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How to: Scan Your Device for Malware or Potential Threats [Beginners’ Guide]

android malware

Depending on who you talk to, Android as an operating system may or may not have an issue with malware, spyware and viruses. We typically operate under the idea that it in no way has a problem, but that there are plenty of security companies out there willing to tell you otherwise. To be fair, though, there have been cases of malware or viruses in Android apps, most simply aren’t found anywhere near the Google Play store. If they are found, it’s usually through alternative 3rd party markets or pirated apps. 

To keep you safe and to help ease your mind, just in case you are worried about potential threats, there is no harm in installing apps that are built to protect you. And trust me, there are plenty out there. In fact, all of your favorite security companies have Android apps that will scan the heck out of your phone, while trying to find something malicious.

android malware spyware


1.  Once installed and you have walked through setup, scanning for viruses is incredibly simple.
2.  Tap the “Virus Scanner” button.
3.  Then decide if you want to scan apps only or your SD card too.
4.  At this point, you can also set up a schedule to have your phone scanned regularly.
5.  Press “Scan now” and off you go.
6.  If your phone finds anything wrong, it will notify you and also give you instructions to fix.

avast mobile security

Scanning is a pretty easy task to complete that I’m sure most of you will have no problem with. What you’ll need to decide, is which app you like the most depending on its feature set. Almost all of the security apps listed below will help if your phone is lost or stolen, they’ll scan your phone for viruses,  they will monitor app permissions, scan apps before they install or open, and will even see which apps are using the most data.

If you are like us, and think that the anti-virus side of Android isn’t all that frightening, think about using these apps for the other reasons I just listed above. Feel free to check each out, read reviews about them all, run through their list of features, and then decide if one fits your needs.

Play Links:  Avast! | Zoner | Norton | Lookout | Kaspersky ($14.95)

Presented by Norton 360™ Multi-Device. Protect your new computers, smartphones, and tablets with Norton 360™  Multi-Device.

  • Adam

    Does Apple have Anti-Virues apps??

  • Tom Z

    Please NO! Norton is following me…

  • spunker88

    Oh God, Norton for Android. How long until Verizon starts preloading that just like PC OEMs always load the 30 day trial.

  • jester4281

    I prefer AVG for my phone, just saying……and they didn’t pay me to say that lol.

  • Do we really need to advertise this useless crap to new users? I hope DL got paid a decent chunk of change for this…

  • Mark

    Using Trend Micro here, as it was included for free with my PC version. It does slow things a little when checking new installations, but it has also alerted me once or twice for apps from the Play Store. Never hurts to have a little extra protection.

  • Jake Johnson

    This is just a paid advertisement for Norton. Just tell it like it is. Can you honestly say Norton did not pay you to write this?

    • Idiot!

      If Norton paid him, they’d probably be asking for their money back seeing as he gave instructions on how to install and use Avast!

    • trbasil

      Presented by Norton 360™ Multi-Device. Protect your new computers, smartphones, and tablets with Norton 360™ Multi-Device.”
      Um he did

  • DontBeConfused

    Ive alwys used lookout,but i have been thinking of switching to Avast because (i think) they have free remote wipe. The phone finding features with lookout work great (from my own past experiences). Does Avast work well in this regard?

    • Raven

      I also love Lookout’s new Lock Cam security feature. So far, it has only caught my daughter trying to unlock my phone to play games, but it was cool to get her picture and the location of my phone emailed to me when she tried to unlock it 3 times.

      For me the Lock Cam and Signal Flare features give it way more value than just a plain scanner app. I am not sure if the other listed apps have similar features or not because I have not bothered to look, but if they do, I would be interested in hearing about them.

      • n0m0n

        This lock cam and Signal Flare feature where is that?
        I use Lockout and I haven’t found any add-on features like that.


    • I used Lookout before for about a year but then I realized I was getting such heavy lag. I installed it and my device was so much faster. I never even had a problem with any “malware” or “viruses.” Seriously I suggest just uninstalling it and enjoy your faster device. There’s no point in having it honestly. @a32329143e2de52e08915bee09f1d765:disqus

  • brkshr

    Do your research! Don’t download shady apps & actually look at the comments, amount installed, stars, G+ shares… I’ve never had a problem with malware, spyware or viruses. Going on 2.5 years with Android phones.

    • Eurasianman

      Yea, I don’t recall every having an issue with malware, spyware, or viruses since the OG Droid.

      • michael arazan

        Since My D1, i have been using android smart phones for 3 years and never had a threat, knock on wood. But i dropped Lookout, eating too much battery, for avast. I only used avast maybe twice last year.

  • SirSoloDolo

    I know you gotta make make from advertising Norton but I’ve always had the worse experience with Norton on the PC. Heavy bloated software and scam like behavior. Wanted me to pay for a professional to removed a virus from my computer when I already had a yearly subscription. I said no thanks and switched to the Windows Live OneCare when it existed and it got rid of the same virus with it’s free version.