Google last again in Android antivirus ranking (2018)

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 21, 2018
Google Android

Google Play Protect does not protect Android devices against malware attacks very well according to latest test results of German company AV-Test. The result confirms previous tests that AV Test and AV Comparatives conducted to test protective capabilities of Android security solutions.

Play Protect is the built-in malware protection for Android that powers more than two billion devices according to Google. The protective functionality is baked into Android and uses machine learning algorithms to improve in real time according to Google. The service scans more than 50 billion apps every day according to Google.

You can check "My apps & games" section of the official Google Play application to find out if Play Protect detects security related issues on the device and when it last scanned apps on the device. It is furthermore possible to start scans with a tap on the reload button.

Google Play Protect's bad security rating

google play protect


The latest test results of German antivirus and security testing institute AV-Test suggest that Google Play Protect does not offer adequate protection against malware.

The institute checked 21 different mobile security products for Android from renowned companies such as Avast, Avira, Bitdefender, G Data, or Kaspersky against a set of 2945 of the latest Android malware threats and a set of 2709 malware samples discovered up to four weeks ago at the time of the testing.

Google Play Protect was the only solution that received 0 points in the protection category. It had detection scores of 70.1% and 49.4% against real-time malware and malware of the last 4 weeks. The average for all tested solutions was 97.4% and 96.7% respectively.

Only four antivirus solutions received test scores below the maximum score of 6. Google Play Protect was the only solution that did not receive any points; TrustGo Antivirus & Mobile Security received 2 points, iNetCop's OnVaccine 3 points, and Ikarus' Mobile Security 5.5 points.

All other solutions got maximum points in the protection category.

Google Play Protect fared better in the usability category where it received the maximum number of points. Most mobile security solutions received maximum points in the category as well as only 7 received a score less than the maximum of 6.

A high usability score is awarded when apps don't impact battery life, slow down device usage, or generate excess traffic, and when the number of false positives is low.

Solutions that received full points in protection and usability are: AhnLab V2 Mobile Security, Alibaba Mobile Security, Avast Mobile Security, AVG Antivirus Free, Avira Antivirus Security, Bitdefender Mobile Security, G Data Internet Security, Kaspersky Internet Security, Norton Mobile Security, Tencent WeSecure, and TrendMicro Mobile Security.

How did Google Play Protect perform in previous months? Not better: the solution kept its 0 rating in the protection category in all four tests AV-Test ran this year.

A quick check of the mobile security results for Android on AV Comparatives, another test organization, paints a similar picture. Google came in last with a protection rate of just over 50% at 51.8%. The second worst program had a protection rate of 92.3% and that only because of a bug in the software program.

Closing Words

The main takeaway is that Google Play Protect does not protect well against threats on Android. It reminds me a lot of how Microsoft's security solutions, Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials, started.

Android is plagued by malware campaigns and while some protection is better than none, it is clear that Google Play Protect is not the best when it comes to protecting Android users from malware attacks.

Do Android users need another security solution then? It depends on device usage in my opinion; if you install lots of apps from unverified sources you may want to add extra protection to your device. If you use it to check Google Maps, the weather, and for chatting, the risk of being exposed to malware is relatively low.

Now You: Anti-malware apps on Android, yes or no?

Google last again in Android antivirus ranking (2018)
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Google last again in Android antivirus ranking (2018)
Google Play Protect does not protect Android devices against malware attacks very well according to latest test results of German company AV-Test.
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  1. Albert said on August 18, 2023 at 1:49 pm

    Thanks for the tip Martin.

    It is for these kinds of posts that I follow GHacks.

    1. Mike Williams said on August 26, 2023 at 8:55 pm

      What’s up with the generic comment, are you a bot?

  2. Tachy said on August 18, 2023 at 3:23 pm


    Where on the planet is that still in use? I was forced to give up using my RAZRV3 years ago because 2G was phased out by AT&T.

    1. arbuz said on August 20, 2023 at 5:02 pm

      Everywhere 3G has been turned off and you don’t have LTE coverage, and believe me there are many developed countries where this is the case and if it weren’t for 2G you wouldn’t even be able to make a phone call.

    2. Doc Fuddled said on August 31, 2023 at 5:55 pm

      Maybe I missed it, but I don’t believe tha term “2G” is in the article. Perhaps you are referring to “AGM G2”??

