Antivirus software on the smartphone – Do I really need it?

Antivirus software on the smartphone – Do I really need it?

With a Windows PC, most users don’t trust themselves to the Internet without antivirus software. But what about smartphones? Do I need antivirus software on my phone? Can I use a phone without antivirus software and what does it protect me against? These and some other questions will be discussed in this article.

The built-in antivirus software on the smartphone

The antivirus software on the smartphone and on our PCs protects them from programs that are downloaded and run unintentionally. This is identical on both smartphones and PCs. A big difference is how programs can be installed. On our PCs we can download and install programs from any website. On the smartphone this is not possible per se.

We always install new apps on the smartphone via the respective app store, which is the play store on Android and the app store on iPhones. Apps installed via an App-Store are checked for viruses by Google and Apple, which makes it very safe to install apps via these stores. At regular intervals, it does happen that malicious or unwanted functions are distributed via Google’s Play-Store >/a> or Apple’s App-Store, but these are usually detected and deleted after a few hours. Accordingly, the risk of infection is very low.

So if you only install apps from the official Google and Apple stores and download the latest games and apps only a few days after their release, you don’t have to worry about viruses on your smartphone. But there are also alternative ways to install apps and anti-virus apps can help to protect them. But how good are these apps?

Which function does an additional antivirus software offer?

In Google’s Play-Store you can find many apps that claim to protect your smartphone, but only a few of them fulfill their promises. For example, researches by Austrian IT security researchers revealed that only 38% of the 250 anti-virus apps examined detect more than 30% of viruses at all.

An antivirus software installed on the smartphone via the App-Store now only helps to analyse apps that are not installed from the official store. This is for example not possible on the conventional way on an iPhone. Therefore the use of antivirus software is not necessary there. Also on Android smartphones, it has to be said that antivirus software does not protect so effectively due to the structure of Android.

Since Android stores all apps in closed areas and lets them work, the installed apps cannot access each other. This makes the work and analysis of an antivirus software very difficult, because this software depends on checking other programs and apps for malicious behavior.

Safe on the road – even without antivirus software on the smartphone

Antivirus software Smartphone Phishing WhatsApp
Even without antivirus software you are protected.

Even without installed anti-virus protection, any user can surf the Internet without fear of viruses. As you can see in the picture, many messengers also warn you of malicious content. Nevertheless, this does not mean that there are no dangers from which one should protect oneself on the Internet. For example, at the moment there is an increasing number of phishing messages being spread via WhatsApp that no technical solution can protect against.  The only thing that helps to protect yourself from current scams is to inform yourself about common scams.

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Chris Wojzechowski

Mein Name ist Chris Wojzechowski und ich habe vor wenigen Jahren meinen Master in Internet-Sicherheit in Gelsenkirchen studiert. Ich bin geschäftsführender Gesellschafter der AWARE7 GmbH und ausgebildeter IT-Risk Manager, IT-Grundschutz Praktiker (TÜV) und besitze die Prüfverfahrenskompetenz für § 8a BSIG. Unser Brot und Buttergeschäft ist die Durchführung von Penetrationstests. Wir setzen uns darüber hinaus für ein breites Verständnis für IT-Sicherheit in Europa ein und bieten aus diesem Grund den Großteil unserer Produkte kostenfrei an.