Two-Thirds Of The Antivirus Apps On Android Are Fake, Claims Study
As more parts of the world get connected to the Internet, the risk of malicious programs downloaded online also increases. In a study conducted in the month of January 2019, AV-Comparatives, a reputed Austrian independent organization that tests and evaluates antivirus software; has found that about two-thirds of the antivirus applications found on the Google Play Store are fake.
Criteria Of Testing
The test on the antivirus apps was conducted on the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Nexus 5 smartphones to simulate real-world usage. The devices were claimed to be running on Android 8.0 Oreo and 6.0.1 Marshmallow respectively. The test was conducted using a process that included the following steps.
- Opening Chrome browser and downloading the malicious sample
- Opening the downloaded .apk file using a file explorer app
- Installing the malicious app
- Running the app
The test conducted on the different antivirus applications checked them for their efficacy in protecting against around 2,000 common Android malware threats discovered in the year 2018. If at any given point of time, the antivirus app notified about the presence of the malicious app, the test was then concluded and the sample was considered detected. The organization claims that an automated Android testing framework ran the tests on the apps.
Results Of The Study
The study was conducted on over 250 antivirus applications that are currently available on the Google Play Store. Out of all the tested applications, only 80 were able to accomplish what they advertise that too a limited extent. However, it is noteworthy that these applications were only able to detect 30 percent of all malware laden programs.
Around 170 apps were then found to be at risk, which essentially meant that they were either ineffective or unreliable. Some of the apps were identified to be risky because they used a third party engine; which means a base program that performs a core or essential function for other applications. The software engine in the apps was found to be poorly implemented.
The company that owns Android OS, Google has been lately taking down the apps that it found malicious or worked in a different way than advertised. Going by the company’s streak, it will most probably take action and will ban most or all of the apps that were deemed fake in the study. It is also recommended that the users of antivirus apps check if the app they are using is identified as fake in the results.