Readers Digest January 13, 2021 – Google Play Protect: Why It’s the Only Antivirus App Androids Need

Smartphones may not get traditional viruses but can be exposed to cyberattacks. Here’s why Google Play Protect is a useful and important antivirus tool for Android phones.

What is Google Play Protect?

Google Play Protect is software built into Android phones that is designed to keep your smartphone safe from security threats. Before you download an app that’s not on the Google Play store, Google Play Protect runs a thorough safety check to ensure there aren’t any issues. (Apps on the Google Play store have already undergone virus scanning.) From there, Google Play Protect scans the apps on your phone on a daily basis and can also be used on-demand, explains Julie Ryan Evans, consumer editor of Scanning frequently is a safeguard measure against potentially harmful apps (PHAs), from infiltrating your device. If they have, Play Protect will notify you of any detected threats and advise you to delete the app. “Google Play Protect is probably the most effective ‘malicious behavior’ scanning app around,” says Steve Tcherchian, chief product officer and CISO for XYPRO Technology. “Use this. Don’t bother with anything else.” While this android virus scan app is designed to protect you, these things make your phone a target to hackers.

Android virus scan

Android’s virus scan will review your device for malware on a daily basis and will send you privacy alerts for any apps attempting to access personal information. To use Google Play Protect at any time to check for malicious apps on your smartphone, open the Google Play Store app—>Menu (the icon with three horizontal lines) then scroll down to “Play Protect.” Once opened, it will tell you the date and time the last scan was completed, and all the apps that were checked. If you wish to scan again, click the button “Scan.”

Even without doing a virus scan, there are some telltale signs that something may be wrong on your device, including that someone may be tracking your phone. These include a sudden surge in Internet usage, which may be a result of malware transferring data from your device to another, your phone restarting frequently, battery draining rapidly, and/or strange apps appearing on your phone that you don’t remember installing, says Peter Baltazar, a technical writer, who writes about cybersecurity at Having a secure smartphone is one way to avoid a cyber attack as well as only downloading safe apps.

How to know if an Android app is safe

“You’ll know an app is trustworthy if you don’t change default security settings; you download the app from the Google Play store, and you’re diligent about keeping your phone updated,” says Tcherchian.