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Learn How Android Antivirus Apps Are Tested

Comparing different antivirus softwares is easy, but how do testers come up with their scores? Learn more about their process now.

If you’re going to use antivirus software, it’s common sense to make sure that it works and that it’s the best possible option. Luckily, the Internet is full of sites that compare and contrast different antivirus systems. Many of them assign scores to individual programs, which makes finding the top one easy. But what isn’t always apparent is exactly how they’ve come up with the scores.

Testing apps is just like any scientific experiment, and like an experiment, you want to make sure there is only one variable (in this case, the app itself). In order to ensure this, testers need to ensure that the phones they are using to test the product all run the same way, that they have an equal amount of processing power, free memory, etc. After setting the constants, the testers download the apps, and the real testing begins.

Learn More: The Most Common Viruses of 2017 and How to Stop Them

How Successful Is the Antivirus Program?
Generally, the folks running the experiments are looking for two things. The first is obvious: Can this app successfully detect and prevent malware? This is tested by targeting the phone with numerous types of popular malware. It’s important to offer both quantity and variety. A score of 100 out of 100 is obviously better than 10 out of 10. Testers want to ensure the app is able to catch different types of malware, so nothing slips through the cracks. It’s also important to run normal programs in this stage, to see how accurate an app is. Sometimes apps will recognize a perfectly normal app, web page, or file as malware when in truth it’s totally safe, and this can affect the app’s score.

How Does the Antivirus Program Function?
The second important thing to test for is how well the app runs alongside other apps. Antivirus apps have to run alongside a lot of other apps, constantly ensuring the apps aren’t somehow letting malware in the backdoor. But you don’t want the antivirus app to slow down the other apps. It’s great if your Internet is safe, but if keeping your Internet safe means it’ll take an hour to load a web page, it’s hardly worth it.

Finally, there is going to be some subjectivity. Different apps may offer features that others do not, and it’s impossible to perfectly score each app on the same things. Some people may prefer added features at the cost of usability, and some might not. Some may prefer user-friendly interfaces, and some may prefer higher levels of security, even if it grants them less control. At the end of the day, it’s best to do as much research as you can into how testers tested the apps they’re recommending.