To bypass restrictions, such as when an app is not available in your region or get updates quicker, sideloading apps on an Android device is often a preferred solution. This works well, however, there are some disadvantages in doing so. One, sideloading is not allowed on Android phones by default, which means you need to enable the option to install from unknown sources to be able to do it. Also, you don’t get updates automatically, which means you have to remember to update the app manually once an update becomes available.

Aside from that, a more serious disadvantage is the security risk that it entails. Since APK files are not from the Play Store, you can’t be sure that the app is as safe as it is intended to be. In some cases, APK files are pirated to bypass some restrictions (such as in-app purchases) or, worse yet, injected with malware that can compromise your phone’s security.

One of the ways to protect your phone from being infected by viruses as a result of sideloading apps is by downloading APKs from trusted sources only. Another way you can do to avoid malware infection from an APK file onto your device is by scanning them to detect viruses before having them installed. And with this note, here are some great scanning tools that can help you accomplish this task.

Metadefender

The Metadefender tool allows you to upload an APK file up to 140 MB to be scanned by multiple antivirus engines. The APK file is extracted so that all individual files in the archive are scanned in addition to the whole unextracted APK file being scanned. Below is an example of how the results of a successful scan of a safe APK file would look like.

 

NVISIO APK Scan

 

Just like with Metadefender, NVISIO APK Scan enables you to upload an APK through your web browser for scanning but without the file size limits. All you need to do is select the APK via your operating system’s file picker and click on Scan package. After a few moments, a scan report will be generated that you can use and refer to. You can also have the scan results emailed to you once the scan is complete.

Virus Total

 

Another free service, Virus Total works similarly as with Metadefender and NVISIO APK Scan. It has the ability to analyze your APK files and helps to detect all kinds of viruses and malware that may be present. The only downside in using this service is its file limit which maxes out only at 128 MB, which is plenty for most apps but insufficient for some games.

Try to stick with downloading from the Play Store as much as possible and resist downloading anything off from random websites or suspicious-looking third-party app stores. This is the best practice to keep your device(s) safe from any virus or malware infection.

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This entry was posted by Staff Writer on Saturday, June 3, 2017 at 6:22:22 AM and is filed under Computer Security & Data Protection.

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