5 Best Antivirus Apps for Android
99% of all mobile malware is targeted at Android users.
That’s not a typo. I seriously mean it. 99 of every 100 mobile computer viruses, adware, spyware, and ransomware are targeted at you.
88% of all smartphones sold to end users operate on the Android operating system. Most of these smartphones are never updated to the latest version of the operating system, allowing hackers to capitalize on the security vulnerabilities fixed in the later versions.
How then do you get yourself protected from this enormous amount of malware targeting your Android phone?
In this article, I’ll first explain why Android has gotten so many malware threats, then I recommend some antivirus apps you can install to keep your Android device safe from malware.
Why is Android a malware target?
There are many reasons why Android is the favorite operating system for hackers.
Windows is to PC as Android is to mobile
Here are some reasons Android is well-targeted.
Most devices are not updated
Unlike the competing iOS operating system, Android devices are not well updated continuously. When a new update is released for a device, many changes are made to the previous operating system.
One of the most important changes made to the operating system is security updates. Security vulnerabilities are fixed in later updates of the operating system.
This means un-updated versions of the operating systems are left to the mercy of these security vulnerabilities.
Hackers then spend their time studying these security vulnerabilities. One they discover a security vulnerability, they work to launch an attack.
If and when the attack becomes successful, the device is infected with malware.
Looking at this, you discover that frequently updated phones have lesser chances of being malware-infected.
Android phones generally receive updates for up to two years after release while iOS devices may receive updates for as long as five years.
And other mobile operating systems?
They’re just not worth targeting for malware due to their tiny user base.
In summary, Android devices suffer malware attacks because
- They have a large user base
- They do not receive updates for a long period
How do you counter Android Malware?
Even if you use the latest version of the Android operating system, it doesn’t mean you can’t be infected with malware. It only lowers your chances of being malware-infected.
How do you make sure you’re completely safe and can’t be infected with any mobile viruses or malware?
Simple. Get an antivirus.
An antivirus application is an application that scans other applications and files on your Android device, to detect if it is targeted and infected with malware.
Antivirus apps are essential and they are must-haves for any Android device, for safety.
While a good antivirus can decrease the chances of getting your phone virus-infected, some antivirus apps can actually harm your device.
Some computer viruses disguise as antivirus!
That’s why you need expert help in choosing a suitable antivirus app for your Android phone.
In this article, I’ll recommend five of the best free antivirus apps for Android.
Best Antivirus Apps for Android
Norton Mobile Security is a freemium mobile antivirus app for flawlessly safeguarding your Android device against malware attacks.
Embedded with anti-theft functionality, Norton Mobile Security offers tens of other features that keep it top among antivirus.
There is a free version and a premium version. However, most of what you’ll need about the antivirus is all free including the anti-theft and malicious website blocking.
However, the App Advisor, which is a unique and excellent feature of the app is offered for $30 each year. The App Advisor checks apps you’re about to download on the Play Store for malware even before you download them.
Norton Mobile Security supports devices as outdated as the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. This means you don’t have to worry that your Android Jelly Bean won’t update.
A downside to this antivirus, however, is the excessive ads it features. Fetching adverts from Safe Search, it interferes with your experience by displaying ads.
These are made up for by its excellent interface and countless features.
While the ads may be a bit distracting, Norton Mobile Security cannot be overlooked when a free antivirus app for Android is considered.
Here comes another heavily-armed security waiting to guard your phone, in the name of Avast Mobile Security.
When talking about cybersecurity, Avast is in an irreplaceable position. After making sure their PC apps do great jobs of securing computers, they made a jump to the mobile scene to save innocent Android users from ruthless hackers.
Avast Mobile Security claims a whole lot of features, but down the lane, it was discovered that some of these features don’t reliably work.
Avast does a good job of blocking malware. However, the anti-theft and call blocking functions appear not to work as expected.
It also contains annoying ads in the free version but offers a removal portion by buying any of their premium options. Avast Mobile Security has two premium versions which cost $12 and $24 in the order of how useful they are.
Although the antivirus client may have failed a lot of promises, they tend to cover it up with more features such as Privacy Adviser, and a VPN. These extra features earn it a top spot in this article.
Any security geek can testify to the authenticity of Kaspersky’s antivirus apps.
Kaspersky is a security software company that focuses on the development of software for mobile and desktop security. They have working antivirus apps across operating systems and their antivirus app for Android seems to be perfect.
It blocks an excellent percentage of malware targeted at Android devices (scored 100% in a particular test). Apart from the malware protection, Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus functions are limited.
Unlike Avast Mobile Security, its call blocker works but the anti-theft feature is absent altogether. The absence of anti-theft poses a great drawback as most other popular antivirus apps possess this functionality.
Unlike most of its competitors, you don’t get bombarded with ads on the free version of the app. This alone gives you a premium feeling other antivirus apps will be unable to give.
Also, the paid version is pocket-friendly, although it lacks many features that most competitors possess.
While it may seem stripped-down of features when compared to Avast, is it not better to only promise what you offer?
In summary, Kaspersky is an excellent antivirus with almost 100% accuracy.
While this is classed among free antivirus apps, Lookout Security and Antivirus cannot fully be classified as free.
Lookout Security and Antivirus is one of the oldest, most popular and accurate antivirus apps. Since its inception, it has been providing satisfactory services to users. That’s the sole reason for its prolonged stay and popularity.
It offers a free plan and two premium plans, which go for $30 and $100 respectively per year.
The free plan is almost useless, all it does is to take up space on your device and offer some useless services. The $30 per year plan is no better than most free antivirus apps.
The real big deal starts from a hundred bucks per month. For this, you get a truly premium antivirus app that secures your device and also offers numerous features that most free antivirus apps don’t.
The $100 yearly plan is cool, but there are some things you won’t like about the app. For example, it takes almost forever to complete a full scan, which may not go down well with some users.
Also, the low quality associated with the free and cheap plans makes it a not-so-popular alternative for an antivirus app.
It would be a nice idea to conclude this long story with a great antivirus app.
Qihoo 360 Security is one of the surprisingly amazing newer generation antivirus apps. This antivirus app is the only app that offers everything to you for free.
Although it has a paid version that comes for $12, you’re not actually paying for more features. You’re just buying off the ads.
However, Qihoo 360 Security users reported serious device slowdown when the app runs. The accuracy of the app is also in doubt as no test results were referred to as at the time of this writing.
Buying off ads isn’t really what you should pay for, and this also accounts for the reason why we couldn’t really recommend the paid version too.
Like its competitors, Qihoo also features an App Lock, although the common Anti-theft feature is absent.
Qihoo is present in all mobile platforms and appears to be affiliated to Opera.
Finding an antivirus app isn’t much of an issue. The issue is finding a reliable one that works well, regardless of the device.
The built-in Google Play Protect can do a good job of securing your device, but believe it or not, external apps will do the job much better.
Choosing an app from the above-listed ensures optimum security of your device, year in, year out.
Did I miss any exceptionally performing antivirus app, do let me know in the comments.