Android users have been warned that most security apps claiming to offer protection from rogue apps and malware actually have little ability to provide any adequate protection.
Independent security group AV Test pitted 41 different Android-based virus scanners against a range of widely-known malware families. Two-thirds of the scanners identified less than 65 per cent of the 618 types of malware used.
On the whole, tools from traditional anti-virus vendors were rated as best by AV Test, with products from the likes of Kaspersky Labs and F-Secure detecting more than 90 per cent of the malware tested.
Others in the top-ranked group include dedicated Android security firm Lookout.
Six of the products tested failed to spot any of the malware at all, and AV Test was not able to establish that the apps had any capability to scan for potential malware.
“It's safe to assume that these products really don't detect anything, but still we wanted to point out the possibility of a flaw in our methodology,” AV Test said.
Despite the poor showing from some of the apps, AV Test still advised Android users to install security tools, providing they were from a reputable source.
"You should consider installing a security app because nowadays, the malware authors are able to load their malicious code after a seemingly clean app has been installed," the AV Test report said.
AV Test warned that rogue apps install malicious code after installation to avoid being detected by Google's Bouncer security technology.
The warning that many of the anti-virus apps on the market are placebo-ware comes as amid warnings of sky-rocketing volumes of malware targeted at the platform.
The volume of Android malware rose by 155 per cent during 2011 according to Juniper Networks.
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