Security Apps under Android 11 Put to the Test
A look into the statistics answers the question "Security app for Android?" with a resounding "Yes". Because according to Statista, there are 3.5 billion apps in the Google Play Store. By comparison, AV-TEST is already aware of nearly 35 million different malware apps in its AV-Atlas system. While Google repeatedly filters malware apps from its store, it cannot come close to detecting them all. It also doesn't help that Google seeks to protect users with its Play Protect on all Android devices, yet does not detect all malicious apps there either. In the test with over 6,700 malware apps, Google Protect failed to detect 1.4 to 6.7 percent of the attackers. High time for security apps that are able to get the job done.
15 security apps for Android systems
The test lab at AV-TEST evaluated the performance of 14 security apps. Add to this by comparison the 15th app, the embedded service Google Play Protect. All apps in the test were examined in the areas of protection, performance and usability. The lab can award up to 6 points for each area. Thus, the best apps in the evaluation achieved up to 18 points. The test is especially geared to devices of consumer users, which means that games and entertainment apps were also installed and fewer business applications. In the test, the lineup of apps included AhnLab, Avast, AVG, Avira, Bitdefender, F-Secure, Google, Ikarus, Kaspersky, McAfee, Norton, Protected.net, securiON, Sophos and Trend Micro.
A quick glance at the overall table indicates that 13 out of 15 apps received the full 18 points. They were followed by Ikarus with 15.5 points. Coming in last was Google Play, reaching only 14.5 points.
Protection apps for Android
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More protection for Android
In the first test area, the lab tests all security apps for their protection. In doing so, the system watchdogs first had to detect over 3,300 brand-new malicious apps. Afterwards, the lab sent an additional 3,300 already known, but extremely risky, apps to the devices. It is in fact reassuring how well many security apps are able to handle the masses of attackers: Avast, AVG, Bitdefender, Kaspersky, securiON and Trend Micro detected all attackers without exception in both tests.
The apps from AhnLab, Avira, McAfee, Norton, Protected.net and Sophos had minor problems with individual attackers in the first test segment: achieving 99.9 percent detection. In the second test segment, the apps performed 100 percent, as did F-Secure. But this app achieved 99.8 percent in the first test segment.
Only the security app from Ikarus had more problems with the detection of malicious attacker apps: 97.8 percent in the first test segment and 99.8 percent in the second.
The pre-installed standard protection Google Play Protect came in behind all other security apps in terms of detection of dangerous malware apps. Thus, the service only detected 93.3 and 98.6 percent of the attackers. Compared to the test results from the previous year, these scores are somewhat better on average, but not good.
What about system resources?
As a security app works continuously in the background, it should use system resources very sparingly. That is why the lab examines in the test area of performance whether the apps slow down the processor, use lots of battery power or are constantly loading data in the background. On that score, the lab is happy to report good news on all fronts. All the apps behaved totally discreetly and for this they received the maximum six points.
Kaspersky Plus for Android
Bitdefender Mobile Security
AVG AntiVirus Free
Avast Mobile Security
Trend Micro Mobile Security
Is it a bad app, a good app, or a bad app after all?
In every day operation, the security apps ought to reliably block and delete all malicious apps. At the same time, they should install harmless programs and leave them well enough alone. The lab tested whether things really work like that by sending over 3,500 innocuous applications to the devices. In the mix were over 2,000 from the Google Store and just under 1,500 from other sources.
In this test area as well, 13 out of 15 security apps could not have done better. For this, they received the maximum 6 points. Only Ikarus and Google Play Protect blocked harmless program apps and had a point taken off because of it. In the end, they each received 5 points.
A test result that speaks for itself
Even a cursory glance at the table is enough to make it clear that users of Android devices ought to leave the job of protection to one of the 13 out of 15 listed security apps, namely the apps from AhnLab, Avast, AVG, Avira, Bitdefender, F-Secure, Kaspersky, McAfee, Norton, Protected.net, securiON, Sophos and Trend Micro.
Taking a deeper dive into the test results reveals minor nuances where a few of the security apps are even better. In detecting the dangerous attackers, Avast, AVG, Bitdefender, Kaspersky, securiON and Trend Micro were completely error-free.
The test also clearly shows, however, that users should not only rely on Google Protect, especially in light of the fact that some of the tested and highly rated security apps even offer many basic and advanced functions free of charge.
For those who want the extra features in an app, it is worth taking a look at the many premium functions. These include, for example, VPN and backup tools or small, but reliable helpers for everyday tasks with Wi-Fi networks.