With over a million potentially malicious apps blocked from accessing the Google Play Store last year alone, you probably wouldn’t expect dozens more to wreak havoc on the Google Play Store. security for millions of Android users around the world, practically every few weeks.
Unfortunately, it has been proven time and again over the years that you simply cannot rely (only) on Google to protect you from increasingly sophisticated threats and ever-improving malicious actors.
Almost all popular antivirus apps follow you
While data collection is, let’s face it, a common, generally acceptable, and sometimes necessary practice for (almost) all types of mobile apps, we can probably agree that the most important thing in these almost unavoidable cases is a developer’s sincerity. †
When you have apps that are specifically advertised as focused on protecting user privacy and can easily be found tracking the same users for undisclosed and thus potentially shady purposes, it’s hard not to lose your trust for good . consider.
The higher the score, the better the security features offered (with or without tracking included).
Of the 40 most downloaded cleaning and antivirus apps in Google Play inspected by Cybernews security experts, only two (!!!) were considered to rid themselves of obvious data privacy threats, and another two escaped this analysis by any method which is called eclipse. clearly not a good sign.
Even “Super Antivirus Clean Virus” and “VG Enterprise Web SDK”, the two tracker-free apps on today’s list, failed to impress when it came to evaluating their overall security prowess, though it was worth the effort. It’s worth noting that it’s unclear exactly how this review was done.
The amount and type of data held by each of the 36 apps found guilty of this dubious practice is also not stated or detailed in any way, but to make matters worse, six of those same apps also apparently contain links. . to “potentially malicious domains”.
Do you have to delete them all?
While the answer to that question may seem simple, keep in mind that these are (in theory) some of the best free Android security apps on the market right now, and of course there’s no guarantee that lesser-known alternatives will not follow you.
An easy solution to this conundrum would be to abandon mobile antivirus programs altogether, in which case you’ll be left all alone trying to dodge the daily perils of Android life.
That’s not necessarily as bad as it sounds if you use common sense with each app installation, including but not limited to carefully reading user reviews, paying attention to all the relevant research out there, and well, keeping an eye on Phone Arena from time to time.
That said, here are the apps that have been found to track both users and contain “probable” malicious links:
- dr capsule antivirus cleaner
- GO Security AntiVirus, AppLock, Booster
- Virus Hunter 2021 Virus Scanner and Phone Cleaner
- AVC Antivirus & Virus Cleaner
- Fancy Booster Clean, Antivirus and Speed up
- Phone Junk Clean Master
And here’s the painfully long list of all the wildly popular Android antivirus apps discovered to “only” track your data, ranked by number of trackers and thus apparent degree of danger (emphasis on apparent):
- Nova Security Virus Cleaner
- Antivirus, Virus Cleaner, Booster Fancy Security
- Fancy Battery Battery Saver, Booster, Cleaner
- Fancy Cleaner Boost, cleaner smart security
- Smart Security
- Keep Clean Cleaner, Antivirus
- Safe Security Antivirus, Booster, Phone Cleaner
- APUS Security Antivirus Master
- Antivirus One Virus Cleaner
- FileMaster Management & Power Clean
- Memory Cleaner Speed Booster & Junk Removal
- One Booster Antivirus and Cleaner
- Phone Security Antivirus, Cleaner, Booster
- PoMelo File Explorer and Cleaner
- One Security Antivirus, Clean
- Phone cleaner Virus cleaner
- Powerful Phone Cleaner Cleaner & Booster
- Virus Remover security apps, booster, cooler
- Smart cleaner
- Antivirus Cleanup + VPN
- CPU Cooler Antivirus, Cleanup
- Phone Cleaner, Booster, Master
- SHAREit Lite Sharing & File Transfer, File Manager
- Super clean Master of the cleaner
- Smart Clean Booster, cleaner
- Antivirus and Virus Cleaner Lock
- Clean Guard phone cleaner
- JioSecurity Mobile Security & Antivirus
- Antivirus Virus Cleaner
- Security Antivirus Max Cleaner