Report Finds Majority of Antivirus Apps on Google Play to be Frauds

Yolanda Curtis
March 16, 2019

The report noted the irony of many antiviruses apps proving themselves as malware as a commentary on the pathetic state of affairs in the Android antivirus industry. You can check out the list of all the 250 apps tested at the results page.

Despite security researchers proving that they can still track devices with randomized MAC addresses, supporting this feature will reduce the efficiency of some data harvesting and user tracking operations.

Google points out that this new policy only applies to the Play Store when viewed on Android, your desktop browser, or on Chrome OS. Apps in the personalization and utility categories such as Volumen Booster, My name on Live Wallpaper, Deleted Photo Recovery, Secret screen recorder, Phone Finder, or Face Beauty Makeup were downloaded at least 500,000 times and upwards of a million times. All they did was check their package names instead of code.

Report Finds Majority of Antivirus Apps on Google Play to be Frauds

Apps can access clipboard data while in the OS background if they are also the default input method editor (IME) -aka the default keyboard apps.

It flags @signalapp and @PayPal as apps with high risk.

Would you use AntiVirus that detect itself as risky app? This could turn out to be a unsafe approach as hackers would use similar package names of their malicious apps to bypass the security. About 10 percent of the apps tested appeared to come from amateur developers more focused on advertising and monetization than security.


The organization's gruelling testing process considered the 30% detection mark as a threshold between legitimate antivirus apps and those it considered ineffective or downright unsafe.

Fake antivirus - - has over 10K installs but isn't scanning any files for malware.

One of the biggest changes Google has made to Android's privacy is that Android Q will now offer better location settings for apps. Others are developed for ad purposes especially the free ones. In some cases, the apps are simply buggy, e.g. because they have poorly implemented a third-party engine.


Use common sense plus this handy list we created for you. "Others detect only a handful of ancient Android malware samples, and allow any apps that contain certain strings, making them likely to pass some quick checks and thus be accepted by the app stores", the site said. The hysteria over Android malware is a bit overblown, but it's led to the proliferation of anti-malware apps that promise to keep your phone squeaky clean.

If you still have to download an antivirus app, be cautious of what you're getting into.


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