Latest antivirus tests show which apps perform best

by: Gary SimsDecember 13, 2013

best android antivirusThere seems to be two extreme opinions about malware on Android. At one end is the clarion call of the security companies and their doomsday warnings about the thousands of malicious bits of malware that are flying around in the ether. At the other extreme are those who say “never been a problem, just be sensible about what you download.” The truth, as is so often the case, is somewhere in between the two. Google has done great work to increase the layers of protection offered by Android and the Verify Apps function, which scans all apps as they are being installed regardless of the source, makes Android fairly safe. In fact earlier this year, Google’s executive chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt declared that Android is more secure than the iPhone.

What Verify Apps can’t protect you against is transporting PC or Mac malware on your device or protect you from other attack vectors such as malicious websites or files designed to exploit vulnerabilities in apps like Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.

Recently the independent malware test lab tested 28 Android antivirus apps against a representative set of malicious apps discovered in the previous month. The testing, which used 2,124 samples in total, discovered that the industry average detection rate is now 96.6 percent, some 6 percent higher than when it last performed such testing. Many of the apps managed to detect 100 percent of the malware and overall there were only a few false positives and only two apps failed to get certification.

12 of the 28 managed a perfect detection rate:

ProductDetection Rate
avast! Mobile Security version 3.0Google Play%100.00
Avira Free Android Security version 2.1Google Play%100.00
ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus version 2.0Google Play%100.00
Ikarus version 1.7Google Play%100.00
Kaspersky Internet Security version 11.2Google Play%100.00
Kingsoft Mobile Security version 3.2Google Play%100.00
Trend Micro Mobile Security version 3.5Google Play%100.00
TrustGo Mobile Security version 1.3Google Play%100.00
NQ Mobile Security version 6.8Google Play%100.00
Symantec Norton Mobile Security version 3.7Google Play%100.00
Antiy AVL version 2.2Google Play%100.00
G Data Internet Security version 25.0Google Play%100.00

It is also worth pointing out that many of the antivirus apps available from the Play Store are in fact security suites and they offer much more than just malware detection. Among the extras are anti-theft features like remote lock/wipe/locate, message filtering, backup, firewalls, parental control functions and so on. This means if you are going to install a security app, make sure it is good at finding malware and it offers the extra features you need.

So what is your verdict? Do you use an antivirus app on your device?

  • MasterMuffin

    Avast is the best of them. I used it before, but then realized that the only thing I needed in it was PUP detector so I deleted it. I’m “at the other extreme” :)

  • Tom Z

    I don’t use any Anti-Virus on my Android devices. If someday it becomes an issue with Android, I may change my mind.

  • Suhas

    I have installed literally hundreds of apps from untrusted sources, but never has my phone been affected by any viruses. SO no antivirus

    • Data1001

      There are other good reasons besides viruses to have one of these on your phone. One is to scan for adware and sneaky permissions that some apps bundle in their apk’s.

      • RustyRiley

        Strangely, even some of the adware detectors come with adware embedded in them!
        But apart from that, and Android Device Manager, there’re good reasons IMO to have a security suite on your phone — ever lost a phone — with personal details of your contacts on it? Lost a phone with other data etc etc These days smartphones are used for so many things apart from calls there’s potentially HEAPS of private / business info on them.

  • Bradley Leyten

    What were the garbage apps that couldn’t detected month old known viruses 100% of the time. Seriously, detecting a known virus doesn’t impress me anyway. The problem with virus detection has always been the inability to prevent infection from a new yet unknown virus.

    That said… personally I’ve never used an anti virus app on any of the 5 Android phones I’ve owned and never had a virus even with sideloaded apps. Honestly I don’t know what people are doing to end up infected but it’s mind boggling to me to hear how many people supposedly get a virus because I know dozens and dozens of people with Android phones that have never been infected either!!

    • bobEveryman

      How do you know that you’ve “never had a virus”? Modern malware writers tend to do their best to make the presence of their work as inconspicuous as possible. Just because your device was not slowing down, or showing other visible signs of infection, does not mean it was not infected.

      • Bradley Leyten

        So what do these viruses do? Send spam, text messages, cause me to incur charges in some way, what?

        • Eric Shanananananananananana

          Forward information from your phone to a computer somewhere

    • Paula Popper

      I asked for the link to see the entire results list. Here is the link so you can see the “garbage apps”, as you called them.

    • Thang Fozika

      Android phones that have never been infected either!!

  • Philippe St-Pierre

    Lookout or BitDefender???

  • Paula Popper

    I would like to see the entire list and results, please. When I read reviews involving testing like this, after the summary article, the full results aret typically provided.

  • Arturo Raygoza

    never needed anti virus

  • auzzie

    I have NORTON 2in 1 protection for my phone and lappy… what was its score and why isnt it 100% when you pay like $100 for it… sounds like either norton is shit or this review is false… I havr used a few of the apps above and found them to slow my phone more than any other apps. And norton doesnt impact my phone at all! A full list with full results would be much appreciated

  • Liz Ganser

    I have Mobile Care and Lookout. Bit surprised that they are not on your list list.

  • needa

    the source link that seems to evade everyone.

  • Fausto

    I use Sophos and trust me, it’s the best ever! Super light, no lags in the phone, it detects all, and has an anti-theft that is superb. I tried avg and avast, but they are veeery distant from Sophos.
    It gains 99.9% (I checked it out in… in my opinion it worths 200%!! ;)

  • Fausto

    People thinks to not need an antivirus because they “never have taken one”… and do you think you can beware of an android virus without an antivirus???!!! Bizarre… ;)
    If you have one, you will never know to have ot without an antivirus… and there are dangerois ones, that stole your data, or the keyloggers that stole what you write: passwords, or credit card datas… so, WATCH OUT!!! ;)

  • Chris Nunn

    I use Webroot Antivirus Security…. Was it tested and if so, what were the results?

  • bonexxx

    How about dr.web ?

  • raycee63

    Lookout was the Goto app that Google has taken on board as standard!! Also I remember that two of the most common security issues recently detected, were only detected and stopped by Lookout before they actually got onto your phone!

  • Dennis Htc

    No Zoner? Best anti virus app out there. Scans the app before it is actually installed your phone. Most other apps scan after the install.

  • Orak

    I used Avast untill i caught my browser downloading some file. I manually check it by avast. Nothing. I downloaded and installed kaspersky, eset and dr.web. Dr.web light said it’s a troyan (or warm i don’t remember). Other antiviruses said it’s ok. I made screenshot and send file to avast team. After a week no answer. I published it on the net. After 2 months i checked saved file again. Eset and kaspersky detected malicious program. Avast detected file after 3 months. File was successfuly deleted after that. Now i constantly use dr.web. Btw, on my home computer with windows i use avast for at least 3 years successfuly.