There are hundreds of anti-virus apps for Android and other mobile platforms and they have only one task to perform – to keep smartphones secure and free from viruses. But according to a recent report, a majority of anti-virus and anti-malware apps for Android are unreliable and ineffective.
A report states that Austrian antivirus testing company AV-Comparatives chose 138 vendors including Avast, AVG, Cheetah Mobile, DU Master, BitDefender, ESET, Falcon Security Lab, and others, that have their antivirus apps up on the Google Play. Then, 250 antivirus apps were tested manually. The apps were installed on Android devices in order to run an automated process which involved opening a web browser and downloading a malicious app on the same device. The process was followed 2,000 times to observe the apps’ behaviours and it led to a final outcome that most of the apps weren’t able to detect the virus or malware.
We should also add that among the antiviruses that were put to test, 170 of them failed in the basic detection tests while only 23 of the antiviruses managed to detect 100 percent of the malware samples. Surprisingly, 16 of the antiviruses in the list of apps that were tested didn’t even support Android 8.0 Oreo or above.
However, in the testing done by the AV-Comparatives, there were some antiviruses which were able to detect and block the malicious apps. But as mentioned earlier, there were a majority of antivirus apps which were able to detect the some of the old malicious apps and samples and allowed other apps which contained certain strings, they used a ‘whitelist’ for the protection.
However, the most shocking finding in these test was that some of these Android antivirus apps detected themselves as malicious apps since their vendors hadn’t added their own package name to the whitelist. But there were some apps which were noticed with wildcards to allow packages beginning with text such as ‘com.adobe’. Such packages were allowed to enter the system without effort, however this could be a way for the hackers to bypass the security and enter the system using similar package names.
The AV-Comparatives team noted that since they tested 2,000 of the most common Android malware threats that were prevalent last year, the detection rates were between 90 to 100 percent. These numbers could easily be achieved if an effective anti-malware app is used.