Gallery: Android security software: Unique features of five popular apps
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Malware is everywhere
The bigger the market share the bigger the target, and that means Android is ripe for malware. Add an app store without much vetting and you have a bad situation on your hands.
There are a lot of antivirus apps available for Android, and like everything in the Google Play store, caution is required. Antivirus apps need lots of access to your phone, so make sure you completely trust whatever you choose to install.
If you’re wondering which apps you can trust take a look at these five and some of the features that make them unique.
AVG AntiVirus FREE
The interface isn’t the most intuitive, though, and it also suffers from ad placement in the pullout drawer that looks identical to AVG’s actual buttons. If you’re like me you’ve probably hit a wrong button once or twice and had to deal with closing out windows and apps to get back to where you were–it’s a frustrating design choice.
Perhaps the best reason to try AVG is the free 30 day premium trial. You can test out all the different features to see if the app is for you before deciding to spend $12 for a year of security or $3 a month.
Check out AVG AntiVirus FREE on Google Play.
Kaspersky Internet Security
Kaspersky’s mobile security offering is pretty bare bones for free users. It won’t allow you to schedule scans, there’s no real-time protection, privacy and web protection are turned off, and anti-phishing is disabled as well. The only thing you’ll get out of it is the ability to scan your device on demand.
You’ll need to pay $14.95 for a year of security, but there is a way to get a 31-day pro license that the app doesn’t advertise very well. Tap on one of the restricted features to see what you’re missing, and then tap on the speech bubble in the upper right hand corner. A Try For Free option comes up, which will grant you a full license for one month.
Check out Kaspersky Internet Security on Google Play.
Most antivirus apps for Android come with the same standard features implemented in different ways. CM Security does one better with its secure browser built right into the app. The browser automatically scans sites that you connect to, checking for background app execution, scripts, and other potentially dangerous elements.
ESET mobile security
Like the other apps mentioned here, ESET Mobile Security has the standard suite of protection options. ESET also has two standout features: a security audit and SMS anti-theft commands.
The security audit checks your device for settings that could cause problems and apps that could be security risks. Device settings are listed in an easy-to-understand way, and tapping a field will take you right to Settings so you can change it.
Apps are audited based on whether they use location services, read identity info, access your messages, or access contacts. Tapping the app in the list of offenders will take you to the Settings app so you can alter permissions.
ESET mobile security
SMS text commands allow you to lock your phone, activate an alarm, get its GPS location, or even wipe the device from any other phone that can text your number. It’s password protected, so you don’t need to worry about someone prank-wiping your device unless you used an easily cracked password.
You can also grant password reset privileges to a friend or family member. They’ll just need to send a simple text command to your phone in order to reset your ESET password.
Check out ESET Mobile Security on Google Play.
Avast Mobile Security And Antivirus
Avast also features a built-in app install shield and web browsing protection. One of the nicer features about the web shield is that it can work in Chrome. Other apps that offer active browsing protection exclude Chrome despite it being the overwhelming favorite on Android.
Anti-theft features aren’t part of Avast Mobile Security And Antivirus, unfortunately. Avast has split its Anti-Theft options into a second app, which is really the only downside of its mobile security offering.
Check out Avast Mobile Security And Antivirus on Google Play.
Which app is best for you?
With Android malware becoming more and more common you definitely need to protect your device. Which app you choose is ultimately up to you, but be sure you take the time to investigate an app before you install it. You’re not just looking at features–you also need to be sure the app you’re interested in isn’t malware itself.
For those concerned with general device protection I recommend Avast Mobile Security And Antivirus for its ease of use, robust features, and lack of a paywall between you and real protection.
If you’re on the road a lot and are worried about losing your device ESET may be your best option. With remote wiping as simple as sending a text message you can’t get much more secure.
Do you have your own favorite Android antivirus app? Clue your fellow readers into the best in our comment section!