When smartphones first became popular, the threat of viruses, spyware and malware was little to none. There was less than a 1 percent chance of downloading a malicious app or running across spyware on a mobile browser. Now, consumers have to proactively safeguard themselves against dangerous threats that can target their most sensitive data. Luckily, as hazards become more targeted and sophisticated, antivirus software steps up and stays one step ahead.
While the risk for downloading malicious software is still relatively low – at least for users who stick to using their stock app store – mobile security is a must for smartphone users who want to keep their data and identities safe from criminal hands. Below are the top choices for mobile security. Each comes with its own trial or free version, as well as a paid version that comes with premium features. It is also important to note that every app on this list proactively scans new apps when downloaded them and offers to show relevant privacy information.
McAfee: McAfee was recently nominated the best overall mobile security app. It’s an aggressive antivirus scanner with many additional features, including data backup and restore, anti-theft, and privacy measures. The UI is less user-friendly compared to some as it is more of a direct port from the desktop version. Negativities aside, McAfee demonstrated a 100% detection rate of malware. After a seven day free trial, a paid subscription will cost you $29.99 a year.
Lookout: Lookout for Android is a mobile-only security company. They specialize in data backup, antivirus software, privacy protection, and tools that help you find your phone when lost. The UI is simple and easy to use. Even the free version comes packed with a bunch ofhandy features to keep you safe on the go. The paid subscription costs $29.99 a year.
F-Secure: F-Secure for Android is a top-tier antivirus that comes bundled with parental controls as well. This makes it appealing to parents of young children. It doesn’t have someof the extra features touted by other software, but what it does, it does incredibly well – AV-Test.org noted that it successfully blocked 90% of all threats it came into contact with. The downside is that F-Secure is one of the pricier options, with the premium version going for$39.99/year.
Bitdefender: Bitdefender is a lightweight app with a simple, easy-to-use UI. It offers additional features aside from basic antivirus, including a firewall and anti-theft features. Unfortunately,the firewall will only protect the stock browser on your phone and the antivirus is average at best. This has the cheapest paid option on this list, with premium access costing only $9.99 per year.