Software & Design

Android Antivirus Doesn't Actually Work

The open nature of the Android platform, along with its growing popularity has made it something of a potential target for malware. To combat that, there’s a number of paid and free AV products that you can run on your Android phone or tablet. The only problem? They apparently don’t work well — if at all.

AV-TEST.org ran seven free and two paid Android AV apps through their paces with 83 APK and 89 Dalvik binary packages. The free AV solutions were Antivirus Free, BluePoint Antivirus Free, GuardX Antivirus, Kinetoo Malware Scan, LabMSF Antivirus beta, Privateer Lite and Zoner AntiVirus Free, while the paid tested apps were from Kaspersky and F-Secure.

The results, to put it politely, weren’t very good. I’ll be more explicit than that. They were crap. The two paid products detected at least 50 per cent of malware, but on the free side of the fence, the best result was for Zoner, which picked 32 per cent of malicious files. That still means it left 68 per cent of the bad stuff through, at which point I’d say there’s no point in running it at all. Frankly, even the test results for the paid apps aren’t as good as I’d like to see, although the test document doesn’t list the specifics for those apps, I’d need to see more data before condemning them utterly.

(Note: To ward off the inevitable; other closed mobile platforms are also targets for malware, obviously — but there are far fewer AV products for them, and that’s what this story addresses.) [AV-TEST.org via PC Advisor]


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