As an increasingly large number of users are starting to embrace mobile as their primary platform for almost all day-to-day computing tasks, many new security threats emerge. According to research by Pulse Secure, a provider of access control and mobile device security, as much as 97 percent of all mobile malware targets the Android operating system. The reason is quite simple: the open nature of Android makes it very easy for technology enthusiasts to customize their device to their liking and explore its inner workings, but it also gives malicious hackers many ways how to exploit the system and users.
Another security company, G DATA, chronicled 440,267 new malware files in just the first quarter of 2015. That’s almost 4,900 new Android malware files being released every day. These alarming numbers should encourage users to think twice about their security habits and consider installing a mobile security software. Such software can not only help you defend from all kinds of malware, but it can also discover weaknesses in your smartphone configuration and recommend solutions.
We have selected what we consider to be 4 best antivirus and mobile security apps for Android devices available on Play Store. No matter which app you install, you will greatly improve your overall security and make it much harder for hackers and malware to get hold of your personal information or cause damage.
With over 200 million downloads and almost 10 million 5-star ratings, 360 Security is a very impressive mobile security package that goes way beyond viruses. The app is designed from the ground up to help your smartphone perform better and be safe from all existing and future malware.
That’s why it integrates a powerful Junk File Cleaner that can delete file duplicates, old and unused system data, and application cache. It takes just a short while to run it but the improvement can be felt instantly. Your smartphone will likely boot faster and feel more responsive because your smartphone doesn’t need to process so many files.
The intelligent Power Saver effectively solves the biggest problem of all smartphone users: short battery life. You can configure it to switch off useless services and features, such a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, depending on where you are, what time of the day it is, and what are you doing with your phone.
The last smartphone optimization feature is the built-in Memory Boost. Even though this feature was much more useful in the older days when the Android operating system did a relatively poor job when it comes to RAM management, it still has its place even today. By placing a quick shortcut on your homescreen, you can close all running applications with just a single click, instead of shutting them down one by one. That’s something that all gamers will certainly appreciate.
With all the extra features behind us, we can finally get to the core of 360 Mobile Security. The real-time anti-malware scanner scans all APK files and monitors active processes to ensure that no malicious application can execute its code. 360 Mobile Security also give you the ability to lock certain application, so that nobody can access your private files in case your device falls into the wrong hands. However, if you do lose your device, you have a good chance of getting it back, thanks to the Find My Phone feature. It uses your smartphone’s GPS to pinpoint where exactly your device is. A nice extra feature is the Call and SMS Filter, which is built directly into the app itself.
As you can see, there’s a very good reason why the 360 Mobile Security is regarded as the best Android security software currently available. Probably the only downside that comes to mind is the fact that it can feel a bit too bloated. If you, indeed, feel that way, continue reading to find out what other apps have to offer.
Headquartered in Bratislava, Slovakia, ESET operates from 1992, when it was founded Miroslav Trnka, Peter Paško, and Rudolf Hrubý. They have since then established offices all around the world and became the security software solution of choice for millions of home users and countless business. They are known for their professional approach and a proven track record of reliability and trustworthiness.
These values extend also to their mobile security application, which is rated at 4.6 stars by a total of more than 350,000 users. What’s behind this success? A comprehensive set of features and excellent performance offered even by the Free version. ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus is one of a few security solutions for Android with 100% detection rate, according to testing performed by AV-Test in 2015. Not only does the app automatically scan for malware and malicious activity, it can also perform on-demand scanning and secure the device in case of a theft by SMS commands – all from a table-friendly interface that takes only a very little time getting used to.
Customers who purchase the Premium version get to enjoy the Proactive Anti-Theft functionality, which notifies users of suspicious activity a long time before any actual damage can occur. This is especially useful in conjunction with ESET’s phishing protection. You won’t have to worry about having your private information stolen while online shopping or checking your bank account. The same pro-active approach extends also to application scanning and deep Application Audio. Knowledgeable users can use it determine which applications have a bit more access than they would need and decide whether it wouldn’t be best to completely uninstall them and replace them with some security-conscious alternative.
Extra features of ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus include SMS and Call Blocking and low battery alerts. The latter feature solves the unfortunate situation when your battery runs on and you don’t know where your phone is. Normally, you would just have someone call your number and locate the device by sound, but that’s not an option with a dead battery. The Low Battery feature sends the current location of the device to my.eset.com when it hits critical battery level.
ESET also offers Cybersecurity Training online classes, which teach essential tips for making any mobile online experience safe. This goes to show that the company is really committed to helping people protect their private information and not just make a profit.
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware captured the attention of countless users who fell in love with the simple-to-use and performance-efficient desktop version. The mobile alternative sticks with the proven formula and gives all smartphone and tablet users a great way how to secure their devices without having to spend a long time learning how the app functions and what it can do.
Where other anti-malware solutions take a more holistic approach to security and try to provide users with as much functionality as they can, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Mobile keeps things simple and focuses only on security. The core of the application is an effective anti-malware scanner that scans apps for malicious code or Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs). It knows about everything that’s going on in your phone and can warn you in a timely manner in case you receive a message that contains malicious code. Your personal information is protected with the help of a capable malware and unauthorized surveillance guard features, which provides identity and personal data protection on-the-go.
Powerusers will surely appreciate the ability to perform a deep security audit of all installed applications in order to find out what permission each application has. This is something that would normally require a third-party application, so it’s great to have it integrated directly into the mobile security application. Users with less experience will benefit from Malwarebytes’s ability to automatically recognize security vulnerabilities and recommend how to close them to prevent anyone from exploiting them.
Of course, the worst case scenario may, indeed, become a reality, and it’s important to be prepared how to act. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Mobile features a remote lock functionality and the ability to locate the device on a map. This way, you always have a few tricks up your sleeve and are not left dead in the water. Overall, this application is great for those who would prefer a simpler, lighter security solution that does one thing and does it very well.
Mobile security requires a certain effort from users themselves. Just installing an application and letting it run in the background isn’t enough. You also need to develop sound safety habits and stick with them no matter what. That being said, a good mobile security software is an excellent starting point and a way how to make it much more difficult for hackers to cause you any harm.