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According to Google, less than one hundredth of a percent of apps out there are both malicious and capable of evading the built-in defenses in both Android and the Google Play Store. But if you really feel like you need a defense from that one-in-100,000 app, a trusted name in software protection has just entered the fray. Malwarebytes, makers of the popular eponymous Windows software, is now offering its services on Android.

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The anti-malware app works on the familiar and relatively ancient principle of a scanner paired to an updated database of naughty apps. According to the company's press release, the app actively scans for "over 200 malware families" in real-time in both apps and general files. In addition to the basic scans, Malwarebytes will give you a report of which apps have access to your personal information, and which ones are actively taking advantage of the capabilities that are outlined in Play Store permissions. If that's not enough, it also includes a Security Audit feature, which tells you about potentially unsafe features... like GPS or unsecured WiFi. Which, honestly, you can probably figure out on your own.

The icing on the cake is an application manager that displays system resource usage on a per-app basis and lets you shut them down. You know, just like the Apps section of the Android Settings menu. So yes, power users will find very little that's actually useful in Malwarebytes, but perhaps you can suggest it if you know someone who's heard about Android's "malware problem" and needs a little extra peace of mind. It's a free download for Android 2.3 or later, so at least you're not out of pocket for the experience, which is more than I can say for some other security apps.

SAN JOSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Malwarebytes, a leading provider of anti-malware solutions, today launched a free mobile security application for Android devices. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Mobile, available on Google Play, protects Android phones and tablets from malware, infected apps and unauthorized surveillance. Unlike most security apps that come overloaded with phone location features already found in Android’s Device Manager, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Mobile is “lean,” and provides only the necessary security features to weed out malicious software without impacting your device’s performance.

“Since computer software has been around, people have been finding ways to attack it by through vulnerabilities or through targeting users,” said Marcin Kleczynski, CEO of Malwarebytes. “The Android mobile operating system is no different. Its success in the consumer space—and its openness—has made it a huge target for malware authors.”

What makes Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Mobile stand out is what goes on behind the scenes. Similar to Malwarebytes’ line of signature PC products, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Mobile is powered by an advanced custom-built detection engine that covers over 200 malware families and their variants in real-time to ensure users personal identity and data are protected. This includes thousands of malware types, including Trojans, backdoors and spyware.

In addition to updating the protection database automatically, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Mobile proactively scans third-party applications and files for malware and spyware, and comes equipped with a number of features that identify and close potential security vulnerabilities.

Additional security features found in Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Mobile include:

  • Privacy Manager, which collects and categorizes what personal information is being accessed from third-party apps and breaks down access privileges in detail, so you can track what apps are using unauthorized personal data or costing you money by employing premium services without your knowledge.
  • Security Audit, which flags security vulnerabilities, like GPS tracking and unsecured WiFi, and suggests steps to close them.
  • Application Manager, which identifies what applications are currently running or installed and their CPU usage so you can terminate non-essential operations to conserve battery life and system resources, and to identify unauthorized applications.

For a complete feature list, visit www.malwarebytes.org/products/mobile/.

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • Adam

    Nice, but Sophos is still better.

    • Michael Pahl

      never needed anything but adblocker and i install APKs all the time.

  • Tomáš Petrík

    I would recommend ESET Mobile Security, I use it and it is reliable, low on resources and resembles the HOLO style too.
    It does all the things mentioned here, plus it can filter your calls and texts based on rules you create, you can remotely find/lock/wipe your device etc.
    Basic features are for free, or you can upgrade to a premium license.

    • Rikardof

      your employer strongly agrees with you

      • Jsilvermist

        That find =D

      • Tomáš Petrík

        Sure, so what?
        Is it a bad thing to recommend an app I know closely and I know I can trust?
        Just because I collaborated on its creation, I can't tell that I actually like it?

        • Cuvis

          You may, indeed, believe in your product, but to the rest of us, your post just looks like spam.

          • Tomáš Petrík

            Well I can't influence what it looks like to you, you can either trust me or not
            Or, you know, try the app and see for yourself. There's a 30-day free trial of the premium version.

        • folkrav

          The minimal thing to do is to cite your potential conflict of interest. That's where the line is drawn between hidden advertising and a honest comment on a product you really like.

          • Tomáš Petrík

            I see your point, but to me it would seem rather weird to write something like "Hey, I like this app, but don't take me seriously, because I work for the company that created it."
            As a sidenote, I would like to state that it was purely my personal decision to enter this discussion and offer people something I use.

          • folkrav

            I already have pointed out some online canadian people to some products where I work (The Source, ex Radio-Shack up here). It just suffices to mention it. Your comment would have been taken more seriously that way, to be honest. Just my two cents.

          • Tomáš Petrík

            Well, I saw no reason why that would be necessary, at the time of posting.
            If I was writing my post with the intention of it being some kind of an advertisement, I would consider that appropriate. But that was not the situation.

          • folkrav

            I don't get your obstination. As long as you work for ESET, you will be placed in a conflict of interest position when you talk about their products. It is the least of things just to mention it.

