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Mobile Security for Android phones.

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With the proliferation of Android devices on the market today, it was inevitable that malicious types would want to start exploiting the openness of the platform. Luckily however, there are a few options when it comes to mobile security.
Starting with the basics:

Anti-virus

Antivirus will scan your memory, texts and applications for viruses and malware. It can be set up on a schedule be it weekly, daily or monthly. All basic Mobile security applications will have this in both free and paid (where applicable) versions. Some apps will also provide antivirus as a 'real-time' protection for free, others require the premium version for this function.

Apps that provide antivirus:
Avast! Mobile Security, AVG Antivirus Free, Lookout Mobile Security, Norton Security and Antivirus, AVG Anti-virus Pro, Kaspersky Mobile Security 9, Lookout Premium, McAfee Mobile Security.

Firewall

Relatively few security apps are providing a firewall for mobile devices. Avast! is notable in that it allows you to enable a firewall based on either a 'deny all' model or an 'allow all' model. You can then choose which applications to either allow or deny access to data or WiFi networks. It can also allow or deny based on connection type. For example, you could allow access for dropbox on WiFi but deny it on mobile data to limit mobile data downloads.

Apps providing a firewall:
Avast!, Droidwall, Root Firewall Free.

Privacy advisor

A privacy advisor will pop up a message informing you of what the application is asking access to. From there you can decide whether the app really needs access to make phone calls for example. Very handy when installing a suspect application from a non-Google source.

Apps providing Privacy advisor:
Avast!, AVG Anti-virus Pro, Lookout Premium.

App management

Application management is basically a third-party method of managing apps. As android already provides for this, the majority of Mobile Security apps don't bother providing it. They generally also won't allow un-installation of apps, only the usual force close function.

Apps providing App Management:
Avast!, AVG Anti-Virus Pro.

Call/sms filter

Exactly what it says. It allows you to blacklist numbers to deny incoming phone calls or text messages. Handy to block those annoying telemarketers.

Apps providing Call/sms filter:
Avast!, Kaspersky Mobile Security 9

Web shield

Web Shield provides you with a real time status when browsing internet sites. It will protect you from phishing and malware websites. Be aware, web shield may only work with the default Android browser, so it may not be of much use to anyone using a browser other than the default.

Apps providing Webshield:
Avast!, AVG Free, AVG Pro, Kaspersky Mobile Security 9, Lookout Premium, McAfee Mobile Security.

Anti-theft

My Favourite, Anti theft! This is a seriously cool function for any phone to have. Anti theft features will usually include at least, a form of locating the device remotely and a way to remotely lock and/or wipe the device. Some of the more sophisticated versions can remotely turn gps on or off, remotely activate a siren, and make silent phone calls back to a predefined number or adhere to certain 'lock' conditions if the sim card is changed. A good anti theft function will also have a web console logon to locate the device and activate lock or wipe features. A very handy way to figure out whether you have left your phone at work, or if it has been stolen.

Apps providing Anti-theft:
All Mobile Security suites provide some form of Anti Theft functions but the heavy hitters are Avast! and Lookout Premium.

Conclusion

With the open source architecture of the Android platform, it makes sense to have some form of Mobile Security application running on your mobile. Whether just having a basic Antivirus or the full Anti Theft package, these apps should be one of the first you install on your new Android phone. I would recommend Avast! Mobile Security. It has all of the features that are required, and best of all, it's free. A lot of the current paid apps don't have as many features. Remember, just because an app is free, doesn't mean that it isn't up to the job.

Links

Avast! Mobile Security
AVG Antivirus Free
Lookout Mobile Security
Norton Security and Antivirus
AVG Anti-virus Pro
Kaspersky Mobile Security 9
Lookout Premium
McAfee Mobile Security
4
Author:Mexile
2 Comments
LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:lherrou
Great article, thanks for the overview. I have clicked "Yes," this article WAS helpful!
0
LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:younghv
I am finally (FINALLY!) about to make the plunge in to the smart phone world and was curious about what kind of protection I would need.

AVAST has been a great product for a long time and I was glad to see your recommendation.

Thank you for the work on this Article. "Yes" vote above.
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