It appears hackers are taking advantage of Android's open source platform, as there has been an astonishing increase in exploits involving the mobile OS over the past year. With the number of Android phones in use increasing daily, it’s essential that users protect their data. To Protect You , we’ve compiled a list of the top security apps for your Android Device .
1. Super Security: Free
Super Security is a free cloud-based antivirus app that adds a "strongbox" storage area to the device. The strongbox is a storage area on the phone that lets users password protect three different folders: Pictures, Videos and SMS.
As well as the strongbox, the service also boasts the standard virus scan, app manager, task manager and phone finder features seen on most other security apps.
As a free service, though, the features aren't as good as certain other paid for services. It also has a significantly less polished user interface and can at times feel a little clunky to use. Still, it's not a bad place to start.
2. Webroot Security and Antivirus: Free
Webroot Security and Antivirus is another free app that offers users online identity protection as well as defences against malware, phishing and SMS attacks.
Webroot automatically scans apps when they are added to the device. Like some of the other services on the list, Webroot can also help you to locate a lost or stolen device.
The app is perfectly adequate, with the only problem we detected that it can, at points, slow down performance on lower-end handsets.
This only really occurs when you're using the software on an old or underpowered 800MHz processor but is still an annoyance.
3. AVG Antivirus: Free or £6.50 Pro version
Available as a free download, AVG is a cheap, reliable option for any Android user.
The app automatically scans apps as they're downloaded and also checks to see if files added via other connection methods like Wi-Fi or USB are safe.
As well as checking files and apps being added to the device, the free version also lets you find your phone if lost or stolen via Google Maps. It also features lock and wipe your device services.
There is a Pro version available on the Google Play store, which costs £6.50 and adds a few features like a task killer, though for the money, given how good the free version is, we found little incentive to upgrade.
4. Norton Mobile Security: £29.99
Norton Mobile Security offers Android customers all the standard services and tools you'll require to protect your smartphone's data.
The app boasts the usual anti-virus protection backed up by remote locate, lock and wipe, call and text blocker and anti-phishing web protection features.
As an added bonus, the company's recently inked a deal with UK retailer Carphone Warehouse, meaning you can pick it up for half-price at £14.99 instead of £29.99.
5. Trend Micro Mobile Security Personal Edition: Free or £19 a year
Trend Micro's Mobile Security app is available in free and paid for versions, though the paid for option is the only one that offers a full security service.
The free app is available on Google Play and includes a basic malware scanner that scans your phone or SD-card for malicious software.
The paid for premium version is available for £19 per year. For the money you get a host of new features including parental controls, the ability to remotely locate your device and a fraudulent-website blocker that checks sites using Trend Micro's Smart Protection Network.
One annoyance that can seem a little pointless for business users is the addition of parental control features to the app. While control options may be desirable for parents looking to stop their child downloading dangerous apps, they really aren't relevant to business or adult users.
6. F-Secure Mobile Security: £8.08 per six months
F-Secure's Mobile Security app offers a number of mobile security features including firewall and anti-theft protection and costs £8.08 per half year.
The features on it work incredibly well and the app would rank higher if it didn't lack certain key features like an app scanner.
Given the boom in Android Trojans this year, the lack of an app scanning feature is a serious flaw and means you may have to get a second security app to really protect your handset.
The app also has parental control features, though as was the case with Trend Micro's app, they aren't all that useful for adult smartphone users, but nice to know they're there, just in case.
7. McAfee Mobile Security: £29.99 a year
McAfee Mobile Security application offers a desktop anti-virus and protection service on a smartphone.
The service is free for the first seven days but costs £29.99 per year after that. As well as Android, there are also BlackBerry and Symbian versions.
In terms of features Mobile Security 2.0 offers the complete package, boasting anti-virus protection, app screening, anti-theft remote wiping, unlimited backup and call filtering services.
The only reason the app didn't rank higher in our list is its liberal use of alerts. The app will pop up and intrude on your smartphone web and app browsing experience on a regular basis.
One particularly annoying feature is the fact that app actually starts alerting you on a regular basis that your free trial is about to run out a full day before it happens.
8. Bitdefender Mobile Security: Free or $9.99 a year
Bitdefender Mobile Security comes in free and premium versions, the latter retailing for a fairly reasonable $9.99 per year.
The app is a solid choice for most Android users, featuring an intuitive user interface and retailing at an affordable price.
The only downside is that the app doesn't have any SIM-card removal notification features and its Firewall protection only works on Android's native browser. That means Ice Cream Sandwich handset owners surfing the internet using the infinitely superior Chrome browser won't be protected.
9. Kaspersky Mobile Security: Free or £11.95
Kaspersky Mobile Security Lite is a fantastic Android security app that's available in free and paid for versions.
The paid for version costs £11.95 and offers the same features as a number of more expensive premium services.
The app grants access to Kaspersky's cloud-based Security Network, which automatically checks any app you install to make sure its safe.
One feature we particularly like is the educational element included in the app. Kaspersky Mobile Security doesn't take as draconian approach as other apps, with helpful hints explaining the importance of each feature being available as a shortcut on the app's user interface.
The paid for version of the app also houses all the standard device wipe, call and message filter and phone tracking services expected of any security app.
10. Lookout for Android: Free or $29.99 a year
Lookout is one of a select number of security companies purely dedicated to developing mobile security services and we have to say its Android app offers the most complete protection service currently on market.
Its Android app comes in free and paid for versions, with the paid for version costing a fairly hefty $29.99 per year.
The reason we'd really recommend the app is its intuitive user interface (UI). While the device features the same anti-virus protection, remote wipe controls, data backup, firewall defences and an app auditor services seen on other apps, Lookout is much more streamlined.
This could be because of Lookout's specific mobile focus, with the UI being far easier to navigate and understand than a number of its competitors. This streamlined feel is enhanced by the apps nonintrusive nature, with its protection features remaining nicely out of sight.