7 Reliable Security Apps for Android in 2021
Android devices are prone to attacks because this is the most commonly used OS, so it provides a huge target for cybercriminals. You need to research the different types of malware and what they do so that you can see why it’s necessary for you to install an antivirus app on your Android device.
Mobile device use is on the rise: As reported by Tech Crunch, mobility firm Ericsson predicts that there will be over six billion smartphone users worldwide by 2021, overtaking landlines. Why? Because smartphones and tablets are quickly becoming more powerful as companies embrace the idea of bring your own device (BYOD) policies and allow users to access corporate networks with personal technology. But along with increased use comes an explosion of mobile malware — malicious code designed to target smartphones and tablets.
Is your device at risk of being attacked, hijacked or damaged? Absolutely. Researchers from the University of Cambridge found that 87 percent of all Android smartphones are exposed to at least one critical vulnerability, while Zimperium Labs discovered earlier this year that 95 percent of Android devices could be hacked with a simple text message. Apple isn’t immune either. In September, 40 apps were pulled from the official app store because they were infected with XcodeGhost, a form of malware designed to turn Apple devices into a large-scale botnet. Despite Apple’s vaunted protection, the malware not only sneaked through but was layered on top of legitimate apps, making it difficult to detect.
Popular Types of Mobile Malware
While mobile malware hasn’t quite caught up to its PC counterpart in terms of volume or complexity, IT security pros are seeing more mobile-specific malware designed to prey on smartphone features or tablet vulnerabilities. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular types now making the rounds:
Banking Malware: As noted by Dark Reading, banking-based mobile malware is on the rise, as hackers look to compromise users who prefer conducting all of their business — including money transfers and bill payments — from their mobile devices. More than 1.6 million malicious installation packages were found in Q3 2015, many of them Trojans designed to infiltrate devices and then deploy, collecting bank login and password details, which are then sent back to a command and control (C&C) server. In Q3 2015, mobile banking Trojans were the fastest-growing threat in the wild.
Mobile Ransomware: First made popular on PCs, ransomware “locks out” important user data such as documents, photos and videos by encrypting this information and then demanding a ransom be paid to the malware makers. If the ransom isn’t paid on time — usually in Bitcoin — all files are deleted or simply locked up —forever inaccessible to the user. According to International Data Group (IDG), 74 percent of companies reported a security breach in 2015, with ransomware being one of the most prevalent threats; malware creators leveraged both improved smartphone performance and the anonymous Tor network to infect devices and encrypt stored data.
Mobile Spyware: Loaded as a program onto your device, spyware monitors your activity, records your location and lifts critical information, such as usernames and passwords for email accounts or e-commerce sites. In many cases, spyware is packaged with other seemingly benign software and quietly collects data in the background. You may not even notice the presence of spyware until device performance degrades or you run an anti-malware scanner on your tablet or phone. As noted by Krebs on Security, spyware is now big business: Companies like mSpy create “legitimate” apps that concerned parents or spouses can use to “keep track” of their children or partners. Ironically, mSpy was hacked in May 2015, putting to bed any notion of “safe” spyware.
MMS Malware: Malware makers are also looking for ways to exploit text-based communication as a way to deliver malware. As noted by CSO Online, a vulnerability in Android’s media library, Stagefright, made it possible for attackers to send a text message embedded with malware to any mobile number. Even if users didn’t open or acknowledge the text, the malware could still deploy, allowing hackers root access to your mobile device. The problem was quickly patched but offered proof of text-based infections.
Mobile Adware: Adware has come a long way from being nothing more than annoying pop-ups and data collection. For many adware makers, revenue depends on the number of clicks and downloads they receive, and according to ZDNet, some have now created “malvertising” code that can infect and root your device, forcing it to download specific adware types and allowing attackers to steal personal information.
SMS Trojans: Cybercriminals are infecting mobile devices by preying on what users love most about their phones: text messages. SMS trojans wreak financial havoc by sending SMS messages to premium-rate numbers across the world, racking up users’ phone bills. In 2015, some Android users were infected with a banking trojan that could intercept text messages that included financial information and then send a copy of the text message through email, giving cybercriminals all the information they needed to infiltrate financial accounts.
