Usually you download apps for your Android smartphone from the Google Play Store. This ensures that the apps are safe and do not contain any malware or similar.
However, there are some apps that you can only get outside of the Play Store as they are not available within the App Market. These apps are available as so-called APK files.
The question that many users are now asking is what about the security of these files?
Is it safe to download a third-party application outside of the Google Play Store and install it on an Android device?
The answer is usually no!
This is because many APK files are manipulated and install malware on the smartphone concerned. With this background knowledge the next question is now:
How do you find out if an APK file is secure or not?
Usually common sense is sufficient to identify such APK files. The following verification measures can provide you with additional certainty:
Scanning the APK with VirusTotal
VirusTotal is a website that allows you to upload the APK to the website and test whether the application is safe or not. The service has a huge library of data on malware, viruses, etc. The uploaded file is compared with this data.
To do this, open:
- Virus Total
Go to the "Select file" button and upload the APK file. Once the file is uploaded, click on the Scan it button and you will shortly receive the result for this app.
Scanning the APK with MetaDefender
MetaDefender is also a good alternative for checking APK files. We recommend that you also use this service to ensure that the application is secure.
To check your APK file, visit the MetaDefender website and click on the paper clip icon in the search box. Start the upload of your APK file. You will then receive the result for the file.
You now know two services that allow you to check an APK file for malicious content. However, it is still best to only use apps from the Google Play Store or Amazon App Store.