Independent test lab AV-Test.org has completed a comparison of 28 Android security apps.
[CORRRECTION: An earlier version of this story mistakenly swapped some of the vendor names in the table at the bottom. We apologize.]
The problem of malware on Android is a controversial one: Clearly there is a lot of malware — AV-Test says that in November of this year they received about 6,000 unique samples per day, for a so-far total in 2013 of over 1.5 million — but there isn't as widespread a perception of the need for security products as there is, for instance, on Windows.
The quality of the Android security products tested has gone up from their last evaluation: The average detection rate was 96.6%, over 6% better than the last test. There were only a few false positives, only a few products performed poorly, and 8 products got essentially a perfect score. The detection tests were performed against a set of 2,124 malicious apps.
AV-Test looked at more than just malware detection. Nearly all of the products have some additional security feature like anti-theft, backup and encryption. Their usability tests used the following criteria:
Many products have free and paid versions with different features, but the range of feature differences between the free and paid versions is large. Make sure to look at the products carefully if this matters to you.
The non-detection features AV-Test looked for were:
AV-Test states that they developed all test criteria in close cooperation with the developers and users of the tools. Vendors were allowed to cross-check the results.
So are there actually real security threats out there for Android users? The people who write security software think there is, and so do the people who write malware.
Below is the complete list of products tested and the main test results:
|Protection (0..6)||Usability (0..6)||Other features? (0/1)||Detection||Total|
|avast! Mobile Security version 3.0 — Google Play||6||6||1||%100.00||13|
|Avira Free Android Security version 2.1 — Google Play||6||6||1||%100.00||13|
|ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus version 2.0 — Google Play||6||6||1||%100.00||13|
|Ikarus mobile.security version 1.7 — Google Play||6||6||1||%100.00||13|
|Kaspersky Internet Security version 11.2 — Google Play||6||6||1||%100.00||13|
|Kingsoft Mobile Security version 3.2 — Google Play||6||6||1||%100.00||13|
|Trend Micro Mobile Security version 3.5 — Google Play||6||6||1||%100.00||13|
|TrustGo Mobile Security version 1.3 — Google Play||6||6||1||%100.00||13|
|AhnLab V3 Mobile version 2.1 — Google Play||5.5||6||1||%99.76||12.5|
|Anguanjia Security Manager version 4.2 — Google Play||5.5||6||1||%99.44||12.5|
|Bitdefender Mobile Security Antivirus version 1.2 — Google Play||5.5||6||1||%99.91||12.5|
|Comodo Mobile Security version 2.3 — Google Play||5.5||6||1||%99.72||12.5|
|F-Secure Mobile Security version 8.3 — Google Play||5.5||6||1||%99.91||12.5|
|McAfee Mobile Security version 3.1 — Google Play||5.5||6||1||%99.95||12.5|
|NQ Mobile Security version 6.8 — Google Play||6||5.5||1||%100.00||12.5|
|Qihoo 360 Mobile Security version 1.4 — Google Play||5.5||6||1||%99.91||12.5|
|Quick Heal Total Security version 1.01 — Google Play||5.5||6||1||%99.72||12.5|
|Sophos Mobile Security version 3.0 — Google Play||5.5||6||1||%99.91||12.5|
|Webroot SecureAnywhere Mobile version 3.5 — Google Play||5.5||6||1||%99.86||12.5|
|AVG AntiVirus version 3.3 — Google Play||5.5||5.5||1||%99.86||12|
|Symantec Norton Mobile Security version 3.7 — Google Play||6||5||1||%100.00||12|
|Antiy AVL version 2.2 — Google Play||6||5.5||0||%100.00||11.5|
|Tencent Mobile Security Manager version 4.3 — Google Play||5.5||5||1||%99.91||11.5|
|Bornaria Mobile Security version 1.2 — Not on Google Play||3||6||1||%95.34||10|
|G Data Internet Security version 25.0 — Google Play||6||3||1||%100.00||10|
|AegisLab Antivirus Premium version 1.1 — Google Play||4||4||1||%97.55||9|
|Zoner Mobile Security version 1.1 — Google Play||0||6||1||%72.13||7|
|SPAMFighter VIRUSfighter Android version 2.13 — Google Play||0||6||0||%42.33||6|