          • Tomáš Petrík

            I am just trying to explain why I did not see that as necessary at the beginning. Sure now that I see what kind of uprising it has caused, I would do it, just for the peace of everybody's mind.

          • Thatguyfromvienna

            Not enclosing this useful information leaves a bad taste for me and many others, I guess. It's somewhat dodgy.

          • Tomáš Petrík

            Honestly, it did not occur to me that anyone would be looking at it this way...

  • John Smith

    i'll stick with Lookout. it found "SMS Replicator".

    • http://www.LOVEanon.org/ Michael Oghia (Ogie)

      Lookout works fine for me! And the UI is just beautiful

      • SaSto

        I actually like Avast. Their anti theft is nice

  • Mark

    Here is your decision tree for installing mobile security/AV/Anti-malware apps:

    1. Do you allow installation of off-market apps?
    > No - You don't need any security apps. They waste your money and battery life.
    > Yes - Do you install pirated apps from shady wares sites on the internet?
    > > No - You don't need any security apps. They waste your money and battery life.
    > > Yes - Do you check permission before granting access?
    > > > Yes - You don't need any security apps. They waste your money and battery life.
    > > > No - Security apps won't help you if you insist on inviting the vampires in.

    2. Do you root your device
    > No - You don't need any security apps. They waste your money and battery life.
    > Yes - Are you smart enough to unlock your bootloader and root manually or did you use a toolkit/one-click method.
    > > ADB/Fastboot - You don't need any security apps. They waste your money and battery life.
    > > toolkit - Do you check permissions and research before granting root access to new apps?
    > > > Yes - You don't need any security apps. They waste your money and battery life.
    > > > No - Don't bother. You're beyond help. You're a danger to yourself.

    • Tomáš Petrík

      Very sad and limited (and, unfortunately, widespread) point of view.

      Your statement would be getting close to true if the security applications offered only scanning against malicious apps and nothing else.

      However, there are tons of other features as well (you choose which you actually find useful and want to use).

      Also, even a renowned vendor might get hacked (or involutarily release an infected file) and you would be downloading a malicious app, thinking it is safe - we have seen that happen already: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/483431/information-about-combofix-being-infected-and-what-you-should-do/

      • Rikardof

        good that you admitted the uselessness of antiviruses on Android (the same applies for any other modern mobile platform). The rest of ‘useful’ features are just gimmicks. Ok, the remote find and wipe is useful, but for that we don't need a third party app anymore

        • Tomáš Petrík

          If after reading my post you think I admitted the security apps are useless, you totally misunderstood me.
          See once again, I am not calling them antiviruses, since antivirus protection is only one of many features that together create a whole.

    • http://www.youtube.com/crisr82 Kristian Ivanov

      Actually you're wrong on two things:
      1. Waste money - most antiviruses/anti-malware is free and you only pay for "gimmicks"
      2. Just having 3G/mobile internet enabled for 1 day will waste you more battery than an antivirus on it's own for a whole month

      And besides, with the amount of websites having specific "mobile versions" you may never know when malicious code will start being a thing there for phones.

    • Danny Ray

      Some of do pay for our apps so as to eliminate ads on our phones.

    • Guest

      I got infected twice from Play Store, while I never got infected from a site I always download from

  • http://www.youtube.com/crisr82 Kristian Ivanov

    While it's a great app on PC, here on Android, I just find it really hard to consider replacing Avast with it. It lacks one of the most useful features for me - a firewall that blocks WiFi/3G/Roaming separately, per app or in general.
    Maybe in the future if they add some more useful things I'll give it a go, but for now, I'll just stick with what I have.

  • Vivek

    TIL : eponymous

  • flosserelli

    Don't install apps/apks from sketchy sites, and you won't need a malware scanner.

  • Zaatour36

    well, I have an idiot friend who installed "BBM for Android" when it's suppose to launch, and it was an adware. I removed it using avast

    and yes, it was from the play store, as many of them are!

    now, sometimes there are pirated paid games/apps on the play store, with many downloads and "good" reviews.

    you need to research before downloading, and read the non-fake reviews, which as "normal" Android user does not do!

    • symbolset

      Oh wow. Over 50 million people have installed Avast for Android. I don't even...

      • omegavesko

        I did, for the Anti-Theft suite it comes with. It does a lot of the same things Cerberus does, except it's free. Why not?

        • symbolset

          If you need me to tell you why not then my answer could not be meaningful to you. So: pass.

  • Cuvis

    At this point, I think there's more anti-malware apps for Android than actual malware apps.

    • NinoBr0wn

      I wouldn't be surprised.

  • HolyFreakingCrap

    I installed this till I found out there is no Exit/Quit option.

  • thunderod

    The "real" spy "bad guy" is android and Google. As the furore himself Eric Schmidt sold out your constitutional rights for fun and profit. While u make issues about nothing he cruises around in his private jet laughing at u. I like what the late Luis Reed said about Americans. " Stick um in the ass with a fork and turn um over, they're done!