More than half Android anti-malware apps insufficient, warns study

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More than half of anti-malware apps on Android do not offer sufficient protection to people’s smartphones and tablets, a study has found.

Some 2,000 known malware threats on the operating system were sampled against 250 protection apps in a test. Results showed that only 80 of the apps were able to detect a third of threats and had zero false alarms, while 138 apps fell below or falsely identified other apps deemed virus-free.

A further 32 apps that failed to perform up to expectation have been removed from Google’s Play Store in the last two months.

Offending apps were called buggy or only able to detect a limited number of old Android malware threats, the report states, while others blocked none whatsoever.

Most of the failing apps were developed by amateur programmers or by software manufacturers not specialising in security but who want to have a protection app among their portfolio of apps, AV Comparatives said in its research.

“We recommend using only apps of well-known, verified and reputable vendors,” it said.

“As well as participating in tests by independent test institutes, such vendors will have a professional website with contact information and a privacy policy. It should also be possible to try the app – typically a few weeks’ trial use is allowed – before purchasing.”

Well-known security firms including Avast, AVG, Kaspersky Lab, McAfee and Symantec passed the test with a 100% score.

Chris Price

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