When it comes to information about computer security, few sources are as definitive as AV-Comparatives, an Austrian non-profit that focuses on researching anti-virus software. Recently, they released one of the first reports ever to focus on Android security apps.
The report reviews protection from BlackBelt, BullGuard, ESET, F-Secure, Kaspersky, McAfee, Trend Micro, VIPRE and Webroot. It’s not a malware detection report, which means it does not include in-depth research into malware detection rates, though some basic tests were conducted. All apps besides Trend Micro Mobile Security, which failed to detect a specific group of samples, passed with flying colors.
Flaws were found elsewhere, however. AV-Comparatives noted that although all of these apps supposedly have the ability to wipe data remotely (in the event of a phone being stolen), none of them managed to irretrievably remove information. According to the report, “in all cases it was possible to recover photos, music, documents and so on from the external storage card, even using a free program.”
Obviously, that’s a serious issue, and one that developers need to address. Most security apps claim the ability to wipe data remotely as an important feature. If it doesn’t work properly, users could be purchasing a false sense of security.
AV-Comparatives’ full report is 48 pages long, so go check it out if you’re interested in Android security. Ultimately, the report finds that no particular app is a stand-out victor, but does recommend that all Android users purchase one from a trusted vendor, if for no other reason than for the anti-virus protection.