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Current best security apps/suites for Android

Posted on 2016-08-11
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Last Modified: 2016-09-03
My Norton subscription is about to expire.  I'm considering changing security software on my (Marshmallow) Android.  Any suggestions?  Any anti-suggestions?

I want real-time protection for web browsing (preferably for more browsers than Chrome and the stock Android browser, ideally UC Browser), the ability to scan my microSD card, and a good program that will allow me to retrieve a lost phone (photos, siren, GPS) and wipe the phone and SD card remotely, if need be.  I'm sure there's a lot more that I would want if I knew more, so feel free to add requirements.

I'm not married to the idea of using a single program for all of these functions.  Also, my phone is NOT rooted.  I expect that I will root it sometime in the next year.

Incidentally, I tried Where's My Droid, and it totally messed up my phone.  I've seen worse mess-ups, but I wouldn't even consider that program (unless my using Norton at the same time was the cause of the problems).

I'll check back in a few days to see what y'experts think.  Go!
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Question by:LostInLG
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by:
Jackie Man earned 167 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41753299
I have tried the following paid and free security software  for my Android phones.

1. Norton Mobile Security (paid)
2. F-Secure Mobile Security (paid)
3. McAfee Mobile Security (paid)
4. Lookout Mobile Security (free)

None of the above can allow you to retrieve a lost phone (photos, siren, GPS) and wipe the phone and SD card remotely as the one who gets hold of your lost phone will stop all network connections by disable WiFi and get out your SIM card and microSD card immediately and connect your phone to a computer to make a copy of your data before wiping your phone for reuse or resell.

Unless you have encrypted both your internal storage and micro SD card before you start to use a phone, it is not possible to prevent other to get hold of your data.

Real-time protection for web browsing (preferably for more browsers than Chrome and the stock Android browser, ideally UC Browser) and the ability to scan my microSD card are basic features of any Mobile Security software.

Finally, "also, my phone is NOT rooted.  I expect that I will root it sometime in the next year.", only root your phone if you no longer need your phone as you will easily turn your phone into a brick or create a backdoor for the hackers.

Please state your designated use for a rooted phone before I can give you further advice,

If I were you, I am sure that there is no best for paid security software for Android phone. There is only mobile security app which will suit your needs.

In order to access your situation, please give detailed spec of your phone, your Internet experience and the usage of your phone and whether you are adventurous to try all .apk files not from Google Play Store.
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by:btan
btan earned 333 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41754063
It is still best managed by MDM and MAM which is Enterprise device where the latter can contain mobile apps for BYOD use case. For Android, and specifically for Samsung, it will be good to explore KNOX as it comes natively supported but for newer model https://www2.samsungknox.com/en/blog/android-work-hardened-knox-samsung-device

Other candidate include
Malwarebytes Anti Malware Mobile
• Detects and eliminates malware, including spyware and Trojans
• Scans your apps for malicious code or Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs)
• Alerts you if a link to a malicious website is detected in an incoming text message (SMS).
• Scans your Android device for security vulnerabilities
• Identifies applications that are tracking your location
Dr.Web Security Space Life
•      Using the unique Origins Tracing™ technology, detects new, unknown malware.
•      Protects SD cards from becoming infected with autorun files and Exploit.Cpllnk, both of which may be dangerous for Windows-running devices.
•      Avoid unwanted calls and SMS messages. - Filtering mode selection, lets you create your own filtering profiles, Blacklist editing, Displays information about blocked calls and messages.
•      Cloud Checker filter - Restrict access to undesirable Internet sites. Block access to non-recommended or potentially dangerous sites according to several categories (drugs, violence, etc.).
•      Security Auditor - Troubleshoots the device to identify security problems and offers solutions to address them.
•      Remove ransomware lockers -  Unlock a device compromised by locker ransomware, terminates malicious processes even on locked devices, neutralises lockers that are not yet present in the Dr.Web virus database, preserves data; no ransom needs to be paid to hackers.
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Author Comment

by:LostInLG
ID: 41756456
Jackie Man:

As usual, you can be counted on for a comprehensive answer.  Thanks.  My responses are below in bold.


I have tried the following paid and free security software  for my Android phones.

1. Norton Mobile Security (paid)
2. F-Secure Mobile Security (paid)
3. McAfee Mobile Security (paid)
4. Lookout Mobile Security (free)

None of the above can allow you to retrieve a lost phone (photos, siren, GPS) and wipe the phone and SD card remotely as the one who gets hold of your lost phone will stop all network connections by disable WiFi and get out your SIM card and microSD card immediately and connect your phone to a computer to make a copy of your data before wiping your phone for reuse or resell.

