How to check your Android device for vulnerabilities with Belarc Security Advisor

If you're looking for the best Android security reporting tool on the market, Jack Wallen says look no further than Belarc Security Advisor.

Image: Jack Wallen

For many admins, Belarc's Security Adviser is the go-to tool for information gathering on a Windows desktop system. Now, you can reach for Belarc Security Advisor on the Android platform.

What do you get from Belarc?

The single most important element is a report on any system vulnerability. With Belarc, you will find out if there are any installed apps that do not properly validate SSL certificates -- something most standard antivirus and antimalware cannot spot. In fact, Belarc Security Adviser will scan your Android device for over 1,850 known vulnerabilities (as of this writing).

The process will scan every application installed on your device and report back the results. (Belarc is a reporting tool, not an app to fix problems -- although it will make a suggestion.) You should immediately check the flagged app for updates and, if there are none, uninstall any app Belarc lists as vulnerable. Simple.

Installing Belarc Security Advisor

  1. Open the Google Play Store on your Android device.
  2. Search for belarc.
  3. Locate and tap the Belarc Security Advisor entry by Belarc.
  4. Tap Install.
  5. Read the permissions listing carefully.
  6. If the permissions listing is acceptable, tap Accept.
  7. Allow the installation to complete.

You should see a Belarc launcher on your home screen, or in your App Drawer, or in both spots. Tap it to launch the tool.

Using Belarc Security Advisor

When Belarc Security Advisor opens, you will have to agree to an EULA (tap Accept & Begin). As soon as you agree to the license, Belarc will run its first scan automatically. Hopefully, the app will report no vulnerabilities on your device. If the app does find something, it will report the vulnerability as well as its severity (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A
Image: Jack Wallen
Belarc found a moderate vulnerability on a Verizon-branded HTC One M8.

If Belarc does report a vulnerability, tap on it for more information. Most likely, you will be presented with a Check For Updates button for the app (Figure B).

Figure B

Figure B
Image: Jack Wallen
Zoom reported with a vulnerability.

Tap the Check For Updates button. If there are no updates for the app, you should immediately uninstall the app and re-run Belarc to make sure the vulnerability has been removed.

Be sure to run Belarc Security Advisor on a regular basis to keep your system as secure as possible.

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