Security Report: These Antivirus Scanner Apps Work In 2019

A study done by independent security software test group AV-Comparatives showed how few mobile malware scanners actually worked. This group was founded around the turn of the millennium as a student project, and continues to this day in its quest to test the testers – judging and grading security applications of all sorts. The good news is that not many of the apps on the Google Play app store are malicious – the bad news is that the majority of "security apps" available to Android can't detect more than 30% of common Android malware samples.

2019 Security Scanner apps to avoid

Not only are a striking number of the "security scan" apps on Google Play ineffective, they're prone to giving "false alarm" alerts on common "clean" files. This means they'll identify a file as malicious when there's actually nothing wrong with your phone (or the file) in the first place.

If you've got an app from any of the following vendors, get rid of said software as quickly as possible. Apps vendors identified as making malicious antimalware apps by AV-Comparatives are as follows: antisecurity.inc, AppLocker Cleaner Booster, AppsNewLook, AVC Security, Bastiv, Big Fun Free Apps, Birina Industries, Cooler Technologies, Document Viewer 2019, Erus IT, GearMedia, Himlamo, and koala security studio.

The listed app makers above, as well as those that follow, were all removed from the Google Play app store in 2019 due to their release of malicious scanner apps. Do away with these examples of developers as well: LA Antivirus Lab, Mobile Antivirus Lab, Mobile Tools, NCK Corp, Ocean Developers, PICOO Design, Protection & Security for Mobile Lab, Rivalab, Secure Performance Dev, Smart bapp, Taobao, Top Maxi Group, TrustPort, Vasa Pvt, Vasonomics, Vitekco, wallpaperdus, Weather Radar Forecast, and zeeworkers.

2019 Security Scanner apps worth their salt

The AV-Comparatives test for 2019 took account of 250 apps, the vast majority of which detected over 30% of common Android malware samples. We've not listed the apps which detect 30% or less, since they're basically useless and considered by AV-Comparatives to be ineffective, unsafe, or both ineffective and unsafe. The full test listing shows all 250 apps, good and bad.

Today I'm listing the apps that AV-Comparatives found detected more than Google's own built-in scanner software. That's more than Google, which according to AV-Comparatives, detected just 68.8% of their list of common Android malware samples. The test run by AV-Comparatives included 2000 malicious APKs first detected in the year 2018.

Apps that detected ALL malicious apps from AV-Comparatives' testing gamut included the following. That's 100% accuracy in tests for each of the following, full stop.

Apps that passed the AV-Comparatives test at 100%:

• AhnLab

• Antiy

• Avast

• AVG

• AVIRA

• Bitdefender

• BullGuard

• Chili Security

• Emsisoft

• ESET

• ESTSoft

• F-Secure

• G Data

• Kaspersky Lab

• McAfee

• PSafe

• Sophos

• STOPzilla

• Symantec

• Tencent

• Total Defense

• Trend Micro

• Trustwave

I've not linked any of the apps above to their respective listings in Google Play on purpose. I want you to be SURE that our article right here isn't monetarily incentivized or published on behalf of any individual brand or developer or app on this list. This list is the result of the tests done by AV-Comparatives, and AV-Comparatives alone.

Security apps that detected 99% or more of the most common 2000 malicious APKs of the year 2018 as tested by AV-Comparatives included the following. These apps detected most, but not all, malicious entities in this test: eScan, Ikarus, Quick Heal, REVE, Securion, VIPRE, Lookout, Supermobilesafe, BSafe, MyMobile, Malwarebytes, CheckPoint, K7, and Qihoo.

It's worth mentioning that Samsung's built-in security scanning software (with the newest Samsung smartphones) achieved a 97.7% total accuracy in this testing series. It's also worth mentioning that user reviews on Google Play are NOT a good gauge of efficacy of scans.

Some scanner apps with 4+ stars and hordes of positive reviews did an awful job on this test series. Just because an app looks like it's doing its job, does not mean it's actually doing what it should.

Bad indicators of app goodness:

• Star rating

• User reviews

• Number of downloads

• Recent update date

Developers making massive amounts of cash from gaming the system are very, very good at faking and/or fixing the above factors in app stores. Whenever you're going to download an app that has "security" in its title or description, be sure to do a web search for it first – and seek ratings from publications you trust!