People have been using their mobile devices increasingly to do all the tasks previously reserved for computers, workstations, and even servers sometimes. Android devices account for over two-thirds of the mobile market, which means there are billions of people using these devices.
For hackers, groups, and collectives, this means the Android market is a ripe target for malware, cyberattacks, and everything else you would absolutely need a good antivirus solution for. Here’s how to find a good one.
1. Go with a Known and Respected Developer
There are a ton of antivirus and mobile security apps out there for Android devices. They range in price and features, and all make similar claims half the time. With antivirus protection for any device, you should always choose a reputable name. Although, not all reputable names have an excellent reputation.
This is where you need to do some research and comparisons between different antivirus providers. Name aside, there’s more to choosing an antivirus solution for your mobile device, but starting with a known name can help narrow the field of prospects considerably.
2. Find an Antivirus Solution That Has Lab Results
Antivirus testing labs vet antivirus programs, put them through tests, and compare them. Most reputable antivirus software developers often tout their independent lab results. If no labs have tested the antivirus and no other reputable source of information can vouch for the software, then it’s probably best to avoid it altogether.
When review sites compare cybersecurity software, you notice that they almost always point out how well the software performed in independent lab testing, which makes up part of their overall decision to recommend a piece of software or not. Some things an AV lab might test include:
- Protection results—how much malware it detects and how many false positives.
- If the performance of the software lacks speed and efficiency.
- How the software affects the performance of the device it’s on.
- If the software contains usability issues that might lower its efficiency or performance.
- What additional features add to the efficacy of the software.
The lab will assign points for the categories they test, then give the software an overall score. The published results give a ton of insight into what antivirus software for Android will work wonders and which you should probably avoid. Although, the performance of antivirus programs change frequently.
An upgrade to the app and some tweaks over a year can often mean yesterday’s poor performer can become tomorrow’s star antivirus program. So, make sure when you’re looking for antivirus protection for your Android device, you’re looking at current results.
3. Look for Features You Actually Need or Want
These days, antivirus software often plays the role of a full cybersecurity suite. That means you don’t have to settle for the bare minimum when it comes to protecting your Android device. For example, does the software:
- Give you real-time protection
- Secures against more than basic threats
- Offer mobile internet security
If it does all these things, and you find multiple options that do, then you can refine your choice even more. For example, is there a password management feature? Does it prevent apps from doing nefarious things? That’s an important one, especially for the Android ecosystem where bad applications can come from anywhere with no real restrictions to downloading them.
Just like software on a computer, an application can carry many types of malware or perform malicious activities in the background without your knowledge.
4. You Definitely Want Something Fast and Unobtrusive
Antivirus programs have a notorious reputation for slowing systems down, especially during scans. While that’s somewhat tolerable on a computer, it’s definitely not the type of thing you want to happen on your mobile device.
However, some antivirus software for Android can help to speed up your device without taking up too much screen time, resources, or otherwise slowing you down when you need your device working for you on demand. You can try trials of most antivirus software to get a feel for the interface and performance before purchasing a license or subscription.
Of course, with free options, you can just try them at will and get rid of them if they give you no joy. With mention of pricing, another thing to look out for is billing transparency. Look for complaints, but remember, every individual experience isn’t indicative of the overall quality of the service.
5. Look for Cross Platform Protection
These days, many people spend a lot of time on various devices, not just one. An antivirus for phone that also covers other devices is a necessity. You likely log into the same sites, use some of the same tools, and use multiple devices as if they’re all extensions of one. In a way, they are. Which is why you should look for a modern antivirus solution that goes beyond just mobile security.
In some cases, finding the best antivirus solution for your Android device can take some trial and error. Nevertheless, securing your devices should remain a top priority no matter what solution you choose.