VirusTotal is a free online malware scanning service that utilizes antivirus engines of multiple renowned computer and network security solution providers to detect potential malice attached to the user-specified files and URLs. Having catered to the malware detection needs of computer and web users, the trusted service has now turned its attention towards mobile users by releasing its official Android app in the Google Play Store. The mobile app is neither a malware scanner in itself, nor some feature-laden system protection tool. In fact, all it does is check your Android’s system and installed apps for potential hazards against its extensive database. Each individual app gets tested by as many as 40 different antivirus vendors that VirusTotal supports, and at the end of each scan, users are presented with the security status of the app, as well as the detailed results obtained through the process itself. Details to follow.
Although not the best-looking app around, VirusTotal for Android certainly brings something relatively new to the table in terms of providing information about the suspicious apps on your device. For instance, if you ever wished to pit a specific app against the virus definition database of a certain antivirus solution, you can now achieve the purpose easily without having to install multiple solutions. Just to give our readers a hint of supported antivirus services, VirusTotal has the following vendors integrated with its own service:
- and plenty more
From the app’s functionality or layout perspective, no prolonged descriptions are required. Upon launch, VirusTotal scans your device for all the third-party and system apps and presents them under separate tabs. The blue question mark icon beside an app implies that data pertaining to that particular app is currently missing from the VirusTotal database. To remedy this issue, there is a dedicated file/app uploader tool in place that users can avail (requires login). Once a specific app gets uploaded and scanned by VirusTotal, the service’s online database automatically gets updated with relevant details.
The green Android icon displayed alongside an app indicates a completely clean scan result, whereas the red one indicates an app that has been detected for potential malware by a specific (or multiple) antivirus services. Tapping an app title takes you to another screen, from where you may monitor the total number of antivirus vendors that have detected some sort of malicious code within the selected app.
Tap the Detailed results tab and you’ll be able to check out the details of various threats detected by each individual vendor. To exclude the services that have deemed the app as ‘clean’, tap Menu > Positive. This will leave you with just those services that have some concerns regarding the app. The detected threat (virus type) is also displayed alongside each vendor.
As with the service itself, the mobile client of VirusTotal is dedicated to only bringing your attention towards a specific threat that your apps might be carrying. Tackling those issues is entirely upon the users’ discretion. Just like the VirusTotal website, its official Android client is also free.