Report: Google Play Protect Sucks at Detecting Malware

Report: Google Play Protect Sucks at Detecting Malware

Yes, you would like protection on your Android device. But, no, Play Protect isn’t enough.

An AV-TEST report has revealed that Google Play Protect, Android’s built-in protection against malware and other nasties, isn’t up to scratch. AV-TEST is that the world’s leading antivirus and antimalware testing lab, testing popular security products against a comprehensive list of malware and viruses.

Google Play Protect detected just over two-thirds out of quite 20,000 malicious apps, leading AV-TEST to deliver a damning test score of 0.0 Protection and 0.0 Usability.

Google Play Protect: Bottom of the Android Security Pile

AV-TEST’s results put Google Play Protect firmly at the rock bottom of the 15 Android security solutions tested. With a maximum of 18 points on offer across the three test sections of Protection, Performance, and usefulness, Google Play Protect picked up just 6.0—a total of ten points behind the next option, Ikarus.

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According to Google, this protection is usually active, automatically evaluating every app on the device. But the endurance test revealed that this service doesn’t provide perfect security: every other security app offers better protection than Google Play Protect.

AV-TEST pits each of the antivirus tools against quite 20,000 malicious apps. Within the endurance test running from January to June 2021, there have been three rounds of testing. Each difficulty involved 3,000 newly discovered malware samples during a real-time test, alongside a reference set of malicious apps using malware samples in circulation for around four weeks.

Google Play Protect detected 68.8 percent of the real-time malware samples and 76.7 percent of the reference malware samples.

In addition, AV-TEST installs around 10,000 harmless apps from the Play Store on each device, getting to detect any false positives. Again, Google’s Play Protect came bottom of the pile, marking 70 harmless apps as malware.

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Is Google Play Protect Useless?

According to AV-TEST’s extensive six-month test, Google Play Protect isn’t up to much. As a result, allowing thousands of malicious apps to undergo its defense is lacking. Moreover, this could come as no surprise to Google, as Play Protect finished plum last in AV-TEST’s 2020 edition of an equivalent test.

A year-on-year improvement of zero won’t bring music to the ears of Android users, either. Google touts the integrated protection because the only protection you would like for your Android device, but these tests tell a different story.

What’s the Best Android Security App?

In the 2021 test, 9 Android antivirus apps took home a maximum score of 18 points:

  • Avast
  • AVG
  • Bitdefender
  • F-Secure
  • G DATA
  • Kaspersky
  • McAfee
  • NortonLifeLock
  • Trend Micro
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A further four apps scored 17 points or more, illustrating that Android does need p-quality security apps available—you have to leave and find them first.