Jan 08 AT 12:02 PM Edgar Cervantes 60 Comments

avast! Free Mobile Security – The best anti-theft solution on the market


Anti-Theft (with Root Features)

Now this is where the fun begins. With avast!’s acquisition of Theft Aware, its anti-theft services have been taken to a whole new level. Odds are you won’t get any viruses on your phone. But how many of us have lost a device in the past? Many.

These devices hold our life. From social networks and contacts to bank and credit card information. You definitely don’t want anyone having power over such private details.

After testing avast!’s anti-theft solution, I can honestly say that this app offers the most full-featured service available. It is a whole other application by itself (literally). Remote actions include lock, wipe and siren, as well as an abundance of remote text commands. (You can see them at their website).

Remote text commands are an amazing addition to this mobile security app. Yes, you can locate, lock/unlock, turn on the siren, and wipe a device, but that’s not where it ends. You can access all types of information, apps and settings. The list includes accessing your contacts, changing all settings within the avast! app, and even initiating a remote call (letting you listen to the thief). All you need to do is send a text message to the lost device, starting with the password (selected after installation), and then write the remote command code (listed in the website).

After installation, the user is prompted to choose two “friend numbers.” You can set these text commands to only be available via the specified phone numbers. This will stop any user with access to your password from controlling your device.

Avast! also features SIM card change notifications. If the thief happens to change the SIM card, you will be notified of such action. If this action occurs, you can set the phone to be locked, the siren to be activated, or even have message sent to you with the new number, as well as the location. Multiple account users can also set up a “white list” of SIM cards to be used with the device.

The reason I say this is “literally” a whole application is because it really is. The anti-theft portion of avast! Free Mobile Security is another .apk file, which can be named whatever you wish it to show up as, and has an unrecognizable icon (stealth).

After installation you will be asked to download a separate package for the anti-theft features. Both of these apps work completely parallel to each other, but separately. You can uninstall the avast! main app, and the anti-theft app works perfectly on its own. Add root access to the equation, and you can even install anti-theft straight to the system files. This will allow you to keep tracking and controlling a device even after a factory data reset (does not bypass a ROM flash – not like most people even know how to do this, though). Now that is impressive.

It is important to note that auto-GPS can only be set with root access. Google has blocked automatic access to GPS within Android 2.3 Gingerbread. This means that it is only possible to activate GPS through direct interaction. But if this is nothing that “superuser” powers can’t take care of.

After testing all these features, no problem was found. The only downside (for now) is that there is no website portal for this, like there is for competing products. It would be much easier to do all of these tasks through a website, instead of having to rely on texts for location data, as well as all the other services. The avast! team has given us word that this part of the service is under development, though, and it should be released sometime in Q1 2012.

This may be a bit of a downside, but we will be getting the website soon enough. When it is released, avast! will be even more amazing. In a private demonstration, we were able to send texts straight from the Theft Aware site, and using all the available anti-theft services was a breeze. The interface was very well organized, and it was definitely much simpler than the text commands.


The anti-theft team (formerly Theft Aware) highly emphasized the importance of stealth when I attended their presentation. While some thieves may not think as far, many of them may have a bit of knowledge in smartphone technology. In which case, they would try to get rid of any type of tracking software installed in the device.

For the avast! team, it was vital to make these apps hard to uninstall (hence why they made them separate apps). They have used a few techniques to give the bad guys a hard time.

First, the anti-theft app can be named whatever you prefer, and the icon is not recognizable (default system icon). You can call this app “Notes,” or even something that will disguise it more, like “binaries,” or “cache.” Anything that does not grab get the thief’s attention will work.

After anti-theft is enabled, the app goes on “Stealth Mode.” This means that it disappears from your app drawer, and is much harder for someone to find it.

You can also get rid of the avast! notification, which is pretty flashy. And the GPS icon does not show up in the notification bar when being tracked.

All of these in conjunction allow you to stay in control of your device for a longer period of time. The chances of protecting your information, and even getting the device back, are much higher.


avast! Free Mobile Security is one of the most (if not the most) full-featured security apps out there, with anti-theft solutions that blow the competition out of the water. The team has done a tremendous job protecting your PCs, and seeing them jump into the mobile world is exciting, as well as expected by all avast! users. Whether you believe anti-virus apps are a scam or not, there is at least one thing in this app you will probably want to take advantage of.

