We pay a lot of attention to our safety, and as our phones grow more and more features, we want to protect them too, to ensure our confidentiality. We usually have no problem deciding which antivirus to choose for protecting our computer, but this is different for mobiles. There are plenty of tools, both free and paid, and it is a real challenge to pick a good one among them.
Do I Need It?
AVG Anti-Virus Free
But wait, do you need an antivirus for your smartphone at all? The threat mainly comes from rogue applications like with spyware or Trojans in them (you know, those sending your personal data or pretending to work as usual, while compromising your privacy); so if you are an experienced Android user, you should be aware of the fact that applications ask for certain permissions – and that you can view them and thus prevent the installation of a malware program. In this case you may pretty well do without any antiviruses. In case you do not like wasting your time checking each app's permissions, you do need an antivirus app, because even the Play Store catalog is far from being 100% safe.
The list of available antiviruses on Android is quite extensive, but only a few of them are worth any attention. We'll take a look at those that have PC-based counterparts, so they're likely to be known to most users. Thus our apps of choice are: avast!Mobile Security, Dr.Web anti-virus Light, Kaspersky Mobile Security Light, Lookout Security, and AVG Anti-Virus Free. They're all free, and listed among trusted Android antivirus applications, according to the recent AV-Test report.
Obligatory Pins, Why Not?
Dr.Web anti-virus Light
If we look at security tests of the five apps, we are likely to come to the conclusion that the Kaspersky antivirus provides the best protection among them, followed by Avast, then Dr. Web and Lookout, and AVG closing the list. I personally would happily use Kaspersky as a security layer on my device, or maybe Lookout, but I do not like it when an app requires that I register an account right away. The former even asks for a password before you get to set it up, and the latter requires you to bind it to an email account right away. I do agree that this improves security somewhat, but I'd like to have the possibility to skip those steps, like in Avast or AVG, so that I could see whether I want to use the app at all before I sign up to it.
Comfortable in Use
Besides the basic functionality, the interface of your antivirus of choice – especially the way it give you access to its settings – is also pretty important. From the five antiviruses we've picked, the prize for the simplest interface goes to AVG. Its main screen has just four buttons, which is very effective on touch devices, and looks visually appealing. The rest have more or less similar list-like interfaces, only differing in the number of list items and sub-menus.
The fact that Google Play Store provides descriptions and screenshots for every antivirus in stock makes it easy to make an educated guess about an application before you download it, and sometimes you can even compare different ones without downloading any of them. Most of them boast similar features and services, like anti-theft protection, data scanning, data backup, protection from invasions, ability to find your stolen phone via the Internet, and so on. Some, however, lack some of these features, so you can ignore those right away if they don't have something you really need. Some of the apps have paid counterparts, with a wider selection of features, though their lite versions are usually quite capable of dealing with major threats. And there are completely free apps too, like Avast, which are often as good as paid ones. For example, according to a report by an independent testing organization, Avast keeps up to pace with most paid-for antiviruses (Kaspersky, being among those that surpass it in some ways) and provides commendable results overall.
Hopefully, this information will help you make the right choice and you will enjoy even a safer experience with your smartphone.