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The AV-Test Institute tested 16 security solutions for Android for dedicated devices. Twelve security applications reviewed received full marks; Google Play Protect Google Play Protect confirms improved performance.
In March, the Magdeburg AV-Test Institute tested 15 protection solutions for Android devices that their manufacturers submitted for certification. For comparison, AV-Test has retested Google Play Protect, which may confirm its improved performance over the previous test, but is still not suitable as a lower benchmark. Compared to the previous test in January, McAfee and securION have returned. The rest of the test area remained the same, except for the version changes. Since the beginning of 2020, AV-Test has differentiated between private use applications and enterprise protection solutions.
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Tests are divided into three categories: protection, performance and use. On the one hand, malware protection is tested with more than 2,800 pieces of malware that are no older than four weeks. On the other hand, in the so-called real-time tests, all applications face at the same time 3,200 copies of the latest malware on the same smartphones. Any deterioration in battery life, the braking effect on the system and the data traffic generated by the protection applications are included in the performance evaluation. For availability, false alarms generated by protection solutions for over 3,400 harmless applications are identified.
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Protection programs are certified with a total of 10 points out of 18 possible points and at least one point in each category. Tests are always performed on real hardware (without an emulator) running Android 11. Test candidates can access the latest updates and cloud services at any time.
All tested applications have met the minimum certificate requirements, including Google Play Protect. 12 test candidates scored all 18 points – three-quarters of the test area. Google seems to have steadily improved its automatic application scanning. However, Play Protect clearly lags behind the rest of the domain, with 80 to 90 percent malware detection.
With the exception of Google Play Protect (83.5 / 86.4 percent) and Ikarus (97.4 / 99.8 percent), all applications received at least 99 percent malware detection in both subtests, most of the time better. The average detection rate of malware in real-time testing is 99.1%, compared to 99.96% without Google Play Protect. In the testing section with malware up to four weeks old, it was on average 98.7 percent or even 99.75 percent without Google Play Protect. Therefore, you should not rely solely on Google Play Protect – the protection effect is “better than nothing” at best.
In the performance category, all candidates passed the tests flawlessly, scoring six full points. The data traffic generated by the protection applications, the discharge of the batteries and the braking effects during normal use of the devices are not all equally irritating.
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Fortunately, there are almost no misdiagnosis. Only Ikarus mobile.security and F-Secure SAFE failed once. All other security applications passed all tests without false alarms.
In the context of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) has alerted the security programs of the Russian manufacturer Kaspersky Lab. If you are looking for an alternative to Kaspersky products, you will find a lot of protection applications to choose from in this review. Kaspersky test results are included for comparison.
There are significant differences in the functionality of security applications, but this is no longer taken into account. The range of equipment with additional functions varies from fairly simple security OnAV to Avast and AVG; they have almost everything your heart desires, except for a backup function. Many applications have anti-theft features, so they can locate the device, lock it, and / or delete all data if it is lost. Also quite common is a web filter that blocks access to, or at least warns against questionable or dangerous websites.
Some of the free downloadable apps that you can find on Google Play are simplified versions of the paid solution and advertise for it. If you want to use one or another additional feature permanently, you can usually upgrade to the premium version with an in-app purchase. Detailed test results with information on various functions can be found on the AV-Test Institute’s website. You can also view previous test results here.
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As with Windows testing, we weighted the scores into individual categories differently in the results table. The protective effect represents 50% of the total score, each of the other two categories being 25% (2: 1: 1). These scores can be found in the last column where the table is sorted. The penultimate column contains points without this weight (1: 1: 1) calculated by AV-Test. The changed weight makes the difference from the penultimate one from Google more obvious. Captured mobile phones often run on bot networks or are used to extract cryptocurrencies. Good security practices protect against such attacks. tested 15 protection applications for home users.
Many modern smartphones use advanced 6- or 8-core processors, some of which are clocked at just under 3 GHz. These powerful packages attract the attention of cybercriminals, as their performance even allows them to be used for “exploitation”. Generating hashes for cryptocurrencies. That’s why the latest smartphones are becoming attractive targets for botnets. In these networks, criminals gather their processing power, forcing entire groups of mobile phones to exploit attacks or calculate bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.
However, when a smartphone is protected by a good security application, users have nothing to fear that their device will become a slave to a bot network. However, it is best not to rely on the protection provided automatically by Google Play Protect on Android. This is clearly demonstrated by this test, as Play Protect is also included for comparison. A lab of 15 Android protection applications that have been tested for protection, performance and use, such as false alarms. The test included Android protection applications from AhnLab, Avast, AVG, Avira, Bitdefender, F-Secure, G DATA, Google, Ikarus, Kaspersky, McAfee, NortonLifeLock, Protected.net (Total AV), securiON and Trend Micro.
The test result is proof of the highest level of security for Android smartphone users: 10 out of 15 evaluated applications scored a maximum of 18 test points. However, 3 additional applications managed to get a perfect score of 17.5. One application scored 16.5 points. Nothing to write about the standard Google Play Protect that only works on Android: 6 out of 18 possible points.
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Of the security applications reviewed, 6 detected 100% of all threats in the test, while 4 additional applications made only minor errors.
The lab evaluates every security application for Android for protection. The test requires the detection, blocking, and quarantine of a real torrent of infected applications. In real-time testing, the lab uses completely newly discovered malware – about 3,000 samples. In addition, experts are exposing Android devices to 3,300 additional malicious applications that are wreaking havoc on the web for up to 2 weeks.
Avast, AVG, Bitdefender, G DATA, NortonLifeLock and Trend Micro each performed the 100% detection exercise in both test steps. It was followed by AhnLab, F-Secure, Kaspersky and McAfee, which made minor mistakes in a test or two. All the mentioned applications obtained a total of 6 points in the category of protection test.
The applications from Avira, Ikarus, Protected.net and securiON obtained a detection between 99.9 and 99.1 percent in both tests. However, they scored 5.5 points. Google Play Protect alone can’t compete with any other application when it comes to detection: only 85.2% for known threats and 61.6% for new malware. That meant zero points.
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Every Android protection application running in the background needs little processing power, battery power, and data from the Internet. But how much does each security application need? The laboratory also studied these criteria and was able to give generally positive scores. The use of the analyzed protection tools did not cause the tester processor to overload, nor did it require too much battery power, and little additional internet data was required in the background. All protection applications evaluated for this economical use of system resources received a full score of 6.
The application, which was error-free and quite secure in the test, stood out due to many extras, such as VPN, as well as 18 points.
Although many users only download their apps from trusted app stores, there are constant alarms that an app is infected with malware. That’s why they shouldn’t be installed! But it is really frustrating when everything is based on a false alarm. Therefore, the lab checks to see if the security practices can really distinguish between good and bad practices. By doing so, the lab sends more than 2,500 harmless applications from the Google Play Store to secure devices. In addition, the lab uses another 1,200 applications from other application stores to detect friend-enemies. Excellent result: No alarms, as all applications are harmless. It has reached 13 out of 15 applications
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