We highly recommend that you try this app. After all, it won’t cost you a penny. Its profusion of security features and amazing anti-theft services are nothing to scoff at. Not to mention avast!’s ingenious use of root access, which makes your device much more secure.

As a loyal Lookout user, I can say that it was very hard to get me to change. I even stopped using anti-virus for some time. But avast! Free Mobile Security is hard to pass by. If the developers get that anti-theft web portal released soon, and keep working as hard as they have been, the future will be bright. With a bit more polishing, no Android security app will be able to compete against avast!, especially if it continues to be free.


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Hello, I am Edgar Cervantes. I am an avid Android fan, and keeping myself updated on the topic is part of my daily life. I will always work hard to give the best of me to our community of Android enthusiasts, and I am very honored to be part of this ship. Hopefully we can all enjoy sharing our knowledge and opinions!

    Most Tweeted This Week

  • http://goo.gl/tQ2E wwJOSHdo

    Mine keeps saying the definitions are out of date, but won’t let me update! Gerrrr

    • aranea

      I have the same problem. If I go through the app itself and check for updates then it says it’s up to date.

    • vid500

      Yes mine to, i had to restart the device to update. But now it looks like it works just fine.

      • aranea

        Hmm I haven’t tried restarting. I’ll try it next time. Do you guys have the password protection to open the app too? And I run this on my Atrix. I’m trying to find some common ground that may help them solve the problem.

  • staryoshi

    I dabbled with the app and it was solid – I’ve had great experiences with Avast! on the PC in the past, too. I will consider using it again if I root my phone.

    This article reads more like a paid advertisement than an overview, though… (Even though it’s for a free product) – Just my two cents.

  • Donald Williams

    Downloaded and giving it a try. I am sure I dont need it but ya never know when it may come in handy especially since i have some shady workers.

  • spazby

    I have lookout and am very happy with it…

  • http://youtube.com/user/jawckamoe Marcus

    I downloaded this app when you guys mentioned it a couple of weeks ago. I used Lookout before and when I downloaded avast!, I fell in love. It was really the root features that made me stay with avast!. I highly recommend this app. The anti-theft settings are great, and everything about it is nice and smooth.

  • David Hughes

    Great app, I like the enhancments when rooted too, Galaxy Nexus

  • http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/profile.php?id=583695634&ref=profile Rahul Singh

    I have been using this app for about 2-3 weeks and it’s the best mobile security.. and if your phone is rooted you can access the firewall feature.. great app!

  • Ivan Samuelson

    What about recovery mode and preventing flashing a rom or doing an sbf? That would wipe out the app.

    • Probiewankenobi

      One of the features that you get if your phone is rooted, is the ability to install the app deep into the phone so that it won’t get erased from a hard-reset.

  • McLovin

    I also downloaded this a few weeks ago and was very impressed. I’ve had Lookout Mobile Security installed since the beginning. I got a bit concerned a while back with the reports that all these apps were not very good at detection.


    So I went crazy and downloaded several. But then the Google guys came out and said it was all scare tactics.


    I noticed my phone becoming very sluggish and have since uninstalled most all of them. My phone runs much faster now. LOL

  • cristian cristiandonose

    Coming from Bitdefender and im very happy i did because this free and much better app.

  • Lightning7

    Features (especially stealth mode) are all very essential just for added protection. Prevention is better than cure.

  • romy134

    Got it, works good. Now just need to get root..

  • http://alxrock.deviantart.com alxrock

    I used to have Lookout, and stuck with it for about a year and a half (One year with Lookout Premium thanks to winning a free 1-year subscription). I just switched to Avast a few weeks ago and have been really impressed with all the features.
    I’m not worried about viruses and just keep an eye out for sketchy apps and permissions, but I like the lock, wipe, and tracking abilities. Plus if I decide to root again, there are even more great features I can tap into.

    • R.S

      Like mentioned last time Avast was written about here on Android and Me, I too had a subscription to Lookout premium. It worked great but since I never lost my phone, I didn’t really use the premium features.

