Android’s internal Google Play Protect service has the least detection rate of stalkerware threats, commonly known as spyware that usually monitors and records a user’s phone behavior.
According to findings by Atlas VPN, the Google Play Protect service detects only 31% of stalkerware attacks among 18 selected antiviruses. The low score implies that Android device users are more vulnerable since hackers can access their sensitive information like login passwords for email addresses or banking apps.
However, it can be argued that the score is significant considering that the software comes free and pre-installed on Android devices. Interestingly, the findings show that other free antiviruses scored decently.
The study was conducted by independent research institute AV-Test. The firm tested the most popular security applications that had to detect 29 unique stalkerware threats on Android devices as of July 2021.
NortonLifeLock Norton 360 security software emerged as the second-worst performer detecting 58.6% of the threats. Interestingly, other unpopular security companies recorded a significant detection rate.
For example, Line Antivirus has a detection rate of 72.4%, with Ikarus mobile. Security accounting for 79.3%. AhnLab V3 Mobile Security detects 79.3% of the Android stalkerware threats.
Furthermore, only Antiy AVL, Bitdefender Mobile Security, and Trend Micro Mobile Security recorded the maximum detection rate at 100% from the highlighted security companies.
Popular antiviruses score poorly
According to Atlas VPN, from the findings, it is clear that the brand position of a security company does not translate to a high detection rate of threats. Notably, some of the commonly known antiviruses had the worst scores.
For android users, it is advisable to seek a third-party defender since the native Google Play Protect service is not reliable. Worth mentioning is that a significant number of Android users depend on the native Google Play Protect service to fight spyware.
The findings also come in the wake of increased focus on mobile spyware, cited as a significant security threat. Creators of spyware mainly focus on the growth and penetration of smartphones and tablets globally to target victims.