List of Known Android Malware Apps in 2021
In the previous section, we got to know about the top 10 Android malware types. Now we will list out the top dangerous Android applications that carry or promote those malware.
Here is the list of the top 25 known Android Malware Apps of 2021:
- All Good PDF Scanner
- Blue Scanner
- Paper Doc Scanner
- Care Message
- Wifi Pasword Cracker
- Desire Translate
- Direct Messenger
- Tangram App Lock
- Wallpaper girls
- Hummingbird PDF Converter – Photo to PDF
- Meticulous Scanner
- Idea Security
- Google Play Service [com.demo.testinh]
- Unique Keyboard – Fancy Fonts & Free Emoticons
- Talent Photo Editor – Blur focus
- Mint Leaf Message-Your Private Message
- Shortcut name
- One Sentence Translator – Multifunctional Translator
- Part Message
- Private SMS
- Style Photo Collage
The different types of malicious software affecting Android devices aren’t going anywhere any time soon. Cybercriminals are becoming smarter every single day. So the best that we can do is to stay safe by protecting our privacy. A good Anti-Malware tool will stop various attacks that try to get around built-in Android defenses.
Top 7 security apps that you should choose from
When it comes to reliability in security tools, the options at hand are innumerable.
In this post, we’ll discuss seven reliable antivirus apps for android in 2021. Some of them are freely available, while others need to be paid for. These apps are guaranteed to offer you high standard malware detection and prevention.
Bitdefender Mobile Security
This is not a free version. The premium version goes for $15 per year.
This security app is the best-paid option as it provides very tight security. Its main features are:
- No ads.
- App lock.
- A Wi-Fi scanner.
- Data-breach notifications.
- Anti-theft measures.
- A smart tie-in with phones.
- Minimal system impact.
- Excellent malware protection.
- Affordable premium version.
- Unlimited VPN option that’s a bit expensive.
This security app has a wealth of features that enable it to offer great protection for your device.
Bitdefender gives its users real-time protection as well as an advisor that makes intelligent suggestions for security after studying your patterns. The anti-theft capability enables you to find your device or wipe the data remotely.
This security app provides innovative mobile defenses. It offers impressive features that add up to provide a great level of protection for your Android device.
There’s no free version; the paid version is $30, and this costs more than most of the other premium apps. Its features include:
- No ads.
- Intuitive design.
- Blocks spam calls.
- Great antimalware protection.
- Amazing anti-theft features.
- Three devices covered.
- App advisor that checks for possible privacy issues.
- Wi-Fi security that notifies you when you’re connected to insecure networks.
This app offers top-notch protection. However, it doesn’t provide any anti-theft function, and neither does it offer contact backup.
The price is quite eye-catching. This software costs a lot more than other security apps even though it lacks some capabilities such as app lock for individual applications that are offered by other security programs.
This is a top-rated security app thanks to the numerous features bundled in the Pro version. The free version delivers an above-average level of security for free. Some of its amazing features include:
- Anti-theft measures.
- Excellent anti-theft capabilities.
- Offers robust antimalware protection.
- May cover an unlimited number of devices.
- A 14-day trial period for the Pro version. The Premium version offers its users lots of additional features and allows you to get rid of the annoying ads.
After the two weeks trial period, if you wish to pay for the premium version, you get amazing features, including app lock, a Wi-Fi scanner, and extended anti-theft capabilities such as the device locking itself if the SIM card is changed. Other additional security features include blocking spam calls.
This is a reliable security app that offers strong anti malware protection. The premium version costs $20 per year. Generally, the free version has limited features. For example, it doesn’t auto-scan new apps that are being downloaded. The premium version is loved for the following features:
- Call blocking capabilities.
- Anti-theft measures.
- No ads even for the free version.
- The premium version offers app lock.
- Wi-Fi security scanner for the paid version.
- Unlimited devices are covered for the free version.
This security feature may either be referred to as Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus or Kaspersky Internet Security. The software offers almost-perfect protection for Android devices, which explains why it’s among the big players.
