Tech Files Mailbag: Anti-virus software for Android phones, tablets

I often receive email from readers of my Tech Files column who are looking for advice or recommendations or just want to comment on my pieces. From time to time, I’m republishing edited versions of my email exchanges with these readers here on SiliconBeat. Today’s mailbag focuses on anti-virus software for Android devices. 

Q: I just read your column concerning malware threats.  I have a Motorola Android phone.
I am also 73 years old and still learning about the phone.

Now, how do I go about getting the protection from malware threats?  I have no clue as to what I need to do. I don’t even know what to look for to get the program to protect the phone.

Would appreciate some help and info on this.

A: I would turn to AV Comparatives, an independent organization that rates antivirus software. The group put together a report in August specifically focusing on antivirus software for Android devices. Long and comprehensive, the report gives an overview of numerous individual programs.

If you’re looking for a quick ranking of the best Android anti