Android smartphone popularity is growing, and along with the growth of the platform, we are seeing an uptick in Android malware attacks.
McAfee reports that attacks on Android devices were up 76% this spring. The antivirus company found 44 specific attacks on Android devices, which range from trojans and viruses to apps that message premium services.
We covered a collection of malware threats to Android in the Malware Infographic, which details what these apps try to do and how they attempt to get onto your phone.
While many of these apps can be avoided by sticking to the official Android market, there is still a risk to Android users who don’t pay close attention to app permissions.
Anti-Malware and Antivirus Apps For Android
McAfee App Alert Beta – Free
The free McAfee App Alert Beta app reviews what apps on your phone have access to and alerts you to apps that you need to pay close attention to. This can help you identify apps that can reach into your personal information.
McAfee Mobile Security – Free 7 Day Trial ($29.99)
For a host of features, including antivirus and device locating, you can download McAfee Mobile Security.
There is a 7-day free trial to let you test out the features including;
- Lock & Wipe
- Backup & Restore
- Locate & Track
- Browse safe with SiteAdvisor
Norton Mobile Security LITE – Free
Norton Mobile Security includes a nice collection of tools to help you keep your Android smartphone safe from viruses and malware. I’m glad to see that Norton has offered a free anti-malware tool for Android that can scan your app downloads and app updated for threats. This app can also scan your SD card and look for security threats on your device.
You also get the following features;
- Remote Lock
- Anti Theft Protection (locate, wipe and lock)
- Web Protection (blocks phishing sites)
- Call and Text Blocking
Lookout Mobile Security – Free
Lookout Mobile Security is the go to app for many Android users, and continues to deliver a high quality, free antivirus and security app. Lookout Mobile includes the same features as the big names in computer security and has been on Android much longer.
Lookout Mobile Security features include;
- Anti Malware (scans apps and phone)
- Find My Phone (locate phone and sound alarm)
- Backup & Restore (backup contacts to Lookout)
Premium features include Safe Browsing, Remote Lock and Wipe as well as a Privacy advisor to find apps that have un-needed permissions. The premium version includes Advanced Backup, which allows you to backup photos, call history and more.
AVG Anti-Virus Free – Free
AVG Anti-Virus Free doesn’t have every feature found on the Pro version, but ti does pack in the protection features for Android smartphones and tablets.
In addition to the standard anti-virus features, you also get the following tools;
- Protection from malicious apps and media
- Phishing protection
- Searches for unsecure device settings
- Safe web surfing
- Locate phone
- Task killer
- App locker
This is a pretty impressive free app.
Do You Need Android Antivirus and Anti-Malware Protection
Most cautious users can get by without Android malware and virus protection, but if you aren’t completely sure what an app wants when you go to install it or routinely install apps from third-party sources, you may be best served with a security app for your Android phone. I would recommend one of the free apps for the time being, as $30 is quite a bit for mobile protection, when there are good, free alternatives.