Recently a survey conducted by AV-Comparatives over Android antivirus products from the Google Play Store brought out surprising results. A group of 250 Android so-called antivirus apps were tested and only 80 were found to block more than 30% of malware samples. A number of the apps tested didn’t even have any antivirus usefulness at all.
The company, that rates antivirus programs on their effectiveness, tested each app with 2,000 of the most common Android malware threats, then noted which were caught and which passed through. The tests were automated but were performed on real phones rather than emulators.
Interestingly, they found that many of the supposed antivirus apps simply marked every other app on the user’s phone as suspicious unless it was on a hard-coded list of allowed apps.
Some apps indicated a progress bar during a “scan,” but that was just in accordance with a predefined delay based on the number of files on the phone. A short number of apps even detected themselves as risky since the developers for some forgot to add their own name to the app’s list of allowed apps.
The test also found out rampant plagiarism among the less-legitimate apps. Many just used the antivirus engine from other reputable application, while some even copied the interface of the legitimate app.
It can be tough these days to determine which apps are real since shady developers can even purchase comments and ratings.
AV-Comparatives recommends preferring well-known brands.
The recognizable names that performed well in the test were Avast, McAfee, Tencent, AVG, Avira, Bitdefender, ESET, F-Secure, Kaspersky Lab, Sophos, STOPzilla, Symantec etc.