Playing With Privacy: Free AntiVirus Apps Are Doing Your Device More Harm Than The Viruses Themselves

You may have come across the popular saying that nothing comes free in life and that appears to be the same situation for anti-virus apps too.

New reports have gone as far as suggesting how free-of-cost antivirus apps that are designed to rid your smartphone of malware are actually doing more harm than good.

These and other cleaning apps are actually designed to put your privacy at risk while ridding your phone of security at the same time. In fact, if you had avoided taking on such apps in the first place, you’d probably be in better shape.

Did you know that plenty of these apps actually come with in-built data trackers, coupled with links that guide users to harmful domains? But which apps are included in this list? Well, it’s all thanks to Cybernews who conducted an analysis that highlighted which apps fall into this category and which don’t.

According to them, there are at least 40 of them, and believe it or not, they fall under the most downloaded category too. But wait, the worst news is that the apps don’t give the benefits that they’re outlined to provide or even live up to their own high expectations.

On average, the apps were recorded as having more than 918 million downloads and some of the famous ones go as far as having a record one million downloads each.

But why are users so keen on installing these apps in the first place?

Well, most Android users feel more secure when having another special app in place that guarantees their phone is free from malware. Similarly, many of them want their devices running at the speed of light by ridding junk files. To be more specific, those that aren’t as tech-savvy are more likely to be the ones to fall into the trap as they want things done simply and quickly.

Little do these people know that it’s not that simple. There are hidden costs attached in the form of data getting tracked and in some cases, it gets sold or controlled insecurely due to the privacy protocols in place.

Common red flags worth a glance

At least 13 different applications were considered to be a massive invasion of privacy, scoring shockingly low numbers, thanks to their bizarre coding practices. On the other hand, the media outlet Cybernews found 6 of the apps to have links leading to malicious domains and that includes users having their devices hacked.

When it came down to the worst apps, Keep Clean Cleaner scored the worst in terms of bad applications. Another point that’s worth a mention is how almost all of the apps had trackers. Some had more than others like Nova Security which included about 30 in total.

Remember, the important thing to learn here is that just because something comes for free doesn’t mean there are no strings attached. You can’t risk your privacy and security in matters like these. So, what’s the best way to beat the situation?

Well, experts believe the time has come to take matters into your own hands and stop blindly following others. Do your own research by going through reviews or analyzing ratings. But remember that if something has a large number of downloads, it doesn’t always mean that it’s going to be legit like in this case.

Read next: New fraud emails plague verified accounts on Twitter, user accounts may be in danger
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