You are never 100% safe from cyber attacks, no matter how careful you are. From malware to viruses to breakthroughs, the best thing you can do is take precautions to reduce your risk.

You may think that it is easy to find a hacker on your phone. It is not. The longer the hack goes unnoticed, the more damage it can cause. Tap or click here to learn about the signs that your phone is under attack.

Your first line of defense is an antivirus program. While it’s easy to turn to the countless free apps you can find online, remember that nothing is really free. Keep reading to find out why free antivirus applications are a terrible idea and a solution to protect all your devices.

Tracking, not protection

Researchers from Cybernews Take a look at the top 40 cleaning and antivirus apps in the Google Play Store. In total, these applications have been downloaded nearly a billion times. Yep!

You would think that the most popular applications would be the best options. If so, you are wrong.

Here are the three worst offenders by number of trackers:

  • New Security – Cleaning viruses: 30 trackers
  • Fancy Booster – Cleanup, antivirus and acceleration: 23 trackers
  • Antivirus, virus cleaner, amplifier – fantastic security: 23 trackers

Super antivirus and Virtual security were the only applications that were found to be completely tracker-free.

CONNECTED: Check your phone – Antivirus applications caught catching banking malware

Test failure

Mobile security framework (MobSF) is a mobile application that tests, analyzes and evaluates the level of security and vulnerability of applications for Android, iOS and Windows. Cybernews has compiled a list of applications based on MobSF’s security rating, ranging from zero to 100.

The three lowest MobSF scores on the list were as follows:

  • Intelligent detergent: 15
  • Nova Security – Clean up viruses: 10
  • Secure security – antivirus program, booster, phone cleaning: 9

MobSF’s top three scores were better, but not yet great:

  • Keep clean, antivirus: 54
  • Fancy Booster – Cleanup, antivirus and acceleration: 46
  • Clean Guard Phone Cleaner: 41

High risk

The report shows that six of the applications contain “probably malicious links” that can be used to steal your personal information, bank credentials and more.

Malicious links were found in the following applications:

  • Dr.Capsule Antivirus, Cleaner: Three malicious connections
  • GO Security – Antivirus, AppLock, Booster: Two malicious connections
  • Virus Hunter 2021 Virus Scanner and Phone Cleaner: Two malicious connections
  • AVC Antivirus & Virus Cleaner: A malicious connection
  • Fancy Booster – Cleanup, antivirus and acceleration: A malicious connection
  • Telephone garbage – Clean Master: A malicious connection

Free of charge

In addition to tracking you, antivirus applications that are advertised as free more often compensate for this by other means:

  • The no-cost angle is just an introduction. Do you want better protection? Break your wallet.
  • An antivirus application may not cost you money, but it will cost you privacy when it sells your data.
  • Some free antivirus programs offer little or no protection.
  • Low quality applications have bad or malicious encoding, which can do more harm than good.

CONNECTED: Antivirus is not just for your computer – That’s why you need to protect your smartphone

Delete violators

If you have installed any of the antivirus applications mentioned in the study, or others that you received for free, you should get rid of them now. This is how:

  • Open up Google Play Store ap.
  • Tap at the top right Profile icon.
  • Tap Manage applications and devices > Manage.
  • Touch the name of the application you want to delete.
  • Tap Uninstall.

Get protection now with TotalAV

An antivirus solution is essential, but you don’t have to look good. We recommend our sponsor, TotalAV.

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You may like more: Delete these applications to keep your phone fast and secure

These free antivirus and cleaning apps are putting your phone at risk – Delete them now

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