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Report Uncovers Fake Android AntiVirus Apps

Reportedly some anti-malware don't work at all.
March 6, 2012
Android Malware
Android Malware

A month ago, we were unpleasantly surprised to learn that a report from Juniper Networks Mobile Threat Center showed a 3,325 percent increase in Android malware over 2011. According to the report, Android malware samples increased from 11,138 in 2010 to 28,472 in 2011. And if that wasn’t enough bad news for you, a recent report from digital security firm F-Secure shows how Android malware is now dominating the mobile malware scene, as it overtook both Symbian malware and Pocket PC malware.

As malware popped out, we’ve seen the Android Market being populated with more and more anti-malware apps, up to the point where “uneducated” Android users (remember that around 850,000 new Android devices are activated on a daily basis) could assume that installing any of the so-called anti-malware apps will solve their security problems. Unfortunately though, it seems that, in a similar way to PC antivirus software, many Android security solutions don’t really help with catching and eliminating threats. A fresh report released by independent testing organization AV-Test shows that not all Android security apps perform with equal efficiency. In fact, some of them might not even work at all.

How Efficient are Android Anti-Malware Solutions?

The report classified Android anti-malware apps into several categories. The first group includes the apps that detected north of 90% of the 618 malicious .APK files included in the test. Among them, you’ll recognize names like Avast, Dr. Web, Kaspersky, Ikarus, or F-Secure (all of them also have a desktop counterpart). However, you will also encounter some relatively new names in the anti-malware scene, such as Zoner and Lookout. All of the solutions in this top group are considered “golden” solutions against Android malware.

Android anti-malware chart

The second category is made out of apps that detected between 65 and 90% of the malicious files. According to the report, apps in this category missed a couple of malware families that don’t account as threats under certain environments. As was the case with the “golden” apps, popular AV solutions are included here (AVG, BitDefender, Norton, ESET, Trend Micro, Quickheal, Vipre and Webroot), as well as a couple of Android-only apps such as AegisLab and SuperSecurity. Despite the lower detection-rate (compared to the first category apps), you’ll be quite safe with any of these apps installed.

Stay Away from Fake “Anti-Malware” Apps

The report goes on to list apps that detected a smaller percentage of the malicious files. But the surprising part of the report outed by AV-Test is the fact that there are 6 apps that detected NONE of the threats. These fake Android Anti-Malware apps are: Android Antivirus, Android Defender, LabMSF Antivirus beta, MobileBot Antivirus, MT Antivirus, and MYAndroid Protection Antivirus. If you have one of these installed, you’d better remove them and install one of the apps that detected above 65% of the threats.

How about you? What solution (if any) do you use to protect your Android device? Are you concerned about the rise of Android malware?