[Q] How can I test an .apk to see if it's "safe" to install?

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critofur

Senior Member
Jan 21, 2011
570
97
NYC/Tokyo
Hi,
Sometimes an app (.apk) is either simply not available through Google's store, or it might say "not compatible with your device", etc. There can be various reasons why a person might download a .apk from somewhere other than a "trusted" source.

If this was a file for my PC I could test it in a "sandbox", and I could scan it with both Microsoft Security Essentials and Malware Bytes Antimalware.

On my Android phone(s) I'm not aware of something like the "sandbox" option, and I don't really want to run an "antivirus" program on my phone. Is there an easy way to scan .apk files on the PC to see if they are rogue apps, might send SMS, "phone home", or otherwise mess with other applications or the system software installed on my phone?

Lets give another example: say I thought 15 minutes was not long enough to evaluate a relatively expensive Android game (it certainly isn't!) and I want to test it out first. Let's assume my only option in that case might be an illegally downloaded copy from unknown sources. Of course, we shouldn't do that. But if we did, how could we know if the file is safe and not risk installing some Chinese spyware?

About Android AV programs: anybody know how effective they are? Do some defend against "trojans" - I would think these days trojans are 99% of problems and viruses mostly a relic of the past?

My biggest concern is actually just unwanted crap that runs in the background which eats up battery, makes my phone warm (which I hate), or, perhaps even sends SMS message [this would be even worse because I don't have a text message plan].

EDIT: I see web pages with tiles like "new study finds Android antivirus apps not effective" and articles like this one: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/hardware/...bouncer-does-it-offer-enough-protection/17981

Do we have an easy way to boot Galaxy S3 off of "external" SDCARD instead of internal memory?
 
Last edited:

G0ldengirl68

Senior Member
Jan 4, 2017
71
7
Crescent City, CA
I love the apk I got from androidlooks.com, here a pic. I'm running Nova launcher and the theme is Toony:
 

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  • 9
    Go here and upload the APK

    http://anubis.iseclab.org/

    Anubis is a service for analyzing malware.

    Submit your Windows executable or Android APK and receive an analysis report telling you what it does. Alternatively, submit a suspicious URL and receive a report that shows you all the activities of the Internet Explorer process when visiting this URL.

    Andrubis executes Android apps in a sandbox and provides a detailed report on their behavior, including file access, network access, crypto operations, dynamic code loading and information leaks. In addition to the dynamic analysis in the sandbox, Andrubis also performs static analysis, yielding information on e.g. the app's activities, services, required external libraries and actually required permissions.
    7
    Found a good one too

    apkscan.nviso.be - give it a try. Drag and drop - wait for the upload - than click SCAN . Wait for a few minutes. That`s all. Unlike ANUBIS it has a resolution at the end of the analysis . Usually helpful.
    3
    Hi,
    Sometimes an app (.apk) is either simply not available through Google's store, or it might say "not compatible with your device", etc. There can be various reasons why a person might download a .apk from somewhere other than a "trusted" source.

    If this was a file for my PC I could test it in a "sandbox", and I could scan it with both Microsoft Security Essentials and Malware Bytes Antimalware.

    On my Android phone(s) I'm not aware of something like the "sandbox" option, and I don't really want to run an "antivirus" program on my phone. Is there an easy way to scan .apk files on the PC to see if they are rogue apps, might send SMS, "phone home", or otherwise mess with other applications or the system software installed on my phone?

    Lets give another example: say I thought 15 minutes was not long enough to evaluate a relatively expensive Android game (it certainly isn't!) and I want to test it out first. Let's assume my only option in that case might be an illegally downloaded copy from unknown sources. Of course, we shouldn't do that. But if we did, how could we know if the file is safe and not risk installing some Chinese spyware?

    About Android AV programs: anybody know how effective they are? Do some defend against "trojans" - I would think these days trojans are 99% of problems and viruses mostly a relic of the past?

    My biggest concern is actually just unwanted crap that runs in the background which eats up battery, makes my phone warm (which I hate), or, perhaps even sends SMS message [this would be even worse because I don't have a text message plan].

    EDIT: I see web pages with tiles like "new study finds Android antivirus apps not effective" and articles like this one: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/hardware/...bouncer-does-it-offer-enough-protection/17981

    Do we have an easy way to boot Galaxy S3 off of "external" SDCARD instead of internal memory?
    3
    I found this website, maybe it can help someone.

    h t t p://scan.netqin.com/en/


    Maybe someone can post another one...
    2
    Search play store for avast antivirus, completely free, updates daily and works really well (firewall. Anti theft. And many more Features

    sony xperia ray ics 4.0.4
    stock rom unrooted