You are assuming a worst-case scenario.  I think it's far more probable that I just lose the phone, and I discover this in time to get it back or wipe the phone.  (I have, however, heard disturbing things about the ability of data to survive even multiple overwrites on flash media.)

Unless you have encrypted both your internal storage and micro SD card before you start to use a phone, it is not possible to prevent other to get hold of your data.

Good point.  This solution isn't without its own problems.  It means an end to using the microSD card to transfer files with my PC and, I assume, using the PC to scan and repair the card's file system.  Also, I'm betting that encrypting everthing will increase the probability of a total system failure, forcing me to wipe and reinstall everthing more frequently than I do now.

Real-time protection for web browsing (preferably for more browsers than Chrome and the stock Android browser, ideally UC Browser) and the ability to scan my microSD card are basic features of any Mobile Security software.

No, it's not.  Norton specifically says on some settings page that only the stock Android web browser and Chrome are covered.  I read up on these kinds of apps about 3 years ago, and that same caveat came up quite a few times.  I was hoping that things had changed by now.

Finally, "also, my phone is NOT rooted.  I expect that I will root it sometime in the next year.", only root your phone if you no longer need your phone as you will easily turn your phone into a brick or create a backdoor for the hackers.

Please state your designated use for a rooted phone before I can give you further advice,

My phone suffers from low volume.  I want to fix that, and I'll be surprised if rooting isn't required to fix that.  I also used to use Avast as my security app.  It had a bunch of firewall settings that were greyed out to non-rooted phones/users; so, I thought I might actually be able to increase security by rooting.  Finally, I want to move more apps from my very crowded internal memory to my wide-open microSD card.

If I were you, I am sure that there is no best for paid security software for Android phone. There is only mobile security app which will suit your needs.

OK.  So this is the basic answer.  I'm going to have to go and read detailed reviews of, like, the top ten packages.  Then, decide based on features, not on slight differences in malware detection rates and the like.  I was hoping that there was a no-brainer answer, like, "You want to do a web search?  Use Google."  No such luck.

In order to access your situation, please give detailed spec of your phone, your Internet experience and the usage of your phone and whether you are adventurous to try all .apk files not from Google Play Store.

LG G Stylo (metroPCS version, MS631), Marshmallow.  I travel to the occasional potentially-shady web site.  Usage of my phone:  I don't understand the question.  I think I have exactly one app on the phone that I didn't get from Play or Amazon.


Any more thoughts, or should I wrap this up?
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Author Comment

by:LostInLG
ID: 41756469
btan:

Thanks for your comment.  

The Samsung Knox thing looks interesting, but I don't have a Samsung phone.  I'll give a good look at Malwarebytes.  Maybe I'll look at Dr. Web, too.
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by:btan
btan earned 333 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41756510
Sure no worries, the KNOX concept is no different from the MDM/MAM, just that it is native into the firmware for Samsung phone which in most compnaies deploying that may be a preferred straightforward use case for choice of MDM/MAM
It means an end to using the microSD card to transfer files with my PC and, I assume, using the PC to scan and repair the card's file system.  Also, I'm betting that encrypting everthing will increase the probability of a total system failure, forcing me to wipe and reinstall everthing more frequently than I do now.
In fact, for end to end data confidentiality, there is need to ensure storage does this level of protection but you are right in a way you need to rebuild if it is corrupted or tampered whereby the backup recovery is important as my experience is though these are the operational fatigue but such media is easily lost and in event they are not recoverable or found, the data can still be retained to deter unauthorised intrusion on data theft.
I travel to the occasional potentially-shady web site.  Usage of my phone:  I don't understand the question.  I think I have exactly one app on the phone that I didn't get from Play or Amazon.
If you do go for unknown source for getting apps that its self is already exposed to threat of infection as AV may not be the line of defense hence preventive measure to measure the apps risk can be considered to do the inspection of appls like a mobile IDS from Zimperium’s zIPS - Leverages machine learning to analyze deviations to device behavior and make determinations about indicators of compromise to accurately identify specific types of attacks and classify zero-day attacks.
https://www.zimperium.com/zips-mobile-ips
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LVL 61

Expert Comment

by:btan
ID: 41782769
Provide the list of appl as per requested and adequate to address the use case.
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