Are anti-virus apps necessary for Android users? Hiroshi Lockheimer, VP of Android Engineering, recently said, “I don’t think so. That’s obviously an individual choice, but I haven’t felt the need for it. Let’s put it this way, I don’t run those apps.”
Security institute AV-Test sees it differently. They claim that Google’s Bouncer technology only checks apps for malware during the time of publication in Android Market, so apps that download their malicious code after installation can’t easily be detected.
AV-Test recently inspected 41 different malware detection apps for Android to see how they performed. They found that seven apps produced average family detection results above 90%. These apps include Avast, Dr. Web, F-Secure, Ikarus, Kaspersky, Lookout, and Zoner. AV-Test says, “Using these products you don’t have to worry about your malware protection.”
They go on to note that even if a product scores poorly in malware detection it may have other convenient features, such as remote lock and wipe, backup and phone locating, that make it useful for your purposes.
But that begs the question. Why would you want a security app with poor malware detection, when there are several good ones to choose from.
Some security apps were not too happy with the results. AV-Test updated their report to note that MyMobileSecurity, NQ Mobile, Total Defense all said the testing methods were considered imprecise or flawed. All those apps were listed in the bottom half of the report, so it’s easy to see why they might have a problem with the results.
When it comes to my mobile security app of choice, I trust Lookout. I never run anti-virus software on my PC, but I choose to use it on my phone for the piece of mind and phone location feature. It doesn’t affect my battery life or performance, so I always have it installed on all of my devices. I also appreciate the Lookout Blog that seeks to inform its users rather than play on their fears.
Let us know what you think of AV-Test’s report. Does it have any influence over what security app you might use?