Android is arguably the most versatile mobile operating system in wide usage, but that also makes it one of the most frequently attacked.
The German independent lab AV-TEST periodically evaluates the most popular antivirus programs across a wide variety of platforms, and its Android tests for January are in. The results are promising for Baidu, Bitdefender, Sophos and Norton, which all earned perfect scores. Fans of other suites need not worry, though; each of the 27 programs tested earned a recommendation.
AV-TEST tested each program against a full roster of both proven Android malware, as well as new malware discovered only within the last four weeks. The four programs mentioned above are the only ones that scored 100 percent in both categories, although most other programs hovered around 98 or 99 percent.
The only exception was Lookout, which detected 85.2 percent of classic malware and 77.3 percent of new malware. This program still earned a tentative recommendation from AV-TEST, though, as some protection is better than none.
AV-TEST also assigned each program a score out of a possible 13: six points for protection, six for usability and one for extra features. There were quite a few full scores here: Alibaba Mobile Security, Antiy AVL, Baidu Mobile Security, Bitdefender Mobile Security, BullGuard Mobile Security, ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus, G Data Internet Security, Kaspersky Internet Security for Android, Qihoo 360 Antivirus and Sophos Mobile Security came away with AV-TEST's highest recommendation.
At the other end of the spectrum was Lookout Security & Antivirus with an 8.5, and a handful of 10.5s: AVG AntiVirus FREE, NSHC Droid-X 3, Webroot SecureAnywhere and Zemana Antivirus. It's important to remember that the minimum score required for a recommendation is 8, so these security suites are still technically OK (by AV-TEST standards), just not outstanding.
The rest of the programs fell somewhere in the middle: AhnLab V3 Mobile Security, Avast Mobile Security, Avira Antivirus Security, Cheetah Mobile Clean Master, Cheetah Mobile CM Security, Ikarus Mobile Security, Intel Security/McAfee Mobile Security, PSafe Total, Quick Heal Total Security, Symantec Norton Mobile, Tencent WeSecure and Trend Micro Mobile Security all scored between 11 and 12.5, making them solid, dependable choices.
With nearly 30 Android security suites that are at least "good enough" (some of which are free), there's no real excuse to leave your phone or tablet unprotected. Cybercriminals are not going to give up in the face of strong antivirus programs; rather, they may be inclined to redouble their efforts.