Avast has just launched its Mobile Security app for Android, integrating the pure power of Theft Aware (see our review) with some amazing new features. If you remember, Avast swallowed up ITAgents, the small company behind Theft Aware, back in September and promised to integrate it with its upcoming software. Even in its beta state, Avast's Mobile Security looks to be a very strong contender among the dozens of other security apps floating around in the Android Market. I dare say it has the potential to overshadow just about all of the apps in our Mobile Security App Shootout.
In the past couple of months, I've covered more than a dozen mobile security apps, carefully weighing the pros and cons of each, and determining their relative values. I've spent time with 17 apps in all, and it's about time to wrap up the series, and tell you, the end user, which apps are your best bet for protecting your Android device(s).
Before I get to the nitty-gritty of which app is best, I think it'd be helpful to review what we've covered so far, to get a clear grasp on each of the solutions we've covered. To save your eyes from pages upon pages of analysis, I've made the following handy table, outlining the various features we've covered, and which apps have what you need.
What happens when Google's open-source program manager Chris DiBona reads one too many false claims about the nature of open source software? He takes to his soapbox on Google+ to put everyone in check.
That's exactly what happened a couple of days ago after DiBona read yet another article pounding the nature of open source, citing that it's "inherently insecure." Like any advocate for a cause would do, DiBona immediately set out to uncover the truth about security in an open source environment, paying particular attention to mobile operating systems, including Android and iOS.
Coming in at number seventeen in our shootout, NetQin Security Pro is a security app that offers a lot more than your average anti-theft protection, even if that means skimping a little on features that may help you recover your lost device.
At A Glance
First, I want to comment on NetQin's design. The app's overall appearance is clean, and relatively well thought out. The main screen gives you access to all the app's main features, and the layout makes it virtually impossible to misstep. Speaking of features, NetQin has plenty of them, including anti-virus, privacy protection, traffic management, and anti-theft options.
Lookout, one of my favorite mobile security apps, received an update today that brings a feature I've wanted since I got my Tab 10.1: tablet support (which, in this case, also includes support for ICS devices). Aside from the malware scanner and backup functionality, one of the most alluring features of Lookout is its find-my-device capability -- a highly useful feature if your device is ever lost or stolen, and a must-have on any tablet.
Since this update was designed with tablet support baked in, it will work on both Wi-Fi only devices and those with cellular data connectivity, providing complete protection regardless of which type of device you own.
According to Kaspersky, seller of the $10 Kaspersky antivirus app for Android, Android viruses are getting worse. Well, not really worse, just different. The latest attack vector comes in the form of malicious QR Codes. When you scan a QR code, your phone turns those funky squares into a URL. Just like any other form of URL obfuscation (eg, shorteners), that URL can go to a naughty place. Said naughty place could give you a virus.
Oh, I'm sorry, are you used to a little more hyperbole in your Android virus stories? ZDNet can help with that: "Hackers using QR codes to push Android malware ...
If you've never heard of Theft Aware, then you're missing out on one of the best anti-loss/theft solutions available for Android. It embeds itself deep into root, hides itself from the app tray, utilizes device administration privileges to the fullest, and basically makes itself undetectable, unremovable, indestructible, and unstoppable. Like I said, it's probably the most solid security app that we've ever seen.
In a blog post today, the makers of Theft Aware, ITAgents, announced that it has been been purchased by popular antivirus software company Avast. Upon first hearing the news, I was extremely worried about Theft Aware's future (we all know what happened to Wave Secure after it was bought my McAfee :S) but after hearing some reassuring words from the one of the devs of the Theft Aware project, I feel much more at ease.
Webroot Software Inc. are the developers behind the popular security solution of the same name for desktops, and have brought the same protection to Android users with Webroot Mobile Security. This app, unlike its desktop counterpart, has features specifically for lost or stolen devices, giving the user the ability to track, lock, and wipe the device remotely from the handy online console.
At A Glance
Webroot Mobile Security has a free version and a paid version coming in at $14.99. The free version is only different in that its features list is more constrained than in the full version. I go back and forth on whether this app is worth the price -- on the one hand there are free apps that do much more for lost and stolen devices; on the other hand, Webroot is a trusted name, and the app comes with antivirus/malware protection and a handful of other features that I haven't seen combined with a security app yet.
Looking to protect your mobile devices as well as it protects your computer, AVG has cooked up Anti-virus, available in free version, or a Pro offering for a one-time payment of $9.99. It's an app that not only helps you locate your lost device, but also protects your phone or tablet in real time by scanning apps, web pages, and settings to be sure you're safe.
At A Glance
AVG's anti-virus/security app comes in a small package but packs a lot of features. It installs easily and goes right to work scanning your apps for malware.
You can easily register your device for remote control and in seconds you'll receive an email with a link to the online console, which is exceedingly easy to use and has a total of just 7 buttons which do everything you could want security-wise.
Lookout Mobile Security, developers of Lookout Security & Antivirus (more commonly known as Lookout) look to stand out in the lineup of Android Security apps, offering a great set of security features that not only find (and control) your phone once it is lost, but protect against apps and web pages that seek to harm your phone from the inside.
At a Glance:
At first blush Lookout already seems impressive. A quick look at its page in the Android market reveals that it is “the #1 Security & Antivirus App for Android,” and that it falls into the “10 million to 50 million downloads” category, meaning the developers must be doing something right.