Android fans are being warned about a widely-used range of apps found on the Google Play Store. Android is one of the most used pieces of software in the world, with over two billion devices running the Google mobile OS each and every month. The huge Android user base has been the subject of some high profile security alerts such as the Judy malware campaign. This was feared to have infected 36.5million devices through dozens of apps located on the Google Play Store.
And now Android users have once again been put on alert about a security threat, but this time it doesn’t revolve around a specific malware campaign.
New research has discovered that the majority of Android antivirus apps located on the Google Play Store provided a shocking lack of protection for devices.
Some 250 apps claiming to offer cybersecurity for Android devices were teased by AV-Comparatives.
They tested these apps against the 2,000 most common malware threats of 2018.
And the Austrian antivirus testing firm found out of the 250 apps tested, a staggering 138 apps only managed to detect less than 30 per cent of threats.
The study said: “Some of the Android security products in our test blocked so few of the malware samples – in some cases literally none – that they cannot reasonably be described as anti-malware apps”.
Only 23 out of the 250 apps tested managed to register a 100 per cent detection rate of malware samples.
And despite the poor performance of the majority of the apps tested, many had four or higher ratings on the Google Play Store.
Advising how to choose an effective antivirus app, AV-Comparatives said: “When it comes to choosing an Android security app, we recommend considering the following factors.
“Using user ratings is clearly not effective, as the vast majority of users will give their rating based solely on the user experience, without having any idea as to whether the app offers effective protection. Some other reviews will have been faked by developers.
“Most of the 250 apps we looked at had a review score of 4 or higher on the Google Play Store. Similarly, the number of downloads can only be a very rough guide; a successful scam app may be downloaded many times before it is found to be a scam.
“A recent ‘last updated’ date also does not seem to be a good quality indicator, as many low-scoring apps had relatively recent updates.”
They added: “Because of this, we recommend using only apps of well-known, verified and reputable vendors.
“Users can then assess the usability and any additional features of the product.
“A number of vendors make very effective free versions of their apps; generally these are more likely to display advertising than the paid version, though this is not always the case.”
The antivirus Android apps that performed well included those from big names such as AVG, McAfee, Kaspersky, Avast and Trend Micro.
Here are the apps which had a 100 per cent malware detection rate: AhnLab, Antiy, Avast, AVG, AVIRA, Bitdefender, BullGuard, Chili Security, Emsisoft, ESET, ESTSoft, F-Secure, G Data, Kaspersky Lab, McAfee, PSafe, Sophos, STOPzilla, Symantec, Tencent, Total Defense, Trend Micro and Trustwave.