If you’re worried about Android malware, choose wisely. There’s a good chance that your trusted security app does little to protect you, says a new report from independent testing organization AV-Test.
In a preview of the study e-mailed yesterday, AV-Test’s CEO Andreas Marx revealed that desktop antivirus vendors that have migrated to Android performed the best. Avast, Lookout, Dr. Web, Zoner, F-Secure, Ikarus, and Kaspersky detected 90 percent or more of the 618 types of malicious Android APK files that they were tested against. Lookout and Zoner are notable standouts because they are only available as mobile apps, and have no PC-based counterpart.
"Using these products you don’t have to worry about your malware protection," wrote Marx. He also emphasized that the security apps that tested between 65 percent and 90 percent were very good and could easily improve their detection because several apps in this category missed one or two malware families. These malware families may not be threats in "certain environments," he wrote, which may account for the lower scores.
The apps in this second group include the PC antivirus vendors AVG, Bitdefender, ESET, Norton (Symantec,) QuickHeal, Trend Micro, Vipre (GFI,) and Webroot; and two mobile-only vendors, AegisLab and SuperSecurity.
A third group comprised entirely of PC security suite vendors scored between 40 and 65 percent detections, and included Bullguard, Comodo, G Data, McAfee, NetQin and Total Defense. The report explains that their Android woes might also be due to insufficient sample collection infrastructure–basically, they might be too new to the field.
Twelve more apps detected more than zero percent but less than 40 percent of the samples, and a final group of six apps detected nothing at all. While the report hedges its bet and says that its possible that the apps detect threats that weren’t among the 618 samples, it’s more likely that they simply do not work at all. Alphabetically, these final six are Android Antivirus, Android Defender, LabMSF Antivirus beta, MobileBot Antivirus, MT Antivirus, and MYAndroid Protection Antivirus.