Mobile Security Apps Fail to Protect
by Josh Kirschner for Techlicious
Techlicious put several well know mobile security apps to the test and the results were dismal.–PC Pitstop.
Mobile spyware can have a devastating effect on your life; the constant fear that a spouse, significant other or even employer is following your every move, knows everything about your life and has completely removed any vestige of privacy. (If you have any doubt about this, read the comments from readers from our March 2012 story on mobile spyware).
And spyware is not as rare as you may think. According to mobile security company Lookout, .24% of Android phones they scanned in the U.S. had surveillance-ware installed intended to target a specific individual. Sophos reports a similar .2% infection rate from spyware. If those numbers hold true for Android users in general, that would mean tens of thousands could be infected.
I set out to test the leading Android anti-malware vendors to see how they fared at protecting us against the threat of spyware. Spyware apps I used for this test go far beyond basic location trackers or “find my phone” services. While features varied, all the apps I tested performed a combination of highly intrusive monitoring techniques, including recording of calls, remote camera image capture, downloading of SMS messages, downloading of photos and videos, downloading of contacts, remote microphone activation, and recording and tracking of websites visited. You can find out more about how I define spyware, how I picked the spyware apps and how I tested in the FAQ below.
The results, generally speaking, were dismal. Of twelve products I tested, none was able to detect more than two-thirds of the samples. Many missed half or more of the spyware apps. And, surprisingly, the potential spyware apps least likely to be detected were those widely available in Google Play.
This excerpt appears with the permission of Techlicious.