A company called AV comparatives released a report (via Engadget) after testing 250 anti-malware apps for Android phones. The company found that 68% of these apps were virtually unusable. 80 of the apps detected at least 30% of malicious apps in the last year without registering false positives. Tests have shown that most antivirus apps that have been hit by most malware come from developers you may know (in alphabetical order) from AVG, Kaspersky, McAfee and Symantec.
32 of the apps were already retrieved from the Google App Store two months after completing the tests. According to AV comparisons, most of the 32 "were developed either by amateur programmers or software vendors who are not focused on the security business." According to AV, some of these developers just wanted to have one security app in their app portfolio. The latter suggested that Android users should avoid security applications that do not have a website address and only show an email address (usually from Gmail or Yahoo Mail) in the Google Play store, as this is usually an amateur-generated app signaled.
AV tested the antivirus apps in January with Samsung Galaxy S9 phones running Android 8.0 Oreo. Anti-virus apps that did not run on Oreo were tested on Nexus 5 devices running Android 6.0.1
. The tests were done over Wi-Fi. The goal of these apps was to detect 2,000 malicious APKs versus 100 clean APKs. According to AV, "Recognition rates between 90% and 100% should be easily achieved through genuine and effective anti-malware apps." Ironically, the legitimate antivirus apps have tagged some of the fake ones.
If your smartphone is important to you, stay with anti-virus apps from developers you've already heard of. And you should set it as a rule not to install apps from unknown developers, or apps that have posted a number of questionable comments in the Play Store.