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Google Play Protect performs miserably in Android protection tests

Android
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A leading software testing platform has reported that Google Play Protect is not one of the most accurate malware detecting applications. 

Google's own system scored the least, 6 out of 18, in three different examinations tests from AV-Test conducted to check its malware threat protection capabilities. 

Google Play Protect is Android’s in-built primary anti-malware tool that is supposed to protect Android devices from installing rogue apps from the Play Store or otherwise.

Apart from Play Protect, AV-Test vetted popular security applications like Avira, Bitdefender, G Data, Kaspersky, NortonLifeLock, SK Telecom and Trend Micro, against almost 6700 malware apps to test their protection, performance, and usability.

Malware protection

Google Play Protect was introduced over three years ago and is said to be active on over 2.5 billion Android devices. However, during the tests, almost two-thirds of rogue apps went unnoticed by the platform, which could have resulted in these apps infecting devices easily.

When it came to apps which were less than 24 hours old, Google Play Protect could only detect 37% of suspect offerings, while Antiy, Bitdefender, Cheetah Mobile, NortonLifeLock, Trend Micro and Kaspersky offered a close to 100% result. 

Google’s product was also rated poorly when it came to flagging applications that have been circulating for over four weeks, as it was found to only detect 33% of such malware.

The test also pointed out that the Google Play Protect reported false positives on 30 occasions, while other apps resulted in a near-flawless performance in this category as well.

Researchers from AV-Test suggest that “Android users should not rely solely on Play Protect. As the detection rates of Google Play Protect are quite poor, the use of a good security app is highly recommended."

Google Play Protect scans over 100 billion apps every day and even blocks malware apps from getting published on the Play Store. Last year, the company also joined the App Defense Alliance along with ESET, Lookout, and Zimperium in a bid to secure the Android ecosystem. 

This is also not the first time that the Google Play Protect has failed in AV-Test’s research. In 2017, the system was placed at the bottom of the chart of mobile security tools.