Android security: third-party providers offer better protection

The test institute AV-Comparatives has put nine widely used Android security apps through their paces. Google’s built-in protection needs to be improved, but third-party security apps provide a high level of protection.

The independent security test laboratory AV-Comparatives from Innsbruck has in its AndroidSecurity Report for 2020 closely examined nine popular security apps for Android with regard to malware protection, battery consumption and theft protection. The third-party products from Avast, AVG, Avira, Bitdefender, G DATA, Kaspersky, Securion and Trend Micro, as well as the security measures integrated into the Android platform Google were evaluated.

The latest version of Google’s mobile operating system, Android 10, was used for the test. Users who buy a new smartphone or want to upgrade their existing phones to the latest operating system version can see how well the tested products work on the latest version of Android.

The malware protection test used over 3,000 current malicious applications for the Android operating system. The results clearly showed the advantage of using a third-party antivirus product to protect smartphones from Android malware. In the test, almost all third-party programs achieved 99.9 or 100 percent. Bitdefender and Trend Micro achieved a smooth 100 percent. Avira, G DATA, Kaspersky, Avast and AVGA each recognized 99.9 percent of the malware, Securion 99.6 percent. Only Google was below average with 91.3 percent.

To ensure that the tested products are not protected at the expense of high false alarm rates, a false alarm test was also carried out with 500 legitimate apps. In the test for false positives, Google failed seven times, AVG and Securion twice and Avast once.

The anti-theft device has also been tested. This allows a user whose smartphone has been lost or stolen to find it again, lock it and, most importantly, erase the private data. The anti-theft features of the tested products have been tested for reliable protection. All tested programs offer theft protection with the exception of Securion, which also has the least functionality.

An earlier criticism of security programs was that they put a significant load on the device’s battery. AV-Comparatives has investigated this issue by performing a battery test. The impact of each product on the battery life during daily telephone use (making calls, surfing the Internet, watching videos and sending e-mails) can be found in the report. The result is gratifying: Almost all programs with a battery load of less than three percent are in the green, only GData is somewhat out of line with up to eight percent.

In addition to the test results, the report includes general safety information and information for users of Android devices. The new security measures in Android 10 are taken into account as well as the effects they have on third-party security apps. Security tips for Android users are also provided.

Like all AV-Comparatives public reports, the Android Mobile Security Test 2020 report can be downloaded free of charge from the institute’s website at

AV-Comparatives offers AVC UnDroid, a malware analysis tool that all users can use themselves free of charge. It is a static analysis system for the detection of suspicious Android malware and adware and for the provision of statistics about it. Users can upload APK files and view the results in various analysis mechanisms.

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