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android security and top antivirus appsAs we’ve reported frequently at MakeUseOf, Android is no longer safe from malware. The number of threats is on the rise. Android Malware Has Increased 472 Percent Since July [News] Android Malware Has Increased 472 Percent Since July [News] Malware threats against phones were once few and far between, but anyone being honest with themselves knew that it was just a matter of time before hackers went after them in force. Now, Android is... Read More This shouldn’t be surprise to anyone. Smartphones and tablets can carry all sorts of personal information and users often don’t understand the potential threat.

The state of anti-virus software on Android doesn’t make the situation better. Objective tests have been limited so far, and those conducted suggest that many security apps don’t provide much security at all. There are, however, a few early contenders that have stood out from the crowd.

Kaspersky Mobile Security

android security and top antivirus apps

Kaspersky has been one of the top PC security companies in the world for some time now. It has been rare for the company to not rank among the top group in recent anti-virus tests.

Mobile security is a different game, of course, but all test data available so far has shown that Kaspersky’s hasn’t missed a beat while transitioning to Android. AV-Test has shown it to be among the best New Study Suggests Most Android Anti-Virus Apps Aren't Effective [Updates] New Study Suggests Most Android Anti-Virus Apps Aren't Effective [Updates] Read More at detecting malware and an AV-Comparatives AV-Comparatives Reviews Android Security Apps, Finds Flaws [News] AV-Comparatives Reviews Android Security Apps, Finds Flaws [News] When it comes to information about computer security, few sources are as definitive as AV-Comparatives, an Austrian non-profit that focuses on researching anti-virus software. Recently, they released one of the first reports ever to focus... Read More test showed that Kaspersky’s remote wipe feature worked better than that found in other apps.

The “Lite” version of this app offers anti-virus, basic anti-theft protection and a filter for calls and SMS. It’s an okay array of features, but those who don’t want to pay may be better served elsewhere.

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The paid version includes better theft protection, adds cloud-based app scans to the anti-virus protection and includes privacy protection. Besides the interface, which could use some work, it’s good at what it does. And here’s the kicker – it’s only $9.99 on the Android Market!

Currently the price for per-year protection is $19.99, but that price is still lower than many competitors. If you are willing to fork over some dough this app is an excellent choice.

Lookout Security & Antivirus

android antivirus

Lookout was an early darling among Android antivirus apps Safeguard Your Device With Lookout Mobile Security [Android] Safeguard Your Device With Lookout Mobile Security [Android] Lookout Mobile Security is one of the top antivirus and device tracking solutions for Android. It has a proud spot on our Best Android Apps page, and we’ve given it some coverage as part of... Read More , but there was little evidence to show that it was worthy of the praise. Unlike virtually all the other top Android security apps, this one is developed by a company that started with smartphones. This meant there was no history to refer to.

Fortunately, Lookout isn’t smoke-and-mirrors. A recent AV-Test comparison showed that this free app is among the most effective available. It’s not the most effective, but it’s extremely close. Better still, Lookout benefits from a simple, friendly interface. Anti-virus apps are only effective if their users understand them and keep them installed, so this is a good thing.

The basic version is free, and comes with the anti-virus, phone-finding features and a backup utility. It’s a good package given the non-existent price tag. Going premium nets you additional remote lock and wipe features (for erasing data from stolen phones), a safe browsing feature and more comprehensive backup. The $30/year price tag is a bit expensive.

F-Secure Mobile Security

android security and top antivirus apps

This app is a bit of an oddball if for no other reason than the fact that it’s not on the Android market. To obtain it you need to go directly to F-Secure’s mobile site and purchase it. And you do need to purchase it, because there’s no free version.

So why should you care about it? Well, it does seem to offer extremely good protection according to the latest information from AV-Test and AV-Comparatives. Though seven apps were ranked in the “top group” in the latest AV-Test report, Kaspersky and F-Secure were the cream of that crop.

Another important feature is the app’s parental controls. You can blacklist websites or use pre-defined web content filtering that blocks sites that parents typically don’t approve of (such as porn sites). There’s black-listing for phone numbers and even apps, as well.

The catch is the price. At 29.99 euros (about 39 US dollars) F-Secure is by far the most expensive app here. You can find other apps that offer similar features for less, such as McAfee Mobile Security. However, McAfee has not tested nearly as well, so you’re getting what you pay for.

Verdict

I think the three anti-virus apps here cover a broad swath of users. Here is how it breaks down.

  • If you are willing to pay and you want excellent protection, buy Kaspersky.
  • If you are not willing to pay or value a friendly user interface, go with Lookout.
  • If you want parental controls, go with F-Secure.

Right now, I think most users are going to be best served with one of these three apps. That is not to say there aren’t other options. Avast! has tested well and offers a firewall for people with rooted devices, so if you run a rooted phone you could use it instead of Kaspersky.

Let us know in the comments which app you prefer to go with and why.

