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Do I need an antivirus on my Android phone?

Kaspersky Android Scan
Kaspersky Android Scan (Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

Best answer: Yes, antivirus on Android can provide an extra layer of security for your phone, especially if your phone doesn't get frequent security updates.

Risky apps and websites

Many people have used their Android phones with no security problems with no additional security software for years. While many will be able to continue this trend, there are a few things to keep in mind, especially if you are a less tech-savvy user or often help one.

The first thing is that Android is a bigger target than ever thanks to people moving much of their personal information to their mobile devices. Besides that, phishing scams are more clever than ever and can disguise themselves as notifications of or communications like texts, emails, or even just calls.

The second thing is how often your phone gets updated. Android security patches are released to address vulnerabilities found in the operating system. The problem is that not all phones get these updates promptly and some older phones may not get them at all.

Most antivirus apps on Android scan your downloads, including new apps, to check for threats. They can also check the sites you're visiting in your web browser for known threats. This can include sites that are attempting to look like a legitimate app or website to trick you into giving away information.

Many paid antivirus apps also include helpful features like a device tracker in case of theft or even detection for new SIM cards. There are quite a few options for antivirus programs depending on your needs. We recommend Kasperksy and Bitdefender since both are quick and efficient and work on your Android devices, including your smartwatch, if you need it.

When Samuel is not writing about networking or 5G at Android Central, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It's the Pentium 3.