This is an amazing free security app for android. The biggest problem is that it shows so many ads. Its top features include:
- Performance boosting capabilities (RAM booster).
- Unlimited covered devices for the free plan.
- Junk cleaner that lets you delete junk files.
- Wi-Fi security scanner.
- Anti-theft feature.
You can never go wrong with this app. Not only do you get to enjoy its amazing security features, but you also get to enjoy a wide range of features for free.
This is yet another household name when it comes to reliable security apps. It offers Android users a wide range of features that don’t disappoint. The main features are:
- Checks installed apps for data leakage.
- Offers performance-boosting capabilities.
- Amazing anti-theft features.
- Privacy checker.
- Useful guest mode.
- Ads show in the free version.
- The premium version is quite expensive.
You can use this app to track a lost device, wipe it, or lock it from wherever you are.
This app’s highlight is that it checks other installed apps to see whether they’re leaking sensitive personal data. When any issues are found, the responsible app is locked.
The paid version is relatively pricey, but considering the number of features that users have access to, the price that they have to pay is well worth the expense.
Google Play Protect
Last but not least, we have the Google Play Protect. It may have limited features, but it still gets the job done. Its key sell points include:
- Built into Android.
- No ads.
- App lock capability.
- Find my Device capability.
- Good anti-theft measures.
If you cannot afford a third-party security app, this will offer malware protection even though it’s not the best for the job.
Which is our best security app for Android?
The seven reliable apps rounded up above are from the biggest names in the industry. They are rated in terms of set up, interface, ease of usability, additional features, and their anti-malware capabilities.
When tested for overall performance by checking the usefulness of the features offered and using the AV test, Bitdefender Mobile Security is found to offer close to perfect protection and offers its users a range of features. Norton and Kaspersky are not far behind. Avast, McAfee, and Google Play Protect are good but aren’t great.
The most reliable security app for Android on our list not only offers top-notch malware detection and outstanding protection but also offers a wide range of privacy, anti-theft features and in cases where corrupt data is found, it should clean up your junk files and folders.
Other Tips to Protect Your Device
So how do you keep your mobile device free of malicious code? Try these simple steps:
Use secure Wi-Fi. While this won’t stop you from navigating to an infected website, using password-protected Wi-Fi connections keeps unwanted third parties from snooping or carrying out man-in-the-mobile attacks between your device and your intended Web destination.
Watch your email. The devices may have changed, but the threat remains the same: Many attackers still rely on malicious email attachments to infect your phone or tablet. Don’t click on links in email and other messages, as these may direct you to phishing or malware websites — this applies to all mobile platforms.
Be consistent. Only download apps from trusted sources. This ensures that the apps are legitimate and not havens for mobile malware.
Install antivirus protection. Antivirus and anti-malware solutions are now popping up for mobile devices; install one from a trusted source, then run it regularly to ensure your device is clean. Also, watch out for malware masquerading as virus protection: only download legitimate apps from trusted sources.
Don’t jailbreak or root your device. Doing so increases your risk of infection from untrusted third-party sources. Stay rooted and benefit from automatic security updates and patches.
Mobile malware is on the rise, with attackers shifting their efforts to smartphones and tablets as global mobile markets come under attack. Staying secure means recognizing your risk, understanding common threats and following basic mobile security best practices.
People carry out so many transactions using Android enabled devices, and this can leave your credentials easily exposed if you don’t get a security tool installed. The best way to keep your Android device safe is to make sure that the security apps are up to date.
A reliable security app should run random automatic scans to make sure that you’re actively protected from any malicious activity. The software prevents any suspicious website from being opened and should also scan other apps before download.
If you do not have a robust antivirus app installed on your Android device, you’re putting yourself at risk of attack, which could result in potential theft or loss of data.
A dedicated Career Coach, Agile Trainer and certified Senior Portfolio and Project Management Professional and writer holding a bachelor’s degree in Structural Engineering and over 20 years of professional experience in Professional Development / Career Coaching, Portfolio/Program/Project Management, Construction Management, and Business Development. She is the Content Manager of ProjectCubicle.