      Obviously you can’t put a price on peace of mind but if Avast offers the same, if not more than Lookout, for free, why would I or anyone else pay for the premium services of Lookout that we might never need.

      • http://alxrock.deviantart.com alxrock

        Exactly. I didn’t want to pay annually for a subscription, so I almost bought Cerberus. Luckily I started seeing a lot of good reviews for Avast and realized they offered everything I wanted and more for free.

  • Ps3y3Ops

    I find that in most cases it is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. Like insurance, for instance.

  • T1beriu

    This clearly is a paid for review.

    • raptor

      A&m should disclose when this is paid ad.

    • Jennifer

      How does it look like a paid review? It looks like all their reviews, talks about the features and what he thinks of them. Just because it is a good review does not mean its paid. I am using the app and it works exactly like they said with the only thing I noticed is that it keeps telling me the defintions are out of date even though it says its up to date. Other then that no problems.

  • 666

    3 page article of a app? Hmmm… I wonder how much Androidandme got paid to post this up.

  • T1beriu

    Another example of Avast paying another website to advertise their products: http://android.modaco.com/page/news/_/android/avast-mobile-security-brings-fanastic-fre-r161

  • sylar

    Yea I like this app, I downloaded it when it was still in beta and was impressed with it then and even more now that is it out of beta. It seems to work well and has never reported me having a virus but then its hard to really know isn’t it. Still it has plenty of nice functions.

  • ArticulateFool

    One of the best apps out there!

    I would like to see some NFC security measures put into place.

  • _Diego

    I had lookout but uninstalled it since I used the free version up to now. I am very pleased to see them go moblie. As you already mentioned, they have a lot of features, serious anti-theft protection and all of that for free. Combination of success!

  • Prime

    Love avast! I’ve been using it for years on my pc, and never ran into any problems!

  • Scott

    I tried this app and I loved the breadth of features, but it unfortunately isn’t as intuitive as Lookout. I really like Lookout’s web interface for locating/wiping the device so I think I’ll stick with that. As far as the premium features, I haven’t signed up for them and probably won’t unless I actually lose-lose my phone and need to lock/wipe it. No sense in me paying for those features “in case” I lose my phone when you can simply sign up for them on a whim if needed. I’d like to use Avast as that’s what I use on my computers at home, but it offered more than I feel I need.

  • raptor

    Every novice hack will say u thank you for rooting when u will catch his virus or keylogger via app, email or website

    • TheCraiggers

      Are you a shill for Motorola, or just not very smart in general? You have to give permission to an app for it to use root.

  • Rodd Clarkson

    Windows wasn’t the most targeted because it was the most popular, it was targeted because it was the most insecure. For example when Linux and Apache had 70% of the Web server market compared to windows and IIS, it was the Windows product that was attacked because it was vastly more insecure. Keep in mind that both Linux and Apache are open source so source code availability has little to do with security.

    • TheCraiggers

      Are you seriously comparing the desktop PC market to the server market?

  • JustaCriticalThinker

    I know Android and Me writers can clearly understand the difference between “lose” and “loose” and their respective conjugations. Therefore, this must not have been written by this site and is instead clearly a paid advertisement.

    Either way, shame trying to pass this off as an article OR shame on your grasp of writing.

    • gpmillerjax

      This same article is on 32 other websites so it is safe to say that Androidandme did not write it.

      • gpmillerjax

        Also you don’t need this app on your Android device….listen to Google, they know what they are talking about.

  • Gordon

    AVAST Software a.s.
    (formerly ALWIL Software a.s.)
    Trianon Office Building
    Budejovicka 1518/13a
    140 00, Prague 4
    Czech Republic

    Czech Republic???????????

    NO THANKS!!!

  • lokidokie

    I really don’t see the point of virus protection on android.
    I’ve never used any and never had a problem.
    Though I do use avast for my PC.

    • Gordon

      i use Lookout. i like it for the -

      1. “Find My Phone” feature.
      2. App Scan for Spyware. i purposely installed “SMS Replicator” on my EVO and then scanned it with Lookout. Lookout detected it. i like that.

