If you’re keeping up with the news, you know that the need to keep your data safe on the internet is extremely important. For most of us, this translates to being careful about the sites we visit, knowing what the popular malware scams look like, and most of all having up-to-date antivirus software monitoring our PCs at all times. Few things are as scary as your personal information being in the hands of strangers.
However, there may be one hole in our defenses that we’ve overlooked until now, and that is our Android smart phones. Few people are even aware that Android antivirus software exists. Android antivirus apps are not well-known on the market, and many users rely on Google’s promises of safety. Of course, in time, any system can be broken into and exploited. With a little preparation and some key Android antivirus software, your phone won’t be one of them.
There are lots of free Android antivirus apps available through the Android market or Google Play. Right now, the foremost amongst them is Lookout Mobile Security, for versions 1.5 and up. It has some of the best virus & malware protection out there (in fact, sometimes their security bulletins beat Google to the punch at detecting malicious apps), and several other features such as the option to back up & restore contacts and the ability to locate a lost phone by activating a siren through the web. It’s also easy on battery life.
However, some people are looking for Android antivirus software that offers more comprehensive protection, such as scanning for malicious files and active web protection. One option for these users is Webroot Mobile Security Basic, which supports versions 2.1 and up.
Webroot may ring a bell with veteran PC users who are familiar with their security offerings for Windows. Their Android app is equally impressive, featuring live protection that scans every app each time it’s newly downloaded, installed, or run. It also has an on-demand scanner that will check all apps and files saved to your SD card.
There are also some anti-theft features, such as remotely locking and locating. Webroot also offers constant web protection. Running all these features will drain your battery quickly, however; you will quickly appreciate the ability to turn off features you don’t want to use.
Another familiar company for many PC operators is AVG, makers of the popular free anti-virus software by the same name. Their Android antivirus app is called Anti-Virus Free, and can be used with versions 1.5 and up. It shares quite a few features with Webroot, such as constant monitoring and scanning of apps and web protection. There are also some things unique to Anti-Virus Free, such as the ability to check system settings and warn users about potential security risks.
It can also kill individual tasks, and wipe your SD card or device (locally only, not remotely). Its major flaw is its lack of transparency- when it detects any infected items, it gives you the option to fix them or ignore them without telling you what they are. You also must scan your entire phone every time you run the on-demand scanner, which can take time and battery life.
Android phones are still amongst the safest devices on the market, with very few known attacks and virtually no serious ones. However, the day when we can use our Android phones to pay for many things online is fast approaching. When we reach that point, it’s better to be well-protected in advance than regret not using some simple, free software to keep our info safe!