After coming out of Beta toward the end of December, avast! Free Mobile Security has gained much attention. These guys are offering everything the other anti-virus/security apps bring to the table and then some. Complete with root features (yes, you heard that right), this is the fullest security app we have ever used. All for a price everyone can afford – free.
We’ve recently been talking about the idea of anti-virus apps in the Android ecosystem. A Googler has even gone into detail, mentioning that “virus companies are playing on your fears to try to sell you BS protection software for Android, RIM and iOS.” He then goes on to call them charlatans and scammers.
There are two main types of dangers, though: malware/phishing (rare, but possible) and physically loosing your device. Android holds a huge market and may become a main target soon. This is why Windows users are at more danger than other PC operating systems.
Owning an Android smartphone comes with great responsibilities. These gadgets are not only nice and expensive, but their value extends to its power. These are very powerful devices and usually hold information that should not fall into the wrong hands, whether it be physically or virtually. One of the apps that best protects you happens to be avast! Mobile Security, so let’s take a look at its features.
While not the most exciting (because all other competing apps offer it), this is the main function of the avast! app. There are certain apps or files that will put your device and private information at risk. There are many who believe smart app-shopping can get rid of such worries.
It is definitely good to read app reviews, stick to official app stores (avoid piracy), revise the permissions and make sure you do not download a “fake” app. These practices will put you in a safe position, but many users are not always that attentive. Even if they are, there’s always a small risk.
A bit of extra protection has never harmed anyone (and it isn’t really a battery hog). Avast! Mobile Security will spot any app or file that is potentially dangerous. This app allows you to run full scans on both your phone and your microSD card. If it happens to find a dangerous app/file, a notification will alert you and give you the option to delete it.
It is also important to note that avast! is very proud of its virus protection software. They attest to the fact that this is no simple black-list virus protection. Avast! looks into every file and app, searching deep into its backbone for any dangerous coding.
The avast! software also checks every app that is installed on your device, informing you if it is secure before you ever use it. This happens right at the moment of installation (just like Lookout and some other competitors). I have never ran into any virus/malware on my device, but we saw a good demonstration straight from the avast! team. It works as advertised.
This is a very simple and straight-forward feature and can also be very helpful. Privacy Advisor looks into each app, letting you know which have access to potentially dangerous permissions. It organizes them by permission category.
After accessing the Privacy Advisor window, there will be a list of permissions with a number right next to it. This indicates how many apps have access to the given permission. This includes apps that have access to your location, phone identity info, contacts, etc.
After tapping on a permission, it will display all the apps that have access to it. You can see more details by tapping on specific apps. You can access the system info, force close it, and read what each permission allows the application to do. It’s simple and organized and may help you spot which apps have access to things that they probably should not.