Naina KhedekarSep 27, 2014 10:12:52 IST
Mobile security has been turning into a major concern like never before. Android has often faced flak for security issues and malware (that had almost quadrupled last year). With the latest Android L, the company says it has got the strongest security in place. However, fragmentation has also been responsible for security issues. Though the numbers have been improving with every update, it still has a long way to go in providing a completely safe platform for mobile devices. So, there's still a lot of relying on the hordes of security apps available in the expansive Google Play store. Interestingly, some of these apps go well beyond anti-virus features and offer additional tools such as managing passwords, remote locking, remote wiping, location tracking and so on. Here are five such must-try security apps to safeguard your Android device.
Lookout is a complete package of security features and beyond. The free version offers anti-virus and anti-malware functions along with some features for creating backups. The premium version brings additional features such as remote lock, remote wipe and theft alert. The app scans all your apps and keeps malicious or suspicious app at bay. It also ensures safer browsing. In case your device goes missing, you can log into your Lookout account from a desktop and view the location of your phone. It also lets you find your device by setting a loud alarm/signal even on a silent mode. The device is also capable of automatically saving your location before it runs out of battery. The paid version comes at a highly competitive price of $2.99 per month or $29.99 per year. Before you take the plunge, Lookout lets you try the premium features for free for a period of 14 days. The remote lock and wipe features aren't available during the trial, though, and can be accessed only when you buy the subscription.
AVG is quite popular when it comes to mobile security. The app's interface neatly divides functions into four categories - Protection, Performance, Anti-Theft and privacy. It performs a full scan of your device and lets you set the frequency of auto-scans. Under Anti-Theft, it will help you track a misplaced/stolen device. Once you create an account with AVG and activate the Anti-theft feature, it sends an email with detailed instructions you should follow to track your device. Interestingly, the app offers a series of passwords that can be used as text message commands to trigger an alarm, get the location of the device, lock the phone or remote wipe the data. So, one has to simply borrow someone's phone and send a text message command to your lost/stolen device and the app performs the specified function. The performance section gives you all the other details about the device such as which apps are running in the background, allowing users to kill them and save the battery life. It also offers how much data has been consumed by apps over Wi-Fi as well as cellular network, helpful to keep a tab on your data plan. The privacy section offers features like adding passwords to your apps, taking backup of apps and so on. A freemium as well as premium version of the app is available. The free version comes with basic features including protection from viruses, malware and some anti-theft features. The pro version gets all the extended features including SIM-locking. The pro version costs $3.99 for a month and $14.99 for a year.
Avast provides value for money while effectively securing your phone. So, you get the usual antivirus features that scan through all your apps and web URLs, as well as protection against malware in incoming messages and files. When Avast acquired Theft Aware, it introduced anti-theft functions such as remotely locking, locating and wiping data off your device. It also adds a siren sound for locating a lost device and is capable of locking your SIM and even disabling USB debugging. Just like AVG, you can control your device remotely using SMS commands too. In addition, it also works for a rooted device and the firewall allows controlling of network traffic. In fact, you can also block access to your Wi-Fi or cellular network for specific apps, whichhelps in saving the battery life and data consumption. This light app ensures that there is no strain on the battery and performance of your device. The pro version is priced at $1.99 per month or $14.99/year, and for that price, the app offers a plethora of features that users can take advantage of.
CM Security is comparatively a newer app to enter Android's security arena and has been rated highly since its launch. It packs in antivirus, anti-malware and find-my-phone functions for absolutely no cost. Yes, it’s a free app. Firstly, it has a lively interface, unlike what we've seen in most of the other security apps. The app gives you a detailed scan report where it informs you about malware and also shows a list of apps that access your private information. If you tap on the right upper corner, you will find a list of functions this app can perform - Scan SD card, Clean junk (cache and residual files), adding passwords to apps, Find your phone, Call blocking and more. Unlike other apps, CM Scan lets you locate your device, enable the yell or siren function, remote lock or wipe and even take a picture of someone who is trying to break into your phone, using a freemium version. It also comes with Locate your family feature that lets you add your family members to the network and keep a track of their location using their mobile numbers.
360 Security is yet another free app offering security to Android devices. It does almost everything we would expect from an anti-virus such as scanning apps and URLs, keeps an eye out for threats, cleans corrupt files and other trash, and also comes with data monitor feature. The app also offers anti-theft functions, but requires a user-login or adding a Google+ account. Besides, you will also find features such as a memory booster that cleans up junk files, an app box that recommends new apps, an shortcut for uninstalling apps, and a call and SMS filter.
Think we left out an important security app from our list? Tell us in your comments below.
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