22 Nov 2011

Android owners using free antivirus software should upgrade

For users of the Android mobile platform, using free antivirus software may not cut it, according to a study by AV-Test, a German security institute. The company looked at seven different apps and found that most of them were useless when it came to helping phones detect and get rid of malware.

"The number of installations, which is given on the market website, shows that many users trust these free apps, although they do not offer a reliable protection," AV-Test said. "The circulation of obviously near-to-useless security apps endangers those who trust them and install apps from third-party app markets without further suspiciousness."

MSNBC said while the study did exclude many popular free antivirus programs, the results are still shocking, especially because Android users face a lot of threats. The news source said there is now Android-specific malware that can steal calls and texts. Malware can also apparently communicate with websites and blogs to get attack instructions, so users need to be careful.

The AV-Test study said the "real-time guard" functions of the apps were shockingly bad, as they put it up against well-known malware and it still was not stopped. Users looking to actually protect their phones should get a quality antivirus program.