HYDERABAD: A quick search on Google play store for an anti-virus software would leave a smartphone user confused about which app to install. They all promise to keep the phones clean and safe offering anti-spyware and virus removers, malware blockers, app lockers, boosters, access to Virtual Private Networks (VPN) servers, and what-nots. And they all come in a various combination of features, but no one app will provide all these services at the same time, that too for free. Like personal computers, smartphones too require protection. But not all the security apps do what they promise to deliver.
A report by AV-Comparatives, an independent testing organisation released in 2017, found that not all security apps keep the promise of providing security, and that many of the apps available in the market are merely designed to display advertisements to their users. The report had found 35 such applications and reported them to Google, who later removed them from the play store.
“These apps have some serious side effects as they spread a fake sense of security. People who download and use them think their phones are safe from virus-attack, but in reality, they are under the false impression of being secure.
The false sense of security exposes them to bigger threats, especially loss of sensitive banking details from the phone,” said V Dhanunjaya, founder and cyber forensic analyst at Kryptix infotech, Hyderabad. “Some of the apps only mimic the security, they may not even be a real security app. It’s good to have some level of protection, but people should be careful about what they instal on their phones in general,” he added.
Most downloaded apps
The mobile ranking by Similarweb, a digital market intelligence firm, has at least three security apps in their “Leader Board” for apps with most downloads in India
Security Master: Antivirus, VPN, Applocker, booster (Cheetah Mobile)
360 degree Security: Free Antivirus, Booster, Cleaner (360 mobile security limited)
Clean Master: Space Cleaner and Antivirus (Cheetah Mobile)