“2 billion users daily security” – it is under this slogan that Google is promoting its Play Protect protection system for Android. For those who don’t know: this is a special set of algorithms that scan for Google Play malware and protect our smartphones from them. Google is very proud of its development, because Play Protect can search for virus software not only on the device, but also outside it, for example, on sites and web services, accurately detecting spyware scripts and phishing pages. But this is in theory. But in practice, unfortunately, everything turned out to be somewhat different.
Experts from the AV-TEST bureau, which evaluates the effectiveness of anti-virus programs, analyzed the capabilities of Play Protect and came to the conclusion that this is an extremely inefficient protection system. Their study showed that of the 6,700 malware that was randomly selected for the experiment, Play Protect was able to recognize only about 2,700, while he designated the remaining 4,000 applications with destructive functions as benign software, without suspecting any trick.
Why do we need Play Protest
Google’s Play Protect was not the only antivirus that AV-TEST experts tested. Together with it, antiviruses Avira, Kaspersky, Bitfender, G Data, NortonLifeLock, SK Telecom and Trend Micro were tested in the same way. All of them received a maximum of 18 points, while Play Protect awarded only 6. This is quite indicative, given that Google is pretty cool about Android antiviruses and offers users to rely solely on their own product, citing its versatility and effectiveness in any task.
However, Play Protect is experiencing problems not only with malicious applications, being unable to distinguish many of them from benign ones, but also vice versa. Of the 2000 thousand guaranteed safe programs from Google Play that AV-TEST experts selected for the experiment, Google antivirus mistakenly called 30 of them malicious. Yes, here the percentage of errors turned out to be significantly lower, but the fact that Play Protect often cannot distinguish white from black causes certain concerns. Therefore, AV-TEST recommends that you do not trust your security only with Google and secure yourself using third-party antiviruses.
Do I need antivirus on Android
Personally, I have never resorted to antiviruses for more than a decade of using Android. I didn’t have such a need even at the dawn of the formation of the operating system, when it was protected unlike the worst. Either I was just lucky, or my internal protection mechanisms worked, but I never came across malicious software either on Google Play or beyond, although at the end of the zero years, when the awareness of the need to pay for software had not yet arrived , I quite actively downloaded hacked versions of applications in the form of APKs and often did this without really figuring out where I was downloading them from.
Can you do the same? I’m sure yes. In general, I have a rather skeptical attitude towards antiviruses, which, in my opinion, only slow down the system and consume those resources that, obviously, could be directed to other, more relevant tasks. Therefore, all I recommend is to read reviews of applications on Google Play, check their rating and number of downloads, avoid downloading software from outside the official catalog and, in the end, read what privileges the installed program is requesting, so that in case of why not let her steal confidential information.