Malwarebytes is without a doubt one of the most well-known and trusted names when it comes to anti-malware software, and has been very busy over the past year in creating more and more products to further protect people from some of the nasties online. Some of their recent products which have been released over the past year are, Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit BETA, Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit BETA & Malwarebytes Secure Backup.
Starting today, their latest product Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Mobile is now available for free for all Android users running Android OS 2.3+ on the Play Store. This is the first version to be released to the public since the Beta version (.apk was available to be installed via sideloading) was released last week and is everything you would expect from the company that has been keeping desktop users safe for many years now. The app itself comes in at a 5.2MB install and will proactively scan all applications and files for malware and spyware as well as giving you a security audit informing you of what apps you currently have installed have access to, which is quite revealing.
Once you have downloaded and installed Malwarebytes for Android, you will be presented with the main logo and a Scan Now button.
Simply hit the green Scan Now icon which will start scanning all your files and installed applications on your native memory and SD card. The initial scan on my Nexus 4 device running Jelly Bean 4.3 only took about 40 seconds to complete (longer depending on how much storage you are using) and then lets you know if there are any issues found.
After the initial scan has completed, simply hit OK to be taken back to the main window, where you can get Malwarebytes to run a security audit for you for all the currently installed apps. To do this select the Privacy Manager icon at the bottom.
As this is the first time you have done this, you will be warned that your application database is empty and you should perform a scan. Hit Scan.
This will now scan all your applications for vulnerabilities on your device and suggest remediation options like, enabling a lock pattern for your phone/tablet, disabling NFC/GPS/Android Beam through to only allowing apps to be installed via the Play Store. Once the scan has completed (few seconds) then you will be able to see the Security Audit report as well what access some apps have to your personal information. For example, out of the 62 apps that I currently have installed, 17 of then can record my calls which I found unnerving. Some of these I can understand like Cerberus and SMS Backup+, but quite why Flickr would need to monitor my call is strange and something I have asked them about. If you want to get a list of what apps have access to certain areas of your personal information then simply select one of the results that it gives in the audit.
Select the Security Audit button to check for issues. Note that if you select the Find My Phone option, (not a Malwarebytes service but was introduced by Google back in August) it will instantly open a browser window and show the current location of your device in Google Maps. GPS is required for this function to work.
Don’t be overly alarmed at some of the suggestions like disabling NFC as it is only a recommendation as it, like all technologies, can be exploited and is therefore a security risk. If you do wish to follow their suggestions then select the recommendation of your choice, which will then take you to the settings area on your device to make any changes you wish.
Users of the app can also choose when scans are performed on their devices, but selecting the options icon ( 3 vertical dots at the top right corner of the window) ans choose Settings. Here you can check Scan history, any available updates for the app or database, hide the application icon that shows and when to schedule scans. (daily/weekly)
That’s pretty much it for the mobile anti-malware app for Android from Malwarebytes, but bear in mind that this is the first release, so there may well be more functions added in the future.