21
Sep
hi-124-12

Kaspersky, a huge name in computer security, not only protects your home and office computers, but your Android device as well. Kaspersky Mobile Security, now in its 9th revision, is a robust app packing anti-virus, anti-malware, call blocking, and theft/loss protection into one lightweight package.

At A Glance

Kaspersky's security solution for Android comes in a relatively lightweight app, costing only 1.5MB in storage. The app's loss/theft protection relies totally on SMS commands, meaning your phone is still protected even if data is turned off. Personally, I always like to see an online interface option, because it makes using the app that much easier in case you've lost your handset and don't have someone with a cell phone handy to send commands to your device. That being said, Kaspersky has put quite a few useful features into its app that are worth looking at a little bit closer before committing to it as your primary mobile security solution.

Features

First up on the list of features is Anti-Virus protection. Kaspersky allows the user to scan all apps and files on their device and decide how the app handles threats. The app also offers real time protection, which scans all incoming apps and files for threats and can automatically delete any security issues that are found.

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Next is an interesting set of features grouped under the label "Privacy Protection." This essentially allows the user to hide personal information remotely. The user can also select which information is hidden (contacts, SMS logs, incoming calls and texts, etc.).

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Kaspersky's Anti-theft offers many of the same features we've seen before - Lock (which Kaspersky inexplicably calls "Block"), Data Wipe, SIM Watch, and GPS Find. The Block feature essentially locks the screen and accepts only your "secret code" to unlock. The user can also customize a message to be displayed on the lock screen.

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The Data Wipe feature is essentially the same as any we've seen before, deleting personal user information from the device. It, like all other anti-theft features, sends back an SMS confirmation that the command went through. As for the SIM watch, this is a simple operation as well, notifying you if your phone's SIM card has been changed and giving you the new number to which you can send SMS commands. The user can set up both an email address and a phone number to receive such notifications. Interestingly, users can also cause the phone to automatically lock when the SIM card is changed.

Finally we have the GPS Find feature, which sends you an email containing a Google Maps link and coordinates of your lost or stolen device.

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The last feature Kaspersky Mobile Security offers is a set of tools related to call and SMS blocking. Kaspersky enables the user to add contacts to a "black list" and a "white list," each of which can be managed according to their own set of rules, chosen by the user.

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It's worth mentioning that Kaspersky has also included a homescreen widget which can display the status of each of its security features, and the app itself is protected by your "secret code" which must be entered each time the app is open.

Final Thoughts

Kaspersky Mobile Security for Android is a reasonable security solution to protect your Android device, but it has a few key shortcomings that don't justify its $9.95 price tag in my opinion. Its sophisticated call and SMS filtering options and clean interface are appealing, but its lack of tablet loss/theft security (the current tablet offering is nothing more than an anti-virus/anti-malware solution), online interface, and root presence make it less than perfect.

Pros

  • Trial Functionality - Kaspersky offers 30-day trial licenses of its mobile security software on its website, giving users the chance to fully explore all of its features.
  • Interface/Ease of Use - The app has a clean, smooth interface. While the descriptions of its controls are less than intuitive, the controls themselves are easy to use and features are all presented in a neat manner.
  • No Data Needed - Since the app relies on SMS commands, your device can be controlled remotely without a data connection.

Cons

  • No Online Interface - This is a personal preference, but utilizing an online interface allows for easy handling of multiple devices, easy dispersal of remote commands, and an even better user experience.
  • No Root Support - This app, like many, lacks root presence, meaning it will be done for if a thief wipes your device before you can find another cellular from which to lock the device remotely.
  • No Loss/Theft Protection for Tablets - Again, this app is controlled by SMS, which inherently means that tablets cannot be remotely controlled using the same app. 

All in all Kaspersky has offered up a useful app that deftly performs the tasks it sets out for.  It's compact, easy to use, and looks good, but the features are - for the most part - nothing new and it is lacking a few key ingredients that could take it to the next level. Still, with a 30-day free trial, it is worth looking at.

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

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