Apple has tried hard to discredit Android as a virus-infested swamp of malware citing several high-profile Android security threats. We are often asked whether anti-virus apps for Android are necessary, and for good reason. But is this justified?

Not according to Android Security Chief, Adrian Ludwig. Just prior to the Google I/O developer conference earlier this year, Ludwig told reporters “Do I think the average user on Android needs to install anti-virus apps? Absolutely not! I don’t think 99 percent plus of users get a benefit from anti-virus apps”.

As the Android platform evolved and became more popular, so too has the number of potential threats to the system. Anti-virus apps for Android work in a similar way to the anti-virus software you would find on your PC.

Unlike Windows or Mac-based anti-virus softwares, however, Android anti-virus apps do not automatically remove harmful software for you – rather you have to do this manually once they have been identified.

As long as you are careful on the Play Store, downloading apps or data from known and reputable sources, you should remain protected on Android. But why risk it? Threats to Android devices are becoming more and more common. Security experts even recommend downloading software just to run a scan every once in a while and then remove it again.

The downside of installing an anti-virus app is negligible. While they do consume system resources they probably do more good than harm, and if they make you feel more secure, then that’s worth something.