Virus creators find new loopholes in the security of mobile devices, using them to enrich themselves. They make a profit by introducing applications that send paid SMS themselves. You can cash in on advertising or theft of the personal data of users. An ordinary smartphone owner is unarmed against the tricks of intruders.
In order to increase your chances of winning against hackers, you should use special software – antivirus. Let’s talk about why you need an antivirus and what you should pay attention to when choosing reliable antivirus software for Android.
Why Do You Need Antivirus Protection?
The Android operating system is developing and becoming more reliable and resistant to various hacks. In addition to adding useful features, Google pays due attention to security. Since 2017, Play Protection technology has been used. Based on machine learning, the system scans the official Google Play store for dangerous code. The system also analyzes installed applications.
You can run an operating system scan manually in the Play Store app. Just go to the menu and open the “My apps and games” section. In the “Updates” tab, the first active element is the system analyzer. If everything is in order, then the column says “No threats detected”. Clicking on the arrow on the right launches the scanner.
Despite all the efforts of Google, the company is not able to guarantee complete protection. Separate malware finds ways to bypass the blocking system. According to a recent report by Bitdefender in August 2022, two million users fell victim to the next set of malicious apps on Google Play.
Even greater risks are associated with the installation of third-party applications from “Unknown sources”, which are modified by hackers and infected with viruses. More than 99% of infected devices became infected due to user naivety and redirects to sites to download applications.
How to reduce the risk of system infection? Install antivirus. Before launching programs, the built-in scanner detects the presence of dangerous code. If the application is infected, then the antivirus software blocks the work.
Benefits of Antivirus for Android
Some advantages of an antivirus application are obvious, others are not:
- Increasing the degree of protection. The risk of infecting a phone with additional protection is many times lower.
- Improving the protection of personal data. Viruses are aimed at stealing payment or other information. If an infection cannot be detected at the installation stage, the antivirus catches all “shadow” methods of data transfer and warns the user.
- Additional abilities of protective applications. Most antiviruses have auxiliary and useful functionality. The list includes: cleaning the device from debris, tracking the position of the gadget, firewall, smartphone usage reports, and parental control.
How to Choose the Best Antivirus for Your Android Smartphone or Tablet?
Modern applications for protecting mobile devices not only can neutralize malware but also have many other useful features. However, antivirus still remains an important part of absolutely any security program for Android.
What is the difference between a good antivirus and a bad one? And how to choose the best antivirus? There are many parameters by which you can compare antiviruses for Android. Fortunately, independent test labs are doing just that, checking security solutions and giving them ratings for each of these parameters. Let’s look at them in more detail.
Percentage of threats detected (Detection Rate)
The antivirus should catch all applications that misbehave or try to stealthily sneak onto your smartphone. A good antivirus will have a high detection rate in independent tests. This means that during the scan, it notices and blocks the maximum number of threats.
For example, according to independent lab AV-TEST, a good Android antivirus catches, on average, 98% of real-time malware and 100% of the latest threats detected in the last four weeks.
Another parameter is erroneous (or false positive) positives. It shows how often your antivirus raises an alarm out of nothing.
For reference, a high-end antivirus gives only 1 false positive in 2385 legitimate applications from Google Play – and does not make any mistakes at all if it deals with legitimate programs from third-party stores. This means that he will almost never bother you out of business.
The third parameter shows how fast the antivirus works and how much it affects the speed of the system and the battery consumption of your smartphone. In testing, this characteristic is referred to as performance. Naturally, the faster the solution works and the fewer resources it consumes, the better. Ideally, antivirus for Android should work invisibly when nothing dangerous is happening.
Security solutions for Android include not only antiviruses but also a lot of other useful features. This also needs to be taken into account. Below is a list of features that you should pay attention to (AV-TEST also takes their presence into account when evaluating mobile security tools):
- Anti-theft – allows you to remotely block a lost or stolen device, as well as clean information from it.
- Call blocking – Prevents spammers and other unwanted callers from calling your phone.
- Message filter – the same, but for SMS.
- Safe browser – Prevents your browser from loading malicious pages.
- Parental control – allows parents to limit the amount of time their children use the device, as well as block access to certain applications and filter content available from the device on the Internet.
- Backup – used to create backup copies of photos and other necessary data.
- Encryption – allows you to encrypt the contents of the device or create a VPN connection for a secure Internet connection.
Your Android antivirus feature list should include some of these features, and ideally some more. For example, an anti-phishing module that filters out phishing attempts, and privacy protection that avoids the ubiquitous snooping on the Internet.
So, the best antivirus for an Android smartphone should have the highest detection rate, affect performance and battery life as little as possible, and rarely give false positives.
Where can you find data that will help you compare antivirus solutions by these parameters? The answer is simple: on the websites of independent testing laboratories, which often publish such information. Here, for example, independent tests AV-TEST, AV Comparatives, and TechUntouch. Compare their data and check out the list of additional features to see which Android security solution is right for you.
And remember that today antivirus for Android is not a luxury, but a necessity. The choice is yours, but Android devices need protection just as much as regular computers.