Even though only about 150 Android malware reach the Google Play Store out of an estimated 50,000 within three months, this is still a high number that requires the use of an antivirus. They are spread usually through third parties, often coming out of Russia and China.
There are several antivirus and security products for use with Android some free and others cheap, some are good and others are poor performers. This is a round-up of some of the best antivirus apps.
Avast Mobile Security
This is one of the best protective products for android devices. It has an anti-virus component , various security tools,, a privacy scanner, an app manager, a web shield that scans each URL with warnings of any known malware-infected web site. Avast also has a firewall for rooted devices as well as a USSD blocker that stops any dangerous commands.
Avast also has antitheft features such as siren activation, phone locking and history wipe. This is possible through SMS. It is easy to use Avast and for protection, it runs checking any malware that crept before running it and then switch to real time, detecting attacks as they happen.
This app originated from Windows and the PC. For Android users it comes the free app and a premium PRO versions. Users need to start the first scan manually, showing red warning indicators until you run it. The first run will indicate that the phone is set to accept apps from external sources, when and playstore is installed. This is a risk, though minimal, and ticking ‘ignore this threat’ removes the warning.
AVG also has a task killer, a battery optimizer real time protection from unsafe websites as well as antitheft and phone location services. The free version has 14 days of access to the PRO features, including an App Locker (blocks app launches, unless with a password entry) and back up of the phone’s apps to the SD card.
BitDefender Mobile Security & AntiVirus
This is a free down load app, but with a caveat to sign in either with a Bitdefender or a gmail account.
It requests users to do a full scan on signing . This checks all the installed apps and files on the phone’s storage memory. After the scan, the real time scanning remains active even if the warning on running the first scan does not disappear.
Bit defender comes with 14 days of free access to PRO features such as real time web browsing protection and anti-theft services. Premium users pay $9.95 annually (unlike others charging a one-time fee).
Dr. Web AntiVirus
Dr.Web is a free antivirus that does not provide extra security functions. On installation, the first run or switching to real time protection has to be done manually. Users do this by updating the virus definitions, start scanning and activate ‘SpiDer Guard’ after which it behaves just as much as AVG and Avast! when running real time app installation scanning. However Dr.Web has a full anti-theft, and anti-spam and URL checking, useful for blocking potentially dangerous websites. This app cost about $13 per a year.
Ikarus Mobile Security
Ikarus is a new entrant made by IKARUS, an Austrian company. On installation, it auto updates its virus database and scans the device. Real time app installation is activated after the scan is completed. This program has got a USSD blocker, capable of scheduling periodic (daily, after some days, weekend etc.) scans.
Its full version, IKARUS mobile security 2013, has anti-theft, phone location and SMS blacklisting features. It however does not have real time web URL checking or privacy advisor, and it comes quite expensively at $26.
Kaspersky Mobile Security
This app has a free version, Kaspersky Mobile Security Lite and Kaspersky Full Mobile Security App. For the full version, users can add a SIM watch option in the anti-theft protector to activate different commands. To do so, users need a defined security code for use by some features, e g anti-theft protector.
Real time scanning of newly installed apps is updated by default since there is no option to perform a scan. Having been ranked 4th in av-test.org, Karspersky’s Lite version works almost the same way as the full version in malware detection but with limited security features.
NQ Mobile Security & Antivirus
NQ Mobile is a free software but users can upgrade to Premium version. On installation, it checks up the system which includes scanning the installed apps and downloading the current virus information. Real time protection activates automatically, including blocking damaging URL. For online features such as contact-back up, users need an account at nq.com. For $19.99 a year, this app enables anti-theft functions such as sounding alarms, location and locking of lost phones as well as protection from eavesdropping software (this detects any spy ware on phones).
Lookout Security and Antivirus
Look out is also free but with the option of upgrading to the premium version. Users upgrade to the Lookout Premium at $2.99 per month. On startup, users sign into their lookout.com (can create one if without) and various screens showing the difference between the two versions show and then get to the app itself which auto scans existing apps and any missing device services.
Any installing applications are protected automatically, real time. Users can back up their contacts at lookout.com too. An interesting feature with lookout.com is Signal Flare: It saves a device’s location before it goes off on low battery charge!
With the free version of Lookout, users lack URL blocking, privacy advisor, remote lock and remote wipe as well as transfer of photos and call history to other devices through lookout.com. However lookout.com is surprisingly easy to use and Android users should try it.
Zoner Mobile Security
This app has both free and paid versions. It offers unique choices on the first run that include device scan and enabling phone filtering. Filtering allows users to block calls and messages from specified numbers.
Real time scanning of installed apps is done once the device scan is finished, and a display of any settings needing the user’s attention is shown – like any configurations needed eg missing device services (this is new together with SIM protection).
This app also allows users to send encrypted messages to other people, and who also need to have Zoner Antivirus installed. Messages are encrypted using a password that will also be used to decrypt the message by the recipient.
Zoner Mobile Security is the paid up version and detects Ads, backs up and restores SMS and call logs.
Other great apps
There are many other credible Android anti-virus and security. Users could also check out on the following.
MYAndroid Protection Security
This is a premium application, payable annually. It is comprehensive, offering antivirus and theft and app backup. Other features include credit card and identity theft protection.
F-Secure Mobile Security
This app does not have a free version. It offers numerous security options – anti-theft, browsing protection features, parental control (against harmful web content to children) and safe contacts (manages unwelcome calls and messages).
This app has a seven-day free trial after which users pay for an upgrade. In addition to antivirus scanning, it has anti-theft, call blocking and safe web surfing. Users also enjoy uninstall protection where other people can’t uninstall and gain unauthorized access to a device.
Users requiring free apps can go with avast! since its free and offers more to antivirus features. As for paid up apps, AVG or Lookout would be good bets to try. With the improvements in Zoner, its competitive edge has gone up too. Android users, you have choices to pick from! All the best.