  1. Aakash
    February 14, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    guys i have used many Anti virus ...but All are anti virus is bad...i have used CM Security, 360 security , Avast, Anti - virus & mobile security, Bitdefender Antivirus web antivirus ,Eset mobile security & many more..but these are not useful..
    so please give me some suggestion..because i have an anti virus in my mobile.. :-(

  2. Varun
    June 30, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    I am using Virusseeker Mobile Security and it is pretty fast with a decent UI. It also doesn't slow down my phone unlike some of the other bloated antiviruses out there

  3. mihai
    June 23, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    do not forget the g data mobile security.. look here offer licese free for 1 year: http://downdl.com/2012/06/g-data-mobilesecurity-android-gratis-pentru-1-an/

  4. android antivirus apps
    June 20, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    i am using Kaspersky on my android device & its the best antivirus..

  5. Aadam Gibson
    June 20, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Google announce to introduce new antivirus application “BOUNCER” for Android Device. I think this application will be solve our protection problem.

    • Matt.Smith
      June 20, 2012 at 4:31 pm

      I doubt it. People will find ways around it. And it does nothing for attacks that don't come through apps downloaded from the market.

  6. Utpal Deb
    March 31, 2012 at 6:56 am

    How about Quickheal antivirus ?

  7. Rony
    March 30, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    Avast is \m/!!!
    Before going for any AV program just check the test result of "Malware Protection For Android-2012" done by AV-TEST(Updated March 15th, 2012).http://www.av-test.org/en/tests/android.
    Or you can download full Test Details from
    http://www.av-test.org/fileadmin/pdf/avtest_2012-02_android_anti-malware_report_english.pdf. :O

  8. Fritz
    March 30, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    I've been using the free Norton Antivirus & Security app on my Nook Color when booted into android. It hasn't seemed to affect my system resources use as far as I can tell, compared to before it was installed.

  9. Hansy
    March 27, 2012 at 7:22 am

    My suggestion is Comodo Antivirus.

  10. Hansy
    March 27, 2012 at 7:21 am

    Hurray!! i am quite disappointed with the absence of Comodo product, My vote is to Comodo AV only.

  11. Susendeep Dutta
    March 21, 2012 at 8:59 am

    Avast is the best antivirus both for PC and Android.I prefer it most as it's lightweight and has good user interface.

    • Garey Boone
      March 29, 2012 at 6:53 am

      I agree the feature set is unbeatable for free.

    • Iker Adil
      April 2, 2012 at 3:55 pm

      i also use avast :-) mostly because it free

  12. Kyle
    March 21, 2012 at 3:54 am

    Wow... As an Android developer I am here to tell you that there is absolutely no need for an anti virus app on Android phones. There have not been any real threats. All virus apps are taken down from the market within 12 hours or sooner. Currently there is no malware on the market. These apps just waste your system resources running all the time while doing nothing. They are almost as bad as task killers.

    • Iker Adil
      April 2, 2012 at 3:56 pm

      after seeing this I'm quite relieved :-) thanks for the comment xd

    • Iker Adil
      April 2, 2012 at 3:58 pm

      hi, I run two antivirus, avast and avg on my tab, does running two antivirus apps create problems.

    • Matt
      May 12, 2012 at 11:13 am

      So what about infections from web sites? Installing apps is by no means the only way viruses propagate.

    • Mohammad Rasel Ahmed
      May 26, 2012 at 4:28 pm

      Thanks for letting us know that android market is safe****(All virus apps are taken down from the market within 12 hours or sooner. Currently there is no malware on the market)**** But what about our internet browsing? If we are browsing many web sites or blog ......how can you say that these web sites are not threat for us ? In that case how can you say that Anti virus is waste of our system resources?

  13. cicas
    March 21, 2012 at 12:57 am

    After previous article summarizing results of some AV-test (about 1-2 weeks ago) here on MUO I switched from AVG to avast! But I still kept considering installation of Kaspersky. And this article didn't help with my dilemma :D I think I just download it and see:)
    By the way there seem to be lacking those collisions of installed AVs on android while colliding AVs on Windows are quite famous. Am I right? Has anyone heard about any android AVs in collision?
    After updating my xperia mini McAfee appeared in the menu and seems to be ok alongside the avast. And during my AV switch I had AVG and avast together for a minute so this combination should be also safe.
    Sorry for such a chaotic and maybe OT post but I think there is never enough information when it comes to security:)

  14. Matt Smith
    March 20, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    I included an Avast! mention at the end of the article.

  15. ACR
    March 20, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    I would rank them 1. Avast 2. Kaspersky 3. Zoner 4. Dr. Web. Also, makeuseof had a report a week ago or so about detection tests for android. That test was ran again after some issues arose concerning the testing methods. There are new results. http://securitywatch.pcmag.com/security-software/295335-av-test-revises-android-antivirus-results

  16. Igor
    March 20, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    Yes, you forgot to include avast! Mobile Security in your test! I think it is currently the best tool available!

  17. Jonathan Cohen
    March 20, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    What about Avira? It's free, too.

    • Jonathan Cohen
      March 20, 2012 at 5:20 pm

      Err I meant Avast. Top-rated too. :)

      • Andi Pang
        March 20, 2012 at 6:41 pm

        I was going to mention Avast for Android too. Is it not good cause I am using it on my android now? It has anti theft function as well.

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