Downloading APK on Android is often necessary to get applications that are not available in the Play Store (like Netflix for devices with root ). Do we need an app not available in the Google Play Store or do we want to upgrade to a previous version? In this case, we will have to get the APK of the app, available at numerous Internet sites such as APKMirror and other app stores.
Managing APK, however, puts you at risk of contracting viruses or malicious programs on your portable device. Before uploading these files to your Android smartphone, it is a good idea to check that there are no viruses in it. In this guide, we will show you how to use an online service to find out if an APK contains viruses or other crap.
NOTE: It is advisable to always install only the apps in the Google Play Store carefully avoiding any APK file, especially if downloaded from sources not known or present on the device without our consent. The risk is to run into an infection or to see the phone credit dry up.
The best services
To check if a newly downloaded APK contains malware we can use many free services that we list below.
The first one we start with is VirusTotal. To use it, simply load the APK file in the site interface and wait for the scan results. The service will scan the APK file with numerous antiviruses looking for malware.
Here is an example of a test: an infected APK was uploaded to VirusTotal and the result is obvious.
If the APK shows a high number of detections (at least 10) we can doubt its goodness and avoid uploading the file to the smartphone. We can load the APK on VirusTotal directly from a PC, using any web browser. The only downside to using this service is its file size limit, which reaches a maximum of 128 MB (really high as a limit for most applications, but not enough for some games).
If we downloaded the APK on our smartphone or tablet (without going through the PC), we avoid installing it (for now) and download the VirusTotal Mobile app from the Google Play Store. We will be able to check all our mobile APKs.
If the APK also exceeds the control of the mobile app, we can safely install the file on our device.
Metadefender allows you to upload APK files up to 140 MB to be scanned by multiple antiviruses. The APK file is extracted so that all the individual files in the archive are analyzed. The operation and detection of threats is similar to what was already seen with VirusTotal.
NVISO APK Scan
Finally, but no less valid, there is NVISO APK Scan that allows you to load an APK through the web browser for scanning, but without file size limits. All you have to do is load the APK file and start the scan. At the end a report will be generated and you can also decide to receive the results via email once the scan is complete.
We hope this article has helped you discover some useful tools to stay safe when you plan to download and install APK from external sources on your Android device. If you know others, do not hesitate to leave a comment below!