How to know if an APK contains viruses or other malware

The safest way to install apps on Android is doing it from the Play Store. The Google store has an integrated antivirus service called Google Play Protect that analyzes any application before installing it and periodically checks our device for any possible threat. But what happens if we install an application using an APK package?

The great danger of installing applications through APK installation files is that there is no way to know what they have inside. In other words, we cannot guarantee that they do not contain any type of virus or other type of malware at first glance, since they do not differ in any way from a "healthy" APK. Therefore, if we are used to installing applications from unknown sources or alternative repositories, it is advisable to install a good antivirus for our Android.

How to know if an APK file contains viruses or any other type of harmful software

However, if we normally only install applications and games from the Play Store -or any other trusted alternative repository-, installing an antivirus may not compensate us too much.

For those specific moments in which we install an APK and we want to make sure that no virus is creeping into us, the best thing is to do an online security scan. For this, there are free analysis services such as VirusTotal, which uses up to 55 antivirus and 59 online detection engines.

  • We open the browser and enter the website of VirusTotal.
  • In section "File"Click on"Choose File”And select the APK file that we want to verify.
  • Next, click on "Confirm upload”To upload the APK to the VirusTotal servers and perform the security analysis.

Automatically, we will see how little by little the results are shown on the screen of each of the 59 antivirus used to scan our APK. Thus, if the system has not detected any malicious software, the message “Undetected”In each and every one of the results, as we see in the screenshot above.

If we go to the tab "Summary”We can see a summary of the 59 engines used, as well as a detailed list of the file's properties in the“Details”. If everything is in order, we can proceed to install the APK of the application without fear that our Android device may be infected.

Other tools to scan APK files

In addition to this, there are other web tools that allow us to check the integrity and security of any installation from external sources.


Like VirusTotal, Metadefender It is a web page that we can visit directly from our browser. It allows upload APK files up to 140MB and uses multiple antivirus engines to analyze the file. If everything has gone correctly, we will see a message like this.

On the contrary, if an antivirus identifies a risk, no matter how small, we will see a message like this one.


The big difference of NVISIO APK Scan regarding Metadefender is that does not have a maximum size limit for the file to be analyzed. To launch the scan, all we have to do is select the file and click on the "Scan package”. Once the APK has been analyzed, we can ask the application to notify us by email or directly see the result on the screen.

If you found this post interesting, you can find other similar articles in the section Android.

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