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Biggest-ever test of security apps against Android malware

Major new test of Android security apps shows that less than half provide effective protection – Out of 204 mobile apps tested, the majority were dubious, unsafe or ineffective.

AV-Comparatives have released their report on the biggest-ever test of Android security apps and their effectiveness against Android malware. The independent testing lab put 204 Android AV apps to the test against an array of common threats, and found that some are much more effective than others. Less than 1 in 6 of the apps tested defended against all 2,000 malicious apps, while over a third failed to reach a block rate of even 30%.

Although an automated process (developed in co-operation with the University of Innsbruck) was employed, the test used physical Android devices rather than an emulator, in order to ensure the most accurate possible 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.

AV-Comparatives’ founder and CEO Andreas Clementi noted, “This year’s test once again shows that user ratings are no indicator of how effective a security app is. Many of the apps that failed to provide effective protection against malware nonetheless had very good user ratings in the Google Play Store. Users should be aware that such ratings can at best only relate to the user experience, and at worst will mean that an app has deceived the user into thinking it’s good – e.g. by detecting a harmless app as malicious. Good results in an independent lab test are the best indicator that a program will really protect you. Our annual in-depth review and test of Android security programs provides users with a feature list and user-interface report, letting them pick the best app for their needs”.

As with all AV-Comparatives’ public-test reports, the Android Test Report is available to the public free of charge. You can download it here (PDF).