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Google’s Play Protect anti-malware tool is bottom of the league when compared to its main rivals, according to the latest findings from AV-Test.

The independent testing body found that the Google tool, which is built-in to newer Android devices, was able to detect only around a third of malware, allowing thousands through. AV-Test argued that users should install an alternative third-party AV tool to ensure robust threat protection.

AV-Test ran 17 Android security applications through a three-part test, covering protection, performance and usability.

In the first part, the app is required to identify 6700 malicious apps; the second part covers processor and battery load and the third checks for any false alarms that security tools may raise on innocuous apps.

Seven vendors managed the maximum score of 18: Trend Micro, Avira, SK Telekom, NortonLifeLock, Kaspersky, G Data and Bitdefender.

Google Play Protect came in last place with just six points, awarded solely for its performance. It scored zero for protection and usability.

AV-Test tried two protection methodologies: evaluating whether security vendors could detect 3300 totally new malicious apps, discovered just two-24 hours previously, and 3300 dangerous but previously known pieces of malware.

Several vendors scored 100% on both: Antiy, Bitdefender, Cheetah Mobile, NortonLifeLock, Trend Micro and Kaspersky.

However, Google Play Protect managed just 37% and 33%. To put this in perspective, the next ‘worst’ performing was AVG with nearly 99%.

“As the detection rates of Google Play Protect are really quite poor, the use of a good security app is highly recommended,” noted the report.

“The range of apps tested offers a wide selection of reliable and battery-friendly security apps. The apps with the maximum point score of 18 are all paid apps with annual license fees, but that ought to be worthwhile to users in exchange for their security.”

The Google security tool was introduced to the market nearly three years ago.

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