With their potential to compromise personal data or mess with the performance of phones, malware and corrupted apps remain two of the biggest woes for Android users. The good news is that a variety of antivirus apps are available for the popular platform, offering strong protection against the ever-increasing and continuously-evolving threats. It would hardly be a stretch to say that antivirus apps are the only things that keep Android devices from succumbing to the overwhelming volume of malware on the prowl.
Dissection of an Antivirus
The standard functionality of different antivirus app may be quite similar, but an array of value-adding features end up setting them apart, making the best distinguishable from the rest. The most common criteria for gauging such apps include the following:
Prevents installation of malware and other potentially harmful apps through continuous defense.
Inhibits unauthorized access to the operating system and user network by malicious apps and codes.
Game Mode Protection
Full-screen gaming experience is kept safe from the incessant plague of alerts and notifications.
Designed to scan visited websites, blocking any malicious code detected from being downloaded.
The tool with app management capabilities such as instant scan, uninstallation, back-up, etc.
Remotely locking a stolen or lost device inaccessible, consequently protecting privacy of data.
Thief-proofing the phone by remotely locking or wiping it clean, thus preventing unsolicited access or exploitation of data.
Real-time scanning of permissions and generation of reports showing what information the downloaded apps are trying to access.
Installation Guide/Help Manual
Guiding users through the process of installing and configuring the app on their phone to save them from confusion and resulting frustration.
Continuous improvement in the effectiveness and efficiency of the defense against the constantly multiplying threats.
A friendly team of support staff with technical know-how can be the difference between satisfaction and disappointment.
A factor relevant for those seeking more than just malware protection from the antivirus solution.
We picked up a few antivirus apps from Play Store and tested their potential out against criteria we deemed reasonable for such technology. Summing up and comparing the results from our research in the table below, we’ve tried to present a simple yet comprehensive snapshot of where each app stands.
Avast Mobile Security and Antivirus
There are not many antivirus solutions that can match up to the security capabilities of Avast! Mobile Security & Antivirus. It offers multi-faceted protection against malware, Trojans, phishing attempts and even theft or loss through an arsenal of rich features. These features range from security tools like virus scanner, protector, app manager, Web Shield and firewall to remote lock, memory wipe and phone locator. In simple words, this security offered by Avast! Mobile Security & Antivirus extends beyond the digital world into the real one. The only gripe that we have with the app is that some of its security features are only available on the premium version. The free version is pretty good on its own as well, with all the basic digital protection, but if you are looking to thief-proof your device, then you may want to seriously consider upgrading to the paid version.
Lookout Security & Antivirus
Considered among the top antivirus and security solutions for the Android, Lookout does remarkably well to live up to its reputation. The app offers an all-round protection against various digital threats such as malware, adware spyware, etc., and also guards user data in case of loss or theft. Additional features help locate the phone in case it is lost, or backup data. Naturally, the premium version comes loaded with additional features, ranging from safe browsing and privacy advisor to theft alerts, and remote locking and wiping of device. As for user friendliness, everything from the installation process to the user interface has been kept fairly simple. Lookout Security & Antivirus is undoubtedly an ideal choice of protection for your Android device.
McAfee Mobile Security
Antivirus, anti-privacy, anti-theft – McAfee Mobile Security has it all. The only thing it seems to be missing is a red cape. The app is equipped with the standard security features that one generally expects of such products. The real-time protection does a decent job of keeping the countless variants of malware off the device, whereas Web Shield keeps the online sessions risk-free. The capabilities of the app, however, don’t just stop here. Recognizing the fact that threats haunting Android users are not limited to digital space, McAfee covers real-life threats to user data resulting from phone loss or theft. The remote locking and wiping feature prevents the data from falling into wrong hands, whereas the backup feature helps to ensure that the data is not lost forever. Of course, some of these features are only available on the premium version, which is definitely worth upgrading to.
Kaspersky Internet Security
With the sort of impact that Kaspersky made in the antivirus scene on PCs, a great deal was naturally expected from its mobile offering for the Android. The good news is it doesn’t disappoint at all. You get pretty much everything you expect of an antivirus and security app. There is real-time protection against malware, spyware and adware, online sessions are kept secure, and data privacy is ensured. Furthermore, anti-theft and anti-loss features are there to keep you in control when the unexpected befalls. The absence of firewall did let us down a bit, but there is enough protection on offer to quickly get over that. Unlike the computer version, Kaspersky Internet Security tries and does a decent job of not affecting the performance of the phone too much, leaving us pleasantly surprised and thoroughly impressed.
Norton Mobile Security
Norton is a name we’re all too familiar with. It has been keeping us safe on the PCs for a long time now, but does it manage to deliver the same goods on Android? The answer to that is a tentative yes. The real-time protection and online security is definitely impressive. The app also offers measures against theft and loss, thus extending the protection beyond digital world. However, the real issue that we had with the app was its malware detection rate. To be honest, it isn’t too shabby. But our expectations from the industry veteran were much higher than what we witnessed, leaving us feeling a little disappointed. All in all, Norton Mobile Security is a fairly decent choice of protection for Android devices, though don’t expect yourself to run into anything extraordinary.