Some Android antivirus software unreliable against malware

Some Android antivirus software unreliable against malware

Android is the most popular mobile operating system globally, but consumers may be sacrificing security when using the Google platform.

According to AV-Test, a German security firm, most antivirus products on the Android system are unreliable when attempting to detect even basic malware threats. The study tested seven free antivirus apps with sample malware, and nearly all of the applications were ineffective.

Four of the apps found zero malware during a manual scan, while only one improved by at least 10 percent during a real-time scan. One application, Zoner AntiVirus Free, found 32 percent of malware during a manual scan and 80 percent with a real-time scan.

"The results of the real-time guard functionality were quite shocking," the survey said. "The guard should warn the user upon installation of malicious apps. The circulation of obviously near to useless security apps endangers those, who trust them and install apps from 3rd party app markets without further suspiciousness."

According to a recent report by a leading internet security company, mobile malware increased 400 percent from June 2010 to January 2011, with the threats affecting up to 250,000 users. Meanwhile, 53 percent of users were unaware of security software available for smartphones.