Two-thirds of Android antivirus apps block less than 30 percent of threats

Mobile phone malware

In one of the biggest tests of Android antivirus software ever conducted, out of 250 apps tested the majority proved to be dubious, unsafe or ineffective.

Independent testing organization AV-Comparatives put the apps to the test against an array of common threats and found that some are not properly protecting users.

Less than one in 10 of the apps tested defended against all 2,000 malicious apps, while over two thirds failed to reach a block rate of even 30 percent. Employing an automated test process (developed in co-operation with the University of Innsbruck), the test used physical Android devices rather than an emulator, in order to ensure the most accurate results. Any malware samples not detected in an on-demand scan were installed and run, giving the security programs every opportunity to prove their protective capabilities.

"Although the number of Android security apps on the market has increased since last year, our test shows that a smaller proportion of the available apps will actually provide effective protection," says AV-Comparatives' founder and CEO Andreas Clementi. "Last year, a third of the security apps we tested failed to detect even 30 percent of malicious samples; this year, that proportion rose to over two thirds. User ratings in the Google Play Store might show that a security app is easy to use. However, without independent testing, users cannot be sure if its detections are genuine, or whether it has given a clean bill of health to a malicious program. Our test report lets you know which programs will protect your Android device, without false alarms."

If you want to make sure your device is properly protected then there are 23 apps that achieved 100 percent detection and 14 managing more than 99 percent.

For a full list of all the apps tested with their scores and details of the methodology used, visit the AV-Comparatives site.

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