How to Avoid Malware Apps in the Google Play Store

Malware has become a concern for Android users utilizing the Google Play Store. While Google has a rigid policy in place to protect users by screening apps that go live, they can’t catch them all. The BadNews malware bug hit an estimated two to nine million Google Play Store users after it was found in thirty-two apps available for download. The question is: How can you avoid malware apps in the Google Play Store and not be one of those people who get infected?

Check the app release date

Check the date, ratings and downloads to avoid malware apps

All apps in the Google Play Store have 1 -2 dates associated with it: The original upload date or the latest update. This can be an indicator whether or not the app is new or reliable. The more updates an app has, the more stable the app is. You seldom find a malware app releasing updates or even stay in the Play Store for months.

Check the number of downloads

After checking the upload date or the latest update, check the number of downloads. If an app has a high number of downloads, this can show that users trust it.  Why would users download an app if it wasn’t worth it?

Check the app’s permissions

checking-app-permissions to avoid malware apps

When you install an app, the Google Play Store shows you what permissions it needs to operate on your device. Most apps need very basic functions to work, but others will ask for access to your whole phone or tablet. Malware is a high threat to you because it can often infect a computer or mobile device by getting to where other threats can’t.

Check for developer’s web site and support e-mail


Legitimate developers don’t just want to sell you an app; they want to build a community. By providing an e-mail and web site, they can be held accountable for issues the app presents for you. You can contact them directly and address concerns with an app. If an app developer doesn’t provide this information, it can be a cause for concern and should be looked at along with ratings, reviews and release dates.

Read the users’ reviews


When you visit the Google Play Store, you can see reviews from other users. Read those reviews. Many times you can learn more about the app than the developer ever tells you by reading the reviews.

Read the reviews to learn how the app works on the device. Does it create notifications that have nothing to do with the app itself? Do pop-ups appear within the app? Or maybe the app doesn’t function the way it’s supposed to. Along with just making the app undesirable, these can also be signs the app is either malware-based or contains a way to spread malware onto your Android device.

Install an anti-malware app


If you’re still skeptical regarding your options to avoid malware apps in the Google Play Store, you can utilize an anti-malware scanner to help determine if these apps are a threat. There are many anti-malware apps available for Android devices, but Zoner is my personal favorite. It serves as an anti-virus and anti-malware app rolled into one. I have yet to see it detect malware on my Android phone, but it has picked up threats hidden in my e-mails and from websites I’ve visited.

You can also check out CodeProof, Lookout to help avoid malware apps and secure your Android device.

Can you truly avoid malware apps in the Google Play Store?

The Google Play Store, and Android devices in general, haven’t had many issues with malware. While BadNews did in fact give the Play Store a bad rap, it wasn’t as horrible as it could have been considering how many use the store every day and how few have had issues with malware. By paying attention to what you are installing on your device and following these points, you can be as vigilant as possible to avoid malware apps in the Google Play Store.

Let us know what other ways you use to avoid malware apps in Google Play?

Melissa Popp
Melissa Popp

Melissa Popp has been a freelance writer for over a decade. While she primarily has focused on writing about technology, she's also written about everything from custom mailboxes to health care to just about anything in between. Melissa is the Content Strategist for, the nation's leading marketplace for trailers for sale, the Social Media Manager for the best roofing Denver company as well as a Writer here at MakeTechEasier. She's a proud support of the Denver SEO community and a big fan of online radio.

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