  • Chad

    This is the best mobile security app available for your phone if you don’t get this your undermining your security, I got this the day it hit the app market, especially since it’s free with all the features it packs. I went to T-Mo to get my sim card updated on saturday i changed the sim and turn my phone back on, I was with my girlfriend as soon as I turned the phone back on with the new sim it sent my girlfriend a GPS map of where my phone was, the IMEI number and the telephone number of the sim that was just placed inside. I was just going through a routine sim card upgrade but if my phone was stolen this would have been great protection. It also asked me for my pin once i restarted if it’s stolen and the thief doesn’t know the pin, it’ll lock your phone and you can control your phone remotely from the numbers you have listed on file, for me it’s my gf and brother. great security. get this app because it’s the best security app available in the market, it’s better than Lookout, especially if you have a high end, expensive phone or have valuable data on your phone.

  • Tom

    I have a great app. What does Android & Me charges for a “review” for page?

  • http://www.openintro.com OpenIntro

    What’s the battery life footprint like when using a mobile security application like this? Is it not always running?

  • Gordon

    i’ve read that Lookout uses about the same energy of an average email sent/received over data a day.

  • Voliam

    While the need for this may be minimal for those that aren’t rooted, don’t sideload apps, and practice safe surfing, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as they say.
    A recent article warned of the increase, in 2012, of hackers concentrating more on attacking mobile OSs, due to the rapid proliferation of mobile technology. That presents a whole new world of possibilities and challenges to hackers.
    After all, isn’t that what they live for?

  • Khayman

    I’ve used Avast, think its a great app, but really is a battery hog on my HTC Sensation. Getting half the battery life I did before. Have gone back to Lookout until it gets sorted!!

  • vid500

    I’m using it sience it came out and I’m very satisfied. I do not see a dramatic decrease of the battery power. But I still doubt the need of antivirus protection for android devices. But it can’t hurt.

  • Ngosia

    Good article,
    I am a blogger in Kenya and my phone McFee which I have been hesitant to activate since I do not have a second line for notification.
    I will give this a try coz I hate having more than one phone. I am also looking to have guest writers on my blog tech101kenya.blogspot.com. Anyone willing to be heard in this part of the world?

  • FormerYooper

    So … I have bought my first tablet (Lenovo Ideapad K1) and have installed Avast Mobile Security on it. Now, please don’t think I’m dumb … but here is my question. To have the Avast protection working, I have to have the Avast Mobile Security app running right? I know it’s a dumb question, but like I said, this is my first tablet & first experience with Android …. so I just don’t know.

    Just having Avast installed on my windows system, it’s running all the time. I just need to know how I know it is protecting my Android tablet.

    Thank you in advance for your help.

  • mudassir.ali

    deh 22 jamaro

  • Jonas
  • Vinayak Patel

    I downloaded theftaware months before on ma mobile as an application to check it out. I don’t know what kinda data did I feed in the starting of it. After certain time, I deleted theftaware application but somehow one of my friend is still getting a message regarding theftaware 35 to 40 times in a day.

    I wanna stop those messages at anyhow. I don’t wanna any messages. I got irritated by those messages.

    Please help me out, I wanna come out it asap.

    Waiting for your reply.

  • Proud Ndlovu

    Good for business good for mobile

  • abi

    Has anyone used Avast Locate function? It works perfectly for every time I test it but I find out within a week my husband has been an unknown but the same house a few times. He denies he has been away from home and even has her mother(I don’t trust her) as witness. However, I can’t tell the truth that I have installed the Avast apps in his phone. Will the function really screw up sometime? Every time when he appears in the house Avast is not using GPS, once it was on WIFI(accuracy 39m), twice on network(75m). The house is at least 10 km away. What should I trust?

  • mahfooz rubai

    No comment at all thank you!

  • George Mensah

    I George Mensah of Serendi Palm, activated avast anti-theft on my phone; Sumsung Galaxy Pocket S5300. I changed my chip and put my airtel line to activate internet bundle, but unfortunately for me you’ve locked up my phone. Please, what should i do to unlock it?

  • Harry John

    Can someone please tell me whether apps suggested on this page are worth installing or not..

  • Hargun

    Are these apps actually worth installing.. Which have been provided in link below

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  • dan

    What’s the perfect match for windows phone. I’ll be glad to have such an app