We at Android Police take our mobile security pretty seriously. It's in the job description. Entering the realm of mobile security today is yet another contender on the good side of the battle: VirusTotal has released its client for Android. Prior to this, VirusTotal was a simple website where you can upload suspicious files to be scanned by a multitude of antivirus engines. Having provided this desktop OS-oriented service for several years now, VirusTotal has brought its experience and expertise to mobile.

However, its mobile offering is slightly different than its desktop counterpart. As mobile devices are often data-limited, VirusTotal for Android instead checks an identifying hash of each application installed on your mobile device against the website's database. If your applications have already been uploaded to VirusTotal by someone else, you will get results based on that. If an app crops up that has not been scanned before, you then have the option to upload it for an on-demand scan.

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Looking at the screenshots, it's clear that the emphasis is on functionality rather than contemporary UI design, but given the utility nature of the application things like a slick interface are a distant second to the benevolent service offered.

Source: VirusTotal Blog

Thanks, Justin!

Brian O'Toole
Having learnt his writing techniques reading e-Books of Sherlock Holmes, Brian now spends his time /kicking, lurking, SSHing and encoding.
  • NathanDrago

    No need for that. Just install Avast Mobile and worry no more.

    • Paul_Werner

      Same here, gotta love the root features in Avast too

  • Dipish

    This sounds great! VirusTotal is not just a utility that helps you check apps for viruses, it's a community-driven platform that helps people detect malicious software.

    Hopefully this will help fight mobile app developers doing nasty things in their apps...

  • http://www.jonathanacohen.com Jonathan Cohen

    Pretty pointless - seems like nearly 50% of the apps on my phone were identified as question marks (meaning they're not in the VirusTotal database), and it wanted me to sign up as a VirusTotal member so I could submit information about them (I think). No thanks.

    Also it identified Opera Mobile as an issue based on a report from F-Prot that it was a 'damaged file'?

    Not useful to me.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Give it a little time, and they'll be populated as people submit the apks using the very VT community program you just mentioned. It's day 1 of the release, come on, cut them some slack.

  • Joeschmoe2008

    Just a nitpick, but there's not actually 40+ different antivirus sources as it's actually closer to 25 or so.  Many of the antivirus programs on virustotal share the same scanning engines and database of signature updates.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    Since someone brought up the question of VT letting their engines go out of date, I dug up this entry in their FAQ https://www.virustotal.com/faq/ that hopefully helps show that the accusation is just FUD:

    Some engines have relatively old last update dates, please update the antivirus signature set
    antivirus solution present in VirusTotal makes a signature update
    infrastructure available to VirusTotal. VirusTotal periodically polls
    this infrastructure (each 15 minutes) in order to see if there is
    anything new to download. Therefore, if the last update date for new
    file scans is old it is because the given antivir

    • Joeschmoe2008

      I think you are talking about two separate issues.  One being the scanning engine and the other being the signature updates.  VT used to use older scanning engines but that seems to have changed over the past year.  The signature updates are pretty much kept to date although there are some antivirus companies that, for what ever reason, stop updating consistently with VT.  Prevx was pulled recently as they stopped updating since the Webroot takeover.