The latest report by Gartner shows that Android phones capture 43.4% of the global market share, which is likely to grow up to 49% next year. With increase in the adoption of open source Android OS, there has been a considerable rise in the malware attacks as well. As per the third quarter report of McAfee, Malware attack on Android devices has increased by 37% since last quarter, making Android the most attacked mobile operating system in the year 2011.
Android being an open source OS is mostly targeted by hackers & developers for malware attacks. You can term malware as a malicious code or program that monitors & sends personal data from cell phone to another device. These programs harm the users by sending out personal information to unintended recipients or it might gain root access on the device and share your netbanking passwords or other critical information with the hacker.
The lack of code signing and application review process on Android Market has been a blessing for malware developers. Google’s take on malware attacks is entirely different from other OS makers. Though, the company allows developers to freely post their work in Android market, it also reviews & removes malicious content. To some extent, Google has controlled malware in its app market. But, the open platform allows users to download apps from various other sources, which is a true challenge for Google.
Instead of expecting Google to take preventive actions to counter malware, users these days have realized the requirement to control such attacks at their end. Here we are specifically talking about the safety of Android phones. So, below is the info about top 5 third-party anti-malware software for your Android device:
Norton Mobile Security Lite
A free security app for your Android device, Norton Mobile Security Lite provides protection against loss, theft, and malware. The anti-malware tool scans the downloaded applications as well as updates received to check if there’s any malware threat. It will also block phishing websites that try to scan your mobile to get access to your personal information such as bank account number, password, pin etc. Other features include –
- Remote lock feature to remotely lock the phone and erase all the data, in case it’s lost or stolen
- Call & text blocking
Kaspersky Mobile Security
Besides providing protection against malware, Kaspersky Mobile Security has privacy protection option. This gives you control over the contacts, SMS, and call logs you want to hide or unhide. In case the mobile phone is lost, you can track it down with the built-in GPS Find feature of the software. Other features include:
- Remote lock to block the device so that nobody gets access to phone data, if it gets stolen or misplaced. This is done by just sending an SMS to your mobile number.
- Give an extra level of security to your device with the encryption feature. This will help you in hiding the folder you think contains sensitive data or shouldn't be shared with everyone.
- Anti-spam feature will allow you to choose the numbers you want to keep in the blacklist mode. With this feature, you will be able to take calls or receive messages from numbers except those present in the anti-spam list.
There's a parental control feature in the Kaspersky Mobile Security suite, which allows you to block outgoing calls or SMSes sent to undesirable numbers. Once you install the software in your kid's cellphone, you will also be able to track his/her exact location at any time of day or night.
Lookout Mobile Security
Lookout Mobile Security was one of the first security apps for Google's Android phones. Being a light weight anti-malware software, it will not drain your battery or make the cellphone slow. It will prevent your device from connecting to an unsecured wireless network or downloading a malicious app. Moreover, it will also tell you which application download would result in accessing your personal data in the phone. This way, you can take better control of phone security and privacy. It is a relief for those who access their bank accounts or make payments using their mobile phones.
The anti-malware protection comes in free and premium versions.
Available in both, free and paid versions, AVG fights against viruses & malwares as well as provides data loss & theft protection. We can call this software as real-time scanner that will identify apps & settings, which may slow down the phone. It has an application, file, settings, and safe web surfing scanner to keep your phone malware & spam free while making a call, downloading music, videos & apps, or while web browsing.
AVG also filters the SMS received by your phone to protect your phone's inbox and keep the device spam free. It also has a stolen phone feature through which you can identify the device location on Google Maps, in case it gets stolen or lost.
NetQin uses twin-engine anti-virus technology to provide protection against malwares & viruses without affecting the speed of the device. It has multiple scanning options including – One-touch scan, Full scan, Scheduled scan, and Real-time protection. Here are the features of the software:
- Anti-lost feature – Runs on GPS tracking and full cross-server contacts backup system to provide protection to user's data.
- It automatically blocks the malicious websites while they are being opened-up in the browser.
- You will also get real-time information of data usage in the phone. Infact, you can also decide the maximum data usage limit in the phone so that you do not exceed the limit.