25 millions devices infected by the Android malware Agent Smith
According to a research detailed below, on Google Play, the most popular platform for Android applications, two thirds of the pro-proclaimed antivirus applications offer absolutely no protection for mobile devices.
A study by researchers from the Austrian-based AV-Comparatives company analyzed 250 applications on Google Play claiming to secure mobile devices under Android. However, fewer than one in three applications have been able to distinguish between a legitimate application and a malicious one. Even more astounding, applications were only able to detect 30% of the so-called malicious applications publicly known in 2018. Only a few applications passed the tests with a good detection rate.
Thus, according to a report of the study results, the majority of these applications claiming to protect the user and his data cannot even be considered as legitimate antivirus software, most of them having literally detected none of the malicious applications used in the study.
Lukas Stefanko, an application and malware researcher, recently highlighted a slew of such fraudulent applications with no less than one million downloads to date.
Therefore, it is not because an application has a good score (out of 5, in stars) and has many downloads that it is necessarily effective: in the study carried out by AV-Comparatives, the majority of the 250 applications tested had a score of 4 stars or more on Google Play. The Google Play platform being very large, it can take a long time before an application is considered a scam.
Cybersecurity experts therefore warn users of the dangers posed by self-proclaimed antivirus applications. They can be both ineffective and be infected with a malware like an Invasive Adware.
In order to make their application more credible, the developers of these applications often go so far as to falsify reviews.
The best way to protect yourself is therefore to be careful with downloaded applications, to only download applications from recognized vendors, since some applications can be malicious, such as the Agent Smith malicious application that recently infected more than 25 million Android devices.
Even if you have uninstalled an application from your phone that you thought was fraudulent, chances are it's not as easy to get rid of it, like Agent Smith.