Google’s Play Protect ideally safeguards its users from malicious applications from the Google Play Store, however, out of the 20 programs evaluated by AV-Test, it is the only one that does not consistently protect its users.
A security firm based in Germany, AV-Test periodically assesses antivirus software for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android.
Upon reviewing the AV-Test scores, the results were reassuring as 12 of the 20 tested received perfect scores, while 19 received recommendations. The only one to not receive a recommendation? Google Play Protect.
Antivirus programs assessed by AV-Test are graded on a 13-point scale – 6 for usability, 6 for protection, and 1 for extra features.
When a selected software garners at least 8 points, they are assured of a tentative recommendation from AV-Test.
Trend Micro Mobile Security and Antivirus led the 12 companies who received perfect scores, while Google Play Protect received zero points in protection.
Trend Micro Mobile Security led the 12 companies who received perfect scores in the AV-Test Study.
The Google product only detected 63% of real-world malware and 71% of reference data malware that AV-Test measured it against.
While this might seem bad, it is worth noting that Google Play Protect is not your traditional antivirus software. It only scans programs in the Play Store before downloading them, monitoring them periodically as well. It does not scan your device or quarantine your files like your regular security software.
It is also worth mentioning that Google Play Store does not put much of a defence against malware. For every program they do remove, there are close to 10 more lurking in the store.
Play Protect could be an Android device’s only defence at times, and if it isn’t stopping close to half of malware then it certainly isn’t serving its purpose.
All things considered, this should not be shocking news as Google Play Protect is not a comprehensive antivirus program. It does mean, however, that Android users are not protected enough if they only rely on Play Protect.
AV-Test went through a long list of available antivirus programs – some of them even available at no cost to the user – and users should take installing them more seriously.
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