Trackers and Malicious Links: Many Antivirus and Cleaning Apps Are Dangerous

Trackers and Malicious Links: Many Antivirus and Cleaning Apps Are Dangerous

Trackers and Malicious Links
Many dangerous antivirus and cleaning apps

Free antivirus and cleaning apps are popular among many Android users. But many of them do more harm than good or even dangerous, as a study of 40 frequently loaded apps showed.

Whether Android smartphones need additional antivirus apps or can be made faster with apps that remove unwanted data is highly controversial. In any case, if you install something like this, you should be very careful and suspicious, especially if you do not have to pay anything. Testing by Cybernews showed that many of the 40 apps frequently installed in these categories had trackers on board, and some even put users at risk with dangerous links.

The tested apps have been downloaded nearly a billion times, and the most popular have 1 million to several hundred million installs. They all come from the Google Play Store, so not from any questionable sources.

Nosy and/or dangerous

Only 2 out of 40 apps do not have a tracker through which user data can be tapped. In Nova Security, which has 4.5 out of five stars on the Play Store and has been installed more than ten million times, testers have found 40 snoopers, in Fancy Booster, which has been downloaded more than a million times, 28 of them work. From the same developer comes Fancy Security, Fancy Battery, and Fancy Cleaner, which bring 23 and 20 smartphone trackers respectively – all with the highest ratings and over a million or even five million downloads.

Fancy Booster is also one of the applications in which “Cybernews” has detected malicious links that can be used to hack smartphones. in d. The antiviral capsule, which has more than ten million installations, testers have found three dangerous links. Two malicious links are in GO Security (no longer available in the Play Store) and Virus Hunter, which has over 50 million downloads, and one in Fancy Booster and Phone Junk.

No app is really safe

Since all other tested antivirus and cleaning apps also contain “suspicious encryption practices” and other shortcomings, the best-tested app Keep Clean only scored 54 out of 100 potential security points rated by “Cybernews”. This app has been downloaded over 100 million times.

Testers were unable to analyze 2 of the 40 apps because the developers used obfuscation techniques. Cybernews said this is usually done to protect intellectual property or to mask malicious behavior. It is impossible to say what is the case here.

Be careful or use tested apps

Since antivirus and cleaning tools require extensive permissions to work, they can be very dangerous in nature. It’s not completely necessary if you follow some basic security rules: only downloading apps from the Play Store, and allowing “unknown sources” in settings is a taboo. Check permissions critically, keep software updated. Think first, then click the links and make regular backups in case this happens.

If you want to have all your security settings in a jiffy, don’t want to dispense with apps from other sources, or feel insecure without additional antivirus protection, take a look at the tests by AV Comparatives and AV-Test.

In principle, you can do without cleaning tools, but they may have a positive effect on smartphones with very little memory. In this case, users can use SD Maid or LTE Cleaner, which have been tested and recommended by “Mobilsicher”.

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