Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Free Anti-Malware Services for Android Failing Tests

By - Source: AV-TEST | B 14 comments

Out of seven free anti-malware apps downloaded and installed from the Android Market, only one proved to provide decent protection.

AV-TEST has released a report claiming that not all free antivirus solutions found on the Android Market will actually protect consumer devices.

The company came to this conclusion after testing seven "freeware" applications ranging from Antivirus Free by Creative Apps to Zoner AntiVirus Free by Zoner. Out of this group, Zoner's solution gave the best performance, detecting 8 out of 10 malware upon installation, and 55 out of 172 during a manual scan. That's right: that was the best performance out of seven free anti-malware apps.

"The results of the real-time guard functionality were quite shocking," the report states. "The guard should warn the user upon installation of malicious apps. The 10 malware samples were chosen with the help of AV-TEST's own analysis system, which uses more than 30 virus scanners to analyze the APK files. The test set contains the 10 files, which were most often classified as malware by the virus scanners. Because of the high detection rates these files can be considered as well known and should therefore be detected by a reliable virus-scanner. Did the vendors of mobile security apps know them, too?"

According to the test results, Antivirus Free by Creative Apps, GuardX Antivirus and LabMSF Antivirus beta failed to detect malware upon installation. BluePoint AntiVirus Free, Kinetoo Malware Scan and Privateer Lite still warned against one malicious app. In comparison to the free apps, the commercial products of F-Secure and Kaspersky unsurprisingly detected all threats without a problem.

To put this problem in perspective, the report points out that the most popular free malware suite of the group is Antivirus Free by Creative Apps with 1,000,000 to 5,000,000 installations, yet it doesn't offer "reliable" protection. The only free product found to be useful, Zoner AntiVirus Free, has only 50,000 to 100,000 users.

"The circulation of obviously near to useless security apps endangers those who trust them and install apps from 3rd party app markets without further auspiciousness," AV-TEST claims in its report.

AV-TEST conducted its test using a Samsung Galaxy Tab and Google's Android 2.2.1 "Froyo" OS. The products were downloaded and installed through the Android Market, and had to prove their functionality in on-demand-scanning and the detection of 10 widely spread malicious apps. The scanned test set contained 83 Android installation packages (APK) and 89 Dalvik binaries (DEX). No files were older than 5 months.

To read the full report provided by AV-TEST, check out the PDF file here.

Discuss
Ask a Category Expert

Create a new thread in the Streaming Video & TVs forum about this subject

Example: Notebook, Android, SSD hard drive

This thread is closed for comments
  • 2 Hide
    Onus , November 15, 2011 9:02 AM
    I wish they had included AVG Free.
  • -2 Hide
    cancer2 , November 15, 2011 9:03 AM
    Oh well, it seems that we have to pay to secure our data, nothing new here. The anti-malware product companies will make an honest buck thanks to the not "so" honest malware.
    This market just began expanding, and I bet it looks like a fresh, ripe fruit for the taking, because of the increasing usage of the smartphones(and now we buy stuff directly from the device too).
    I'm willing to pay the price if it guarantees my device will be secured. What do you guys think? Is it worth it throwing a couple of bucks/euros for your safety, and if so how much?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 15, 2011 10:59 AM
    I think its typical of Apps. Even with Apple's store. Their is a lot of free junk out there. Just ask yourself a question. How will a free Anti Virus app work? Who is going to spend time updating virus definitions for a "free" app? Unless its a app from a reputable paid anti virus service? Actually why does Android need Anti Virus? If Google would be more diligent about its Apps being virus free. Their would be a whole lot less concern over viruses.
  • Display all 14 comments.
  • -1 Hide
    Herr_Koos , November 15, 2011 11:05 AM
    Proper AV protection is freely available on Windows, and the same should be true of smartphones.
  • 0 Hide
    davidgermain , November 15, 2011 12:02 PM
    any tested AVG - its the one i use and am now worried!
  • -2 Hide
    davidgermain , November 15, 2011 12:03 PM
    It would have been more useful if they tested paid for as it seem's that you may get what you pay for in this case
  • -1 Hide
    whiteodian , November 15, 2011 2:37 PM
    I've been wanting to upgrade my iPhone 3GS to an Android for a little while. This information is disturbing. 1) Although it isn't new news to me that you can get viruses from the Android Market, I'm still shocked. My first thoughts are WTF, don't they have any regulation or control on what gets published? 2) I guess you get what you pay for. Buy a high rated effective antivirus.
  • -1 Hide
    g-thor , November 15, 2011 2:48 PM
    Seems like a very shallow test, both in the group of apps tested and in the testing method. While there is some validity to what they did, it falls short.

    Hey Tom's, want to do a comprehensive evaluation of anti-virus apps? You can have your Apple review crew do the iOS ones, and your Google gang do the android ones. That would be a worthwhile review.
  • -1 Hide
    bluedragon76 , November 15, 2011 6:17 PM
    No mention of any of the which actual 'threats' they tested. How thorough of them. How do we know they didn't just make this up if they don't list which threats they tested against? Fail.
  • 0 Hide
    dalethepcman , November 15, 2011 8:17 PM
    This test seems rather bogus. They didn't test the two most popular free av suits, AVG (10-50 million installs) and Lookout (10-50 million installs).

    I could do a more comprehensive study from my couch in 8 hours... The article title should read "Epic Fail : Free android AV tested, testing lab comes out on bottom"
  • -1 Hide
    sykozis , November 15, 2011 8:32 PM
    Herr_KoosProper AV protection is freely available on Windows, and the same should be true of smartphones.

    But, even on Windows, you do get what you pay for....and sometimes less. McAfee is a good example. You pay a premium for the brand...
    davidgermainIt would have been more useful if they tested paid for as it seem's that you may get what you pay for in this case

    They tested F-Secure and Kaspersky....but did leave out AVG, Norton, DrWeb, ESET, and Vipre....
    dalethepcmanThis test seems rather bogus. They didn't test the two most popular free av suits, AVG (10-50 million installs) and Lookout (10-50 million installs). I could do a more comprehensive study from my couch in 8 hours... The article title should read "Epic Fail : Free android AV tested, testing lab comes out on bottom"

    Testing the free version of AVG would be pointless if they tested the paid version. The only difference between the paid and free versions of AVG are the configuration options. AVG uses the same scan engine(s) and database for both versions, so the results for either should be easy to replicate with the other if using the default settings. Honestly, given AVG's track record, I'd say the results from F-Secure and Kaspersky are more than sufficient to determine the effectiveness of AVG as I'd expect all 3 to give the same results.
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , November 15, 2011 9:42 PM
    A test comparing free antivirus apps to commercial ones, conducted by AV-TEST ("The Independent IT-Security Institute"), and yet it fails to include:

    Lookout Security & Antivirus
    Antivirus Free by AVG
    Dr.Web Anti-virus Light
    Norton Mobile Security Lite

    Sooo fishy, I'm surprised they had the nerve to publish it online. Apparently they have an agenda. I don't think I can trust a test from AV-TEST ever again.
  • -1 Hide
    eddieroolz , November 16, 2011 12:37 AM
    In other words, if you can develop a good anti-virus system on Android you can potentially monopolize the market.
  • 0 Hide
    casand , March 1, 2012 6:49 AM
    I would say Comodo mobile security one of the leading online security provider is giving best mobile security for Android
Tom’s guide in the world
  • Germany
  • France
  • Italy
  • Ireland
  • UK
Follow Tom’s guide
Subscribe to our newsletter
  • add to twitter
  • add to facebook
  • ajouter un flux RSS