Best Antivirus for Android Smartphones and Tablets
Antivirus software programs are paramount for digital privacy and security. Having low security means that your sensitive data: banking details, passwords, confidential messages, and real-time locations are exposed, allowing open access to any cybercriminal who would like to make illegal and unethical use of your personal identity. Read on to find out how an antivirus protects you and find out which one is the most suitable for your Android device.
Why do we need the best antivirus for Android?
Android devices are open source, as compared to iPhones that are too proprietary and have closed systems. Open source means that anybody can modify the source code of applications you are using and can insert malware and control your system. Android devices also allow users to download mobile applications from third-party developers, outside of Google Play Store. This way, these devices always have a security gap that should be filled using the best antivirus software for Android devices.
Unlike PC and other devices which get traditional viruses that typically replicate themselves, affect the files and folders, and destroy the operating system, your Android devices may get a virus only by allowing permission to a dubious app. Such apps keep running in the background, extract a device’s location, monitor your activity rate on different social media, the web pages you visit and trace the passwords you use on different platforms. By accessing this data, cybercriminals and attackers can misuse this data to an extent you can only imagine. Here’s a list of 5 common viruses that affected Android devices in 2020:
What happens if an Android device gets infected?
When your Android device or tablet gets a virus, it starts showing offensive advertisements. Plus, you will be redirected to malicious web pages while surfing the internet. Your device will perform poorly, your battery will drain before the stipulated time and your internet connection might break after short intervals. In some cases, viruses also consume a lot of data and share suspicious content with the contact cards saved on your device.
How should I protect my Android device from virus?
In order to ensure digital safety, you need to practice 2 mainstream standards for protection.
- Keep your device free from malware. Use the best antivirus for Android, preferably from a reputable manufacturer. When choosing specific software, critically evaluate its basic functions, features, Wi-Fi security, add-ons, speed, and price.
- Secure your device from cyber threats arising from network security breaches. Downloading and using a VPN will keep your online presence safe from third-party attacks and data leaks.
5 Best Antivirus for Android
This list features top programs that were tried and tested by reputable institutes using strict security benchmarks including thousands of malicious and non-malicious programs, response time and their ability to locate the mobile devices remotely. 2 out of them are paid antivirus programs while other 3 have free versions with sponsored advertisements.
1. Bitdefender Mobile Security
- Minimal Impact on smartphone and tablet’s performance
- Superb Anti-theft features
- 14 days free trial
- Internet connection required for cloud-based scanning
- Starting from $14.99/year for 1 device
Bitdefender tops the list of best antivirus apps for Android devices, it also secured the highest score in AV-Test roundup.
It allows you to locate and lock your cell phone remotely and wipe off all data in case you’ve lost your device. Research report proved that Bitdefender prevented 99.99% malware, which is logically the best any antivirus program can offer. It monitors all the activity around your email accounts and notifies in case of potential breaches. This software’s privacy advisor tool analyzes the activity pattern on your cell phone and provides real-time protection recommendations. It suggests quick steps for improved security. The app seems pricey as it covers only 1 device, yet offers more benefits in the long-run than meet the eye.
2. McAfee Mobile Security for Android
- Wi-Fi connection monitor
- App checker
- Limited web protection
The free version of McAfee mobile antivirus enhances logged device’s speed and performance, regulates battery consumption and comes with an app checker. Its regular app scanner checks if installed apps are contributing to data breaches or leaks. Though McAfee only provides limited web protection on its free version, it still qualifies as the best antivirus for Android because of its additional functionality of examining network security keys before a user connects his device to a Wi-Fi.
3. Avast Mobile Security
- Free access with unlimited coverage
- Efficient junk cleaner
Being one of the best free antivirus programs for Android, Avast has over 100 million installs and an average rating of 4.7 on Google Play. It monitors storage space, regulates the activity rate and hours spent on apps, boosts a device’s performance, controls battery and data consumption and detects harmful apps before downloading. It has intermediate level protection tools similar to Bitdefender, McAfee and Norton antivirus programs, yet the app can sometimes seem annoying because of the forced advertisements users have to view on the free version. However, users may get access to an ad-free version with an app-locker by paying a minimal subscription fee.
4. Norton Mobile Security for Android
- Proactive app monitor
- Strong prevention of online scams
- Automatic protection against suspicious phone calls and fraudulent websites
- Expensive as compared to other best antivirus for Android
Norton Mobile Security App covers 3 devices, which is an obvious plus-point as compared to Bitdefender. It has a highly efficient app advisor which evaluates apps from Google Play Store even before a user attempts to download them. Generated app reports usually contain important details like battery and data consumption, and suggest if the respective free or premium apps are worth downloading at the cost of their security protocols. The software also blocks all potential types of ransomware, adware, offensive advertisements and redirects. The company runs discounts and marketing campaigns offering the app for $14.99/ year, a price in which Bitdefender would only protect 1 device.
5. Kaspersky Internet Security
- Efficient anti-theft features
- Free software with maximum protection
- No anti-phishing features in the basic app
- Requires manual scanning
Being a heavy-weight competitor to McAfee’s free antivirus for Android, it has a highly effective anti-theft feature that does not only lock or locate the mobile device but also captures a snap of the user; this feature is super useful if your cell phone is stolen. You can conveniently trace your phone by setting an alarm via remote connection. Unlike its paid version, you may have to manually scan for viruses and other malicious files on your device. To cover this, it is recommended to use a reliable VPN service alongside your antivirus program to ensure maximum digital safety.
Why should you use a VPN even with the best antivirus for Android?
An antivirus app alone cannot guarantee 100% internet safety because such a program is primarily designed to block malicious software from affecting your device. To keep your overall digital footprint private and your identity secure, you need 2 layers of protection. While an antivirus acts as the first layer and ensures device-level security, a top-notch VPN service forms the second layer while providing network-level privacy.
Antivirus programs are integral for your Android device’s digital and physical safety. Installing software, whether paid or free, can safeguard your crucial information, maintain your device’s performance and assist you in making informed decisions while downloading new applications from Google Play and third-party platforms. The best antivirus, however, is not the only key to security. You also need to monitor the incoming traffic and take strong measures to protect any data you have ever shared online.