, in this case, the file contains a lot of virus that many of the databases of antivirus applications in which it has been searched or have detected. Virustotal is able to search databases of companies in the sector such as AVG, Avira, ClamAV or Avast, so it is an even more secure application than an antivirus that you can download. My recommendation, if you find an APK file of this style, is that you do not install unless you know very well what you are doing since you risk that your Android gets infected and you have serious security problems in your phone that force you to do a factory reset.

Video tutorial of the process

Finally I leave a videotutorial of how to do this process step by step, in case it makes you too heavy to read the tutorial.