Berlin – There are many apps on our smartphones. Games, social networks or shopping apps – sometimes a pest may creep in. Especially Android devices are affected. The open system allows programmers to distribute their own apps and place them in the well-known Google Play Store without any review. Good if you have an antivirus app for protection on the smartphone installed. But are they reliable too?
Free apps offer good protection
Independent IT security company AV-Test took a close look at the key Android protection apps in January. Result: protection offers just about all. Only two of the tested apps failed with antivirus protection: Lookout Antivirus & Security and AVG AntiVirus Free detected significantly fewer threats than the competition. “Which protection app you choose depends more on the additional functions or the price of the app,” says Andreas Marx of AV-Test. Free apps – this is another insight of the test – protect as well as paid.
More features for more expensive apps
In addition, the more expensive apps often offer additional functions. For example, secure deletion of data or a tracking function for a lost smartphone. That the test field in the protection function is very close together, is related to the similar functioning of the protection apps. Unlike virus scanners on the PC, which browse every file, apps can not look deep into the system. Therefore, antivirus apps will only match all apps on the smartphone with a database of potential malicious apps. The more up-to-date the database, the more protection the apps offer. “We are currently aware of about ten million malicious apps,” reveals Marx. In comparison to the approximately 500 million viruses for Windows that is still little.
Beware of false promises
For the criminals behind such apps are particularly personal data interesting. With stolen accounts and passwords they earn their money. The espionage programs use manipulated apps to transfer them to the smartphone. Especially dangerous are apps that are not on the official Google Play Store. These are available for download on the net – often with the promise that they are cracked versions of paid apps. In fact, there are usually nasty surprises.
Use trusted sources
However, there is another form of protection against damage caused by manipulated software on the App Store, as Carsten Cordes from the Institute for Internet Security at the Westphalian University of Applied Sciences in Gelsenkirchen explains. “Viruses and malware hide in malicious apps on Android, so long as you avoid them and only get apps from trusted sources, you’re not at risk.” Although harmful apps also occasionally slip through the controls in the large app stores – this can happen to antivirus apps just as much if their databases are not up-to-date.
Since Google already checks before, it works much like the protection app. Those who do not want to use their advanced features should consider whether they need a protection app at all. “Each of these apps also claims extended rights to the device, such as access to personal information, photos, or contacts,” says Cordes. “Everyone has to think about whether he wants that.”
Safe handling of Android
In addition, he has other tips for the safe handling of Android and smartphones in general ready. The Wi-Fi should be switched off on the way, otherwise the smartphone might dial into open networks by itself, but they could have been specially designed by hackers to bait to redirect traffic and access credentials. ” Special care should be taken in public Wi-Fi hotspots, as it is impossible to check whether the data streams might be diverted. Online banking should therefore take place better at home behind an effective firewall.
In addition, updates should always be installed quickly. They usually not only bring new features, but also plug security holes. Those who refrain from updates in order to save space or data volume, also waives its security.