Antivirus apps for Android: Worthwhile or does caution suffice?

antivirus apps - Antivirus apps for Android: Worthwhile or does caution suffice?

Google’s Android operating system is like a house with open doors. Unlike Apple’s iOS platform, Android allows anyone to develop and distribute an app – even without going through the official Google Play Store.

What is a boon for independent programmers can be dangerous for users, since apps containing spyware or malware can be inadvertently installed on the phone. Antivirus apps are available, but are they any good?

A study of the main antivirus apps for Android by the independent IT security firm AV-Test found that they nearly all achieved good protection. Only two apps failed the virus test: Lookout Antivirus & Security and AVG AntiVirus Free spotted significantly fewer threats than their competitors.

The test found that free apps protected just as well as paid ones.

That the test found very similar performance when it comes to protection is because the antivirus apps all operate in the same way: by comparing the apps on the phone to a database of potentially harmful apps. 

The more up to date the database is, the better the protection.

“We are currently aware of around 10 million malicious apps,” Marx said. In comparison to the approximately 500 million viruses that can infect Windows computers, that number is still relatively small.

Criminals are particularly interested in personal data – they earn their money using stolen accounts and passwords.

Spy software hidden in apps is one way to get that information. Particularly dangerous in this regard are those apps that aren’t downloaded via the Play Store, but from elsewhere.


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