Android antivirus products compared

[UPDATED] Independent test lab AV-Test compared 30 Android antivirus products. There are some winners and some serious failures. But do you really need any of them?

[Correction: An earlier version of this story listed Symantec Mobile Security, the company's enterprise solution, as one of the products tested. AV-Test in fact tested Norton Mobile Security, the consumer product.]

Independent test lab AV-Test has completed a comparison of 30 antivirus products for Android.  The comparison included: 

 AVG AntiVirus Free
 AegisLab Antivirus Premium
 AhnLab V3 Mobile 2.0
 Antiy AVL
 Armor for Android Armor for Android
 avast! Mobile Security
 Bitdefender Mobile Security Antivirus
 Bornaria Mobile Security
 Comodo Mobile Security
 ESET Mobile Security

 F-Secure Mobile Security
 G Data MobileSecurity
 Ikarus Mobile Security
 Kaspersky Mobile Security
 Kingsoft Mobile Security
 Lookout Security & Antivirus
 McAfee Mobile Security
 MicroWorld Mobile Security
 Norton Mobile Security
 Qihoo 360 Mobile Safe


 Qihoo 360 Mobile Security
 Quick Heal Total Security
 SUVsoft Mobile Security
 Sophos Mobile Security
 Tencent Mobile Security Manager
 Trend Micro Mobile Security
 TrustGo Mobile Security
 SPAMfighter VIRUSfighter Android
 Webroot SecureAnywhere Mobile
 Zoner Mobile Security

All 30 products were tested in July, 2013 on Android 4.2.2.  The products scanned 1972 malware samples. 7 of the products detected 100% of the samples. 16 more detected 98% or better. The real problems came for these products:

  • AegisLab Antivirus Premium 63.6%
  • Bornaria Mobile Security 84.6%
  • SPAMfighter VIRUSfighter Android 68.0%
  • Zoner Mobile Security 63.6%

The average detection rate for all products was 95.2% and the median was 99.2%

AV-Test checked for 3 broadly-defined performance metrics:

  1. The app does not impact the battery life
  2. The app does not slow down the device during normal usage
  3. The app does not generate too much traffic

Early versions of Android anti-malware got a bad reputation on all 3 fronts, but — surprisingly — the only negative mark was on Norton Mobile Security for generating too much traffic.

The comparison also checks the products for certain features:

  • Anti-Theft (Remote-Lock / Remote-Wipe / Locate): Locate, Lock or Wipe your device when it is lost or stolen
  • Call Blocker: Block calls from specific or unknown numbers
  • Message Filter: Filter messages and/or mails for unwanted content
  • Safe Browsing: Protection of malicious websites and/or against phishing
  • Parental Control: Features to control or observe the activity of children on the device
  • Backup: Personal data can be saved to SD-card or cloud storage
  • Encryption: Any kind of encryption is supported (e.g. device encryption, SD-card encryption or VPN)

No products had all of the listed features. Several had none of them: Antiy AVL, Bornaria Mobile Security, Qihoo 360 Mobile Security and SPAMfighter VIRUSfighter Android.

Adding up points for detection, performance and features, 3 products got the maximum score in AV-Test's rankings: Bitdefender Mobile Security Antivirus, Kaspersky Mobile Security and Qihoo 360 Mobile Safe.