According to ZDNet, a recent test concluded that roughly two-thirds of all Android antivirus apps are faulty.
Antivirus testing company AV-Comparatives looked at 250 Android antivirus apps to test their antivirus detection viability; the company found that only 80 apps out of those 250 detected more than 30 percent of the malware testers “threw at each app during individual tests.”
Tests included installing each Android antivirus app on separate devices, automating the device to open a browser and downloading a malicious app, and installing it. Testers did this 2,000 times for the “most common Android malware strains found in the wild last year,” ZDNet says.
What AV-Comparative found was that “many antivirus apps didn’t actually scan the apps the user was downloading or installing, but merely used a whitelist/blacklist approach, and looked at the package names (instead of their code),” ZDNet says, which caused the apps to detect themselves as malware, and is highly problematic for antivirus detection.
AV-Comparative also told ZDNet that the 30 percent detection mark distinguished the line “between legitimate antivirus apps and those it considered ineffective or downright unsafe.” “That means that 170 of the 250 Android antivirus apps had failed the organization’s most basic detection tests, and were, for all intents and purposes, a sham,” ZDNet says.
One major reason for faulty Android antivirus tech stems from the programmers. AV-Comparatives told ZDNet that more digging into the tested apps showed that the apps were developed by amateurs or software manufacturers not focused on the security business. Some of the apps were even developed “by the same programmer on an assembly line,” ZDNet says. “Tens of apps sported the same user interface, and many were more interested in showing ads, rather than having a fully running malware scanner.”
ZDNet says that the test results aren’t surprising, especially if decision makers in the cybersecurity field have been keeping track of “the Android antivirus scene.” Malware analysts have been warning Android users about these apps for a while, too, ZDNet says.