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Fred232

New user to MWB on Android - few questions

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I've just started a Premium trial of MWB on a new Android (Oppo) phone and have a few questions please to clarify some things for me. Its a new phone that I'm just playing around with at the moment getting used to it and Android, so I'm putting apps on it but no file data ( my photos, Music etc ). All scans pass OK, which clearly should be the case on a new phone.

 

1 When I run a scan it says something like 'scanned: 264 apps and 159 files'. But the 159 files seems to be increasing. Is it possible to see what is being scanned in a report somewhere, ie exactly what apps and what files are scanned? If I look in the phones File Manager it shows no files, yet MWB is scanning 159.

If I look in Privacy Audit it lists "X apps can do this or that". So for example 'Can install apps from an unknown source' it shows 14 apps, but when you press 'Configure in settings' it actually has 16 listed ( Phone Manager and Theme Store are the extra two ) and they are all set to off anyway and the phone itself reports none are turned on. Similarly, when you go to 'Can make calls' MWB says 25 apps can, but when you look in System>App Permissions, it says only 3 apps can make a call and they are all set to ask not allow. So I assume 'Can' means what it says i.e. its possible for the app to make a call.  But wouldn't it be a better privacy report if it dug a little further and actually reported the apps that have the ability and the permission to make a call? And secondly, isn't there a discrepancy in the numbers being reported and the permissions the phone actually lets you set? Or have I misread it?

And as a follow on to 2, obviously 22 Apps that MWB says can make a call are not listed in the phones call permission settings to do anything about even if I wanted to. Is that something to worry about?  For example 'EngineerMode' or 'Shell' can make calls according to MWB, but they are not listed by the phone in the 'make a call' section to alter their permissions.

And finally, Is MWB for Android a stand alone AV package for the phone, or can/should it be used with other scanners like Avira or Kaspersky? Should it be on its own or can it run with other AV Apps for (hopefully) better protection. I know on a PC you should not have two full AV products, but I'm new to Android and not sure.

 

Thanks

 

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Sorry there was one more as well.

4 I've read of reports that some Chinese and even Samsung phones in the past have had Malware installed somehow from new. Is this really true? But more importantly if it is, would MWB detect and remove this IF there was any malware or spyware on the phone installed from new?

Thanks again.

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Greetings,

Malwarebytes should be all you need to protect your Android device as long as you are using the Premium version with all real-time protection enabled.

I don't have answers to all of your questions unfortunately, particularly those dealing with the scan results so I will have to let someone else address those, however you may find some answers within the Malwarebytes for Android and Chromebook guide as well as this support article and this support article.

With regards to preinstalled malware, that unfortunately is a reality.  One such incident was reported on in this Malwarebytes Labs article and the following is a quote from the end of the article:

Finding preinstalled malware on your device can be tricky—a mobile scanner can assist with finding them for you. 

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Mobile detects Adware YeMobi along with other preinstalled malware and can be found for FREE on Google Play.

 

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I believe the article and quote above should address your questions regarding preinstalled malware/PUPs (definitely real, unfortunately), however I do not have any details on any specific phone carriers/manufacturers or threats which might have been found to be preinstalled on their devices, however someone from the staff may have additional details.

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Hi @Fred232,

Let me see if I can answer your questions.

 

8 hours ago, Fred232 said:

1 When I run a scan it says something like 'scanned: 264 apps and 159 files'. But the 159 files seems to be increasing. Is it possible to see what is being scanned in a report somewhere, ie exactly what apps and what files are scanned? If I look in the phones File Manager it shows no files, yet MWB is scanning 159.

Increasing numbers of files is normal.  Most likely just typical system files.  No need to worry about them too much.  We just scan them to make sure an APK isn't hiding as a file in storage.  We scan all your apps (listed under Your apps) in addition to system files.  These system files won't be shown in reports or in a File Manager.

8 hours ago, Fred232 said:

If I look in Privacy Audit it lists "X apps can do this or that". So for example 'Can install apps from an unknown source' it shows 14 apps, but when you press 'Configure in settings' it actually has 16 listed ( Phone Manager and Theme Store are the extra two ) and they are all set to off anyway and the phone itself reports none are turned on. Similarly, when you go to 'Can make calls' MWB says 25 apps can, but when you look in System>App Permissions, it says only 3 apps can make a call and they are all set to ask not allow. So I assume 'Can' means what it says i.e. its possible for the app to make a call.  But wouldn't it be a better privacy report if it dug a little further and actually reported the apps that have the ability and the permission to make a call? And secondly, isn't there a discrepancy in the numbers being reported and the permissions the phone actually lets you set? Or have I misread it?

You are correct.  Can simply means it is possible.  The discrepancy in the numbers is because you are not seeing system apps.  For example, in Can install apps from an unknown source, we might show Nfc Service.  This isn't listed in Configure in Settings because it is a system app.  I'll forward to our developers about just showing things that are set to allowed and have the permissions However, the Privacy audit is meant to give a bigger picture of what potentially has the ability to do different things.

8 hours ago, Fred232 said:

And finally, Is MWB for Android a stand alone AV package for the phone, or can/should it be used with other scanners like Avira or Kaspersky? Should it be on its own or can it run with other AV Apps for (hopefully) better protection. I know on a PC you should not have two full AV products, but I'm new to Android and not sure.

Yes, you can absolutely use with other AVs if you wish.

8 hours ago, Fred232 said:

4 I've read of reports that some Chinese and even Samsung phones in the past have had Malware installed somehow from new. Is this really true? But more importantly if it is, would MWB detect and remove this IF there was any malware or spyware on the phone installed from new?

This was already addressed by @exile360, but I'll reiterate that pre-installed malware does indeed exist.  And yes, we do detect.  Although we cannot uninstall system apps (which pre-installed malware is), we instruct on how to disable.  Furthermore, we have a work around if disabling does not work.  No need to worry about this unless we are detecting a system app.

Nathan

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Thank you, Nathan for providing answers to the user's questions, I wasn't certain about the technical/scan engine stuff and didn't want to state anything that wasn't accurate.

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Many thanks for all the replies and info. I'll definitely put MWB on the phone when the trial expires.

All I was thinking re is that the audit as it is, is useful for overall information. But if it could have an advanced setting to only show the apps that can and do have permissions, it may help people tighten down on the security a little quicker, or at least concentrate on looking at the most important apps first (the Apps with the permissions granted) rather than to-ing and fro-ing between long lists of Apps.

Just a final suggestion, how about adding a search function to some of the longer lists like the lists in 'your apps' esp the System Apps list, as one example. Just in case you needed to look for something.

 

But again, thanks for your helpful and quick replies.

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Thank you for the suggestions, we'll be certain to pass them on to the Product team for consideration :) 

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