  3. Tachy said on August 18, 2023 at 3:27 pm


    Your website has gone insane.

    When I the post button I then saw my comment posted on a different article page. When I opened this article again, it is here.

    1. Martin P. said on August 31, 2023 at 4:39 pm

      @Tachy @Martin Brinkmann

      ” Your website has gone insane. ”

      Same here. Has happened several times.

      1. owl said on September 1, 2023 at 3:42 am

        @Martin P.,

        For over two weeks now,
        I’ve been seeing “Comments” posted by subscribers appearing in different, unrelated articles.
        For the time being,
        it would be better to specify the “article name and URL” at the beginning of the post.

  4. Anonymous said on August 18, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    @tachy a lot of non-phone devices with a sim in them rely on 2G, at least here in europe.
    Usually things reporting usage or errors/alarms on something remote that does not get day to day inspection in person. They are out there in vast numbers doing important work. Reliable, good range. The low datarate is no problem at all in those cases.
    3G is gone or on its last legs everywhere, but this stuff still has too much use to cancel.

    Anyhow, interesting that they would put that in. I can see the point if you suspect a hostile 2G environment (amateur eavesdroppers with laptop, ranging up to professional grade MITM fake towers while “strangely” not getting the stronger crypto voip 4G because it is being jammed, and back down to something as old ‘stingray’ devices fallen into the wrong hands).

    But does this also mean that they have handled and rolled out a fix for that nasty 4G ‘pwn by broadcast’ problem you reported earlier this year? I had 4G disabled due to that, on the off chance that some of the local criminals would buy some cheap chinese gear, download a working exploit and probe every phone in range all over town in the hope of getting into phones of the police.

  5. Andy Prough said on August 19, 2023 at 3:04 am

    >”While most may never be attacked in stingrays, it is still recommended to disable 2G cellular connections, especially since it does not have any downsides.”

    The downside would be losing connectivity. I spend a lot of time way out in the countryside where there’s often no service or almost none. My network allows 2G, and I need it sometimes. I have an option on the phone to disable 2G, I may do that when I’m in the city and I have good 5G connectivity, but not out in the country.

    I would imagine that the stingray exploits, like most of the bad things in this world, are probably things you will run into in the crowded big cities.

  6. owl said on August 21, 2023 at 3:40 am

    I stopped using it in a mobile (Wi-Fi line) environment, so I’m almost ignorant of the actual situation,
    But the recent reality in Japan makes me realize that “the infrastructure of the web is nothing more than a papier-mâché fiction”.

    It is already beyond the scope of what an individual can do.
    What we should be aware of is the reality that “governments and those in power want to control the world through the Web”, and efforts to counter (resist and prevent) such ambitions are necessary.

  7. Anonymous said on August 26, 2023 at 9:27 pm

    Why do you want people to disable the privacy features? Hmmmmm?

  8. Anonymous said on August 27, 2023 at 2:30 am

    Now You: do you plan to keep the Ads privacy features enabled?

    I’d like to tell you, but apparently if you make a post critical of Google, you get censored. * [Editor: removed, just try to bring your opinion across without attacking anyone]

  9. Tachy said on August 27, 2023 at 5:15 am


    You website is still psychotic. Comments attach to random stories.

  10. John G. said on August 28, 2023 at 2:46 pm

    @Martin please do fix the comments, it’s completely insane commenting here! :[

  11. ECJ said on August 28, 2023 at 5:37 pm


    The comments are seriously messed up on gHacks now. These comments are mixed with the article at the below URL.

    And comments on other articles are from as far back as 2010.

  12. Naimless said on August 29, 2023 at 12:57 am

    What does this article has anything to do with all the comments on this article? LOL I think this Websuite is ran by ChatGPT. every article is messed up. Some older comments from 2015 shown up in recant articles, LOL

  13. Paul Knight said on August 31, 2023 at 3:35 am

    The picture captioned “Clearing the Android Auto’s cache might resolve the issue” is from Apple Carplay ;)

  14. Anonymous said on August 31, 2023 at 9:57 pm

    How about other things that matter:
    Drop survival?
    Screen toughness?
    Degree of water and dust protection?

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