Ever since Google took over Android Incorporated in 2005, there have been huge strides made in bettering the operating system for seamless use by people. The first version was released in the year 2007, and in about a decade, the use of the OS spread like wildfire. Most of the major phone manufacturers prefer to use Android OS, with a few of their own bells and whistles, of course, which makes Android common yet different for its users. What is also amazing is the community contribution that has increased since the popularity of Android boomed. The source code of android is available for free and open access under the android Open Source Project which is licensed under the Apache license. This has made it more inviting for developers and manufacturers alike to tinker with the features and tools of Android.
However, this widespread use of Android OS by manufacturers also attracts the interest of cyber criminals. Unless Google or a device manufacturer puts in place the security to help combat the potential threats a device can face, Android devices are bound to be vulnerable to cybercrimes. The only thing that could help this scenario is to install an antivirus for your device.
How to choose an antivirus app for your Android device?
Well, it is easy to say that installing an antivirus will stop your security problems. The real issue now is to figure out how to choose an antivirus that grants you complete protection from threats caused by potential vulnerabilities. This is proving to be more and more difficult given that the antivirus market has been seeing a constant increase in the number of products and plans launched by the antivirus manufacturers. To help you in finding an answer to this question slightly easier, we have noted down the core parameters that you should look out for when choosing an antivirus app for your Android device:
Detection Rate – The very requirement for installing an antivirus is that it detects threats that could be infecting your device. If the app does not do so or rings an alarm after the virus has spread in your Android device, or after you have fallen prey to a cyber crime, it really is of no consequence. For an antivirus to be useful, it has to have a high detection rate. This implies that the app must be able to figure out what could be malware and where potential threats could infiltrate. Another important aspect is that this detection has to be done real-time, meaning that the app has to constantly monitor the phone for such threats.
False Positives – False positives refers to the number of times the app quarantines or deletes a file thinking that it contains, or in fact is, malware. Not considering the amount of data you will be having to recover and the time spent doing the same, false positives also bring in the element of distrust in an otherwise healthy website. Clearly, if the antivirus app has a high number of false positives being reported, that is not an app you want installed on your Android device.
Performance – Performance is a very crucial aspect of antivirus simply because many people cite performance issues when asked why they do not have an antivirus installed on their mobile devices. Performance refers to the quickness of the app in launching a scan, or background scans and how this affects the battery life. It is of course detrimental to a user if the app itself provides top-quality antivirus scanning and detection at the cost of having to plug the device in every three hours. There has to be a good balance between these two aspects for a user to choose the antivirus app.
Features – Gone are the days when antivirus apps could only provide you with the basic malware or virus detection and elimination. With so many competitors in this field, each developer is inculcating certain features into their software to help convince the customer. Of course, the productivity of these features is absolutely subjective and so is the basis of necessity for these. But it is always good to have the choice in the form of call blocking, message filters, parental controls, backups, encryption and so on.
Which antivirus to choose?
Again, this question requires experimentation and context. What we find perfect might not be agreeable with you. However, we have provided a list of the best antivirus software for your Android device, in no particular order.
Norton Mobile Security
Their offering for Android devices is pretty efficient and also feature-rich. It managed to detect 100 percent of all Android malware when it was benchmarked using AV-Test, ensuring the safety of your device. Further, it scans apps and files for viruses and malware and removes them automatically. Here you’ll find reviews about this tool. Other productive features include the ability to lock your device simply through an SMS, or the option for you to lock your device remotely in case it goes missing.
AVG is another company offering a competent core antivirus app along with a heft of features. Similar to Norton, AVG also has the ability to scan for viruses real-time and delete any threatening malware it might find. Further, it is feature-heavy. It offers its users performance enhancement which targets and kills unnecessary processes on the device. It also comes with anti-theft protection whereby selfies are clicked of people trying to unsuccessfully access your device.
Avast Mobile Security
Avast has a free Android antivirus app that comes with the core antivirus functionality of running real-time scans and quarantining or deleting threats to your device. It also comes with a call blocking feature through which a user can blacklist contact numbers from calling you. Additionally, it also supports anti-theft features such as locking the device remotely or wiping the data off the device in case it goes missing. However, being a free app, the app supports advertisements which might cause some annoyance.