Research company, Comparitech spent weeks testing popular free Android antivirus apps looking for flaws. They tested the way the apps handled privacy, security, and advertising, and the results which followed after were truly shocking.
21 Android antiviruses available on Google Play Store were tested and 47 per cent of these apps failed. Three of these had serious security flaws, seven of these couldn’t even detect a virus. At all seriousness, unfit for their purposes and totally insecure.
As in many cases, users were clearly not getting what the apps had promised. Almost every app tested was tracking the user, had serious security flaws, contained a critical vulnerability that exposed user’s address books, and another that enabled attackers to turn off antivirus protection entirely.
As per the report, AEGISLAB Antivirus Free, Antiy AVL Pro Antivirus & Security, Brainiacs Antivirus System, Fotoable Super Cleaner, MalwareFox Anti-Malware, NQ Mobile Security & Antivirus Free, Tap Technology Antivirus Mobile and Zemana Antivirus & Security couldn’t even detect a dangerous test virus.
Now speaking about privacy, “dfndr security: antivirus, anti-hacking & cleaner” was far away the worst offender. It put users search and browser habits up for sale on every ad exchange there is.
The so-called “antivirus app” app also requested permission to access fine location data, access the camera, read and write contacts, look through the address book, and grab the IMEI (unique ID) and phone number of the device.
Is there a solution?
Comparitech’s senior security researcher, Khaled Sakr says, “More businesses need to pay attention and make sure that security is tackled at the beginning of a project, and alongside application development, instead of at the end when it’s too late.”