Android Spyware: Is Google’s Built-In Security Enough

Cybersecurity researchers have found out that the security software from Google could detect only 31% of spyware threats affecting Android devices. It failed to spot 20 malicious apps out of 29 in a security application test carried out recently.AV-Test, an antivirus software organization, tested many security software applications to see how well they could detect spyware on Android. Google Play Protect, Android’s built-in security software, it was revealed, showed the lowest success rate.

Is Android spyware a big problem?

The results show that Google’s security feature was able to detect only 9 from the 29 spyware threats that were employed in the test. It implies that potential hackers have a higher chance of making spyware sneak into Android apps on the Google Play Store with no flags being raised.

Spyware is a serious threat to user security and privacy as it can monitor as well as record private conversations carried out by a user on his smartphone. The spyware gains full access to the user’s login credentials, sensitive information, banking details, and more. Google should look into the effectiveness of its security software since Google Play Protect failed to detect almost 70% of the threats.

Before you download any app from Google Play Store, Google Play Protect runs automatic safety checks on them. The free-to-use feature is present in every Android device, and it warns users about potentially harmful apps removing them finally.

Read: Your worst nightmare, Malware on Android devices

Google’s Play Protect doesn’t work on older Android devices

Google’s security feature works well on the latest Android 8 or Oreo phones. The Oreo platform offers better security with solid encryption, kernel self-protection, tighter sandboxing and recently updated Android Verified Boot.

The situation isn’t a happy one as only around 1 percent of Android users have Oreo on their phones. Therefore, as much as 99 percent of Android phones don’t have the desired level of security. We share with you tips on how you can protect your old Android phone.

Be cautious when you install apps

You would do best to download apps from official and trusted sources like the Google Play Store or the Amazon App Store as they feature a built-in security apparatus. There is a multitude of shady third-party Android apps available on other platforms. If you find anything on a third-party site that you find suspicious or makes you feel uncomfortable, immediately stop the download.

Be phishing ready

There’s more to security on Android than the risk posed by downloading apps from dubious sources. You should be cautious of phishing attacks from shady sites that lure you into entering personal data or your credit card details.

Read: How to Protect Your Site from Malware

Consider lock screen security

To make sure that a thief is denied access to the apps on your phone and all your data, see to it that the lock screen settings on your device are in order. While Google’s default settings are good enough, we suggest that you still consider using other third-party apps which have various interesting approaches to locking the screen on your phone. For instance, some apps can take pictures of users trying to unlock your phone.

Install antivirus software

We suggest that you install antivirus software to protect your Android device and all the sensitive material it contains. Antivirus software has strong and effective anti-spyware technologies combined with the latest advanced security features.

These features include automated patching of all software programs that are vulnerable, a firewall that blocks malicious traffic on the web, an anti-spam filter, tools to block bad websites, and more. These security features don’t slow down your mobile.

Download a Virtual Private Network

With Google Play Protect failing to provide foolproof security for Android devices, we suggest that you get an Android VPN. This tool greatly boosts your online security and privacy by encrypting the connection between your device and the internet. Such encryption hides your IP address, ensuring that your online identity remains obscure. Thus, online entities will get fewer chances to target you. And the best part, you will almost fully avert geo-targeting that might be happening on your smartphone. Digital surveillance might not be spyware, but it can be just as invasive.


With the risk from cybercriminals rising every single day, you’ve got to boost your online security to the maximum. Cybersecurity researchers have revealed that Google’s security software lacks the desired effectiveness. It’s therefore desirable that you take precautionary measures. You should be even more cautious if you use an older Android device. We have suggested ways that can keep your device safe from various threats. Always download apps from trusted sources and do lock your screen. Installing antivirus software and downloading a VPN are wise things to do. Be cautious and follow our advice to stay safe.

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