The best antivirus apps and security suites for Android
Putting down roots in Berlin after six years of traveling is a major step for Kris Carlon, who has spent more time living out of a tent lately than sitting at a desk. Kris comes to the AndroidPIT Editorial Team via a lengthy period spent writing on art and culture in Australia and other places he has lived. He joined the Android community while resurfacing in civilization back in 2010 and has never looked back, using technology to replace his actual presence in other people's lives ever since.
Considering the frequency with which we're reporting on malware scams in the Google Play Store, most recently just this morning when a dodgy suite of apps were using WhatsApp to get your phone number and register you for a premium text messaging service, we thought it was about time to drop a list of the best antivirus apps for Android. Here's our five favorites along with a few honorable mentions.
AVG Antivirus is a free application that protects your smartphone in real time from viruses, malicious applications and other spyware. You can review your applications but also your files, settings and more. There's even an option to close apps that are significantly slowing your smartphone down or abusing your battery. Also, if you lose your device, you can block or delete your information and locate your device via Google Maps.
Norton Security Antivirus is a completely free application that removes malware and viruses before they can reach your device, thanks to a meticulous scanning your system and installed applications. You can also scan your SD card to ensure that your data stored there is not compromised. Finally, the application provides the ability to lock your device remotely via SMS in case of loss or theft.
With avast!, it is also possible to perform automatic scans of your installed apps, the contents of your memory card as well as apps that you are about to install. avast! also has SMS/call filtering and blocking and in the case of theft, there's also remote lock and wipe options, GPS tracking, siren alert and even a notification if someone attempts to switch out SIM cards. Other features present include a firewall, web shield and network meter.
In the free version of Lookout, you will find protection against malicious apps, spyware and Trojans. Before installation of new apps, Lookout can perform a rapid analysis to ensure that the app does not contaminate your phone and also that it won't infect your laptop or PC when you connect via Bluetooth or USB. Lookout can also scan your SD card and protects your device in case of theft. But what makes Lookout stand out from the bunch is the ability to backup and restore your smartphone data.
Avira manages all the basics like the others, with protection from malicious apps, malware, viruses and Trojans. You can also track a lost smartphone, remotely lock or wipe it and provide someone who innocently finds your device with a one-button ''report found'' option. Avira scans your apps when you first launch the app, then every time you install a new one or update an existing app but you can start a manual scan anytime you like. Virus definitions are updated regularly over the air. You can also block bothersome numbers from calling or texting you.
Special mentions should also go out to Dr Web, who recently discovered the self-replicating malware affecting over 300,000 smartphones and Panda Security who uncovered the premium SMS service scam that piggybacked on WhatsApp.