Android devices need security just as much as personal computers. Most people who are tech-savvy know that having an anti-virus program on their desktop computer is imperative, but surprisingly few people consider the same kind of protection for their phones as carefully.
As an industry-leading antivirus and security software company, avast! has been in the business of making sure that systems across the globe are virus free and secure for years. But with the rise of smartphones the company hasn’t been standing still.
The security gurus now offer avast! Mobile Security for Android device, and have made it available on the Google Play store. It is the direct competitor of programs from other big names in the industry such as AVG and Norton. While there’s a good variety of security available (and some seriously great niche offerings such as Lookout’s amazing “oh crap where’s my phone” app called Plan B) avast! Has some of the best available features, and is actually unique in offering firewall protection. (Only on rooted devices, unfortunately, but still, it’s a solid feature.)
The software, at its core, offers users anti-virus protection including real-time app scanning during installation, web protection while browsing, and a customizable update system. It will ensure that you’re running much more safely, and can really be a boon for people who are downloading less legitimate apps from slightly shady sources. (Which is to say, people who like to try out new stuff from unknown developers in their quest for diamonds in the rough.) Like on your desktop, avast! will give you a sense of security as you see it working in the notification bar.
Yet perhaps the biggest selling point (if you can call it that, since the app is free) is the anti-theft functionality. Phones are, after all, very vulnerable to “walking away” and given their cost it’s a serious problem if they do.
As part of the anti-theft package avast! allows you to send SMS commands to your phone. It can force it to only accept commands from specific numbers (e.g., your Google Voice number, which can be used to send SMS messages from your desktop) for extra security. Handy for locking and unlocking your phone, locating it or wiping it completely (which can include random re-writes for extra shredding) the commands run deep indeed, with the ability to actually run any program on the phone.
Of course the most disturbing part for a thief is likely to be the fact that you can trigger a siren on the phone which will scream out a message. By default the recording declares that the phone has been lost or stolen, and it howls like a starship going to battle stations. Definitely not something you want playing if you’re trying to be sneaky. You can customize the message it plays, and you can leave a custom message on the screen with, for example, your contact details (email, alternate phone numbers, etc.) and a request to return the phone.
It’s worth noting that with root access the entire quite becomes more powerful and harder to circumvent, so users who have not chosen to take this step will have a slightly less secure phone overall. Hopefully in the future phone manufacturers, wireless service providers, and operating system creators will address these issues and we’ll have the same kind of access to our phones as we do our desktop computers. But until then rooting your handset (thus voiding its warranty in most cases) remains a step for power users to undertake in the pursuit of perfect control over their device experience, and in this case at least: security.
It’s safe to say that you should absolutely get anti-virus software for your Android smartphone. It’s also reasonable to assume that if you choose to grab avast! Mobile Security you won’t regret it. So don’t wait around for something bad to happen (though again, Plan B is amazing), be proactive and protect your phone.
Rating: Avast! Mobile Security is highly recommended: 9/10.
Notes: Rooting issues prevent it from being a full ten, but even at that it’s the best mobile protection (free or paid) on the market.
Fiona Gibson is a computer expert who specializes in software reviews and tips and tricks for Windows. She is also a contributor of website: http://www.dailydeals4you.com, which provides antivirus software coupons such like Bitdefender Internet Security, Avast Pro antivirus coupon etc.