When it comes to using smartphones these days, security and privacy is a growing concern. With the Android platform getting bigger by the day the malware threats have continued to surface and are potentially an issue worth preparing for.
While malware on Android smartphones and tablets isn’t nearly as bad as some antivirus “experts” say, it’s still a good idea to be protected. Anything from from trojans and viruses to apps that message premium services and cause overages, the concern is real.
Over the past year or so Android antivirus apps have surfaced at a growing rate, aimed at getting the average user to download and often times pay for a security service. While most threats can simply be avoided by using the official Google Play Store and some general caution (or brains), below is a list of some of the best antivirus apps for Android in case you need one.
As we mentioned above, malware and virus problems on Android aren’t nearly as bad as some people make it sound like. I’ve never had an issue in all my years using Android, even since the beginning with my T-Mobile G1 or HTC Nexus One and beyond. That being said, there are tons of excellent options available today, so here’s a few worth checking out.
Not only do these protect your smartphone and keep it safe, but most antivirus apps have other benefits worth using. Some of those include find my phone features, security as a whole, or even photo vaults to keep your personal data safe from the wrong eyes.
AVG AntiVirus Security Free
First up is AVG, simply because everyone’s probably heard of them. AVG is a staple in the PC antivirus space, and they have excellent options for Android too. AVG has over 100 million downloads and tons of excellent reviews, not to mention the free version offers enough protection for most users.
AVG Free offers the basics like antivirus, anti-phishing, and anti-malware scanning and more all in real time. It also offers find my smartphone features with Anti-theft on both the free and paid option. You can lock or wipe your device similar to Google’s own Android Device Manager, and last but not least it has a built-in battery, data, and storage monitor for general device usage.
AVG AntiVirus Security Free is a comprehensive app that’s extremely thorough, and the paid version offers even more. Get it now from the link below.
AVG Free Download – Link
CM Security & Find My Phone
Next up is a relatively new option for Android, but it works greats on phones and tablets, and has a wide array of features you’ll want to check out. It’s called CM Security, and it does it all. They claim a 100% detection rate, and that it offers the best antivirus engine around, but that’s up in the air.
CM offers antivirus and anti-malware scanning, as well as safe browser built-in. The service is light on resources and will keep your phone running smooth, yet also has tons of features at the same time. The Find My Phone works great for anti-theft, using Google Maps, and it even has a “scream” function to let your phone make noise, as well as an option to use the front camera to snap a photo of the thief.
It has all the features most free options from the others have, as well as most the features you’d have to pay for with something like McAfee. CM is a newer app and not a big name like some of the others, but so far it’s packed with awesome features and great reviews. Give it a try because it’s absolutely free.
CM Security Download – Link
Lookout Security & Antivirus is another good option, but it comes pre-installed on a wide array of smartphones already. While many of the other options may be better for the free versions, once you pay the $2.99 a month or $30 a year price for Lookout it’s a pretty good package.
Lookout offers antivirus, anti-malware, anti-theft, and backup capabilities in the free version, but they’re all better and more comprehensive once you’re a paying user. Lookout even has a feature that will remember your devices last known location as the battery is about to die, which could be helpful if it gets lost. This is also a free feature.
Many consider it bloatware since it comes on most devices out of the box, but it’s an overall decent package that’s priced competitive and works well.
Lookout Download – Link
Avast Mobile Security
If I had to recommend one free antivirus option for your home computer, Avast would be it, and the same can be said for mobile. I’ve used Avast on friends and family computers for years, and their mobile suite is packed full of features, priced lower than most of the competition (half of Lookout, with more features) and even caters to root users and more.
Really, Avast probably should have been at the top of the list, but we’re not going in any particular order here. Avast offers all the same antivirus, anti-malware, phishing, and scanning features of the others. You get a virus scanner, virus removal, protector, network meter, app manager, app lock, and even firewall (on rooted phones) which give you total control for staying clean. It really is as feature-complete as they come.
Avast does anything and everything, and does it well. And that includes all the theft and find my phone functions too. That said, the notifications and real-time scanning can be a bit aggressive. However, the pricing is also aggressive and is half most of the competition. Costing $1.99 a month or only $14.99 per year.
You can’t go wrong with Avast for Mobile.
Avast Mobile Download – Link
ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus
While Avast is the best free antivirus we’d recommend, I’ve used ESET and its all-seeing eye on my own PC’s for years, so we had to give them a nod. ESET’s NOD32 Security Suite is extremely popular for desktop users, and you’ll be happy to know their mobile options are just as impressive and aggressive, not to mention it’s one of the cheapest full suites available.
ESET had to make our list simply because it’s $9.99 a year and boasts a 99.7% detection rate of malware and harmful activities. ESET scans all files as they come in, as well as randomly scans your device, has a stunning interface for both phones and tablets, something not all apps offer. Sadly the free version is quite basic, but the low $9.99 a month gets you a suite more feature-packed than almost everyone else.
ESET has everything the others offer and more. They even support Find My Phone (from another device or your PC) call and SMS blocking, and there’s even a built-in training course for mobile security and good practices. Can’t beat that with a stick. Anti-phishing shields your personal info, and all the anti-theft features keeps your device safe if lost, lets you wipe it, and will help you track it down if needed. It offers it all.
The only problem here is the free version is almost not worth downloading, but once you pay the $9.99 a year, which is less than most, you’ll have some of the best protection in the mobile space.
ESET Mobile Security Download – Link
Honorable Mentions and Wrap-Up
A few honorable mentions are deserved with Kaspersky being another excellent PC option that’s now available for mobile, not to mention 360 Security Free is worth a look. 360 is free but has ads, but to each his own.
To end we must mention that Android has tons of built in security measures already. From the OS blocking third party app installs (unless you change the settings ) to Google’s integration of scanning tools, Google Play Store malware protection, and much much more all out of the box.
There’s an ongoing debate about whether malware is truly a problem, most of which is discussed by antivirus companies (so you buy their software) and of course Android’s competition. I’ve never used an antivirus app on my smartphone, and probably never will, but if you want the added protection or peace of mind the five or so we’ve outlined above are worth checking out. All said and done, don’t do anything stupid or fishy, and you’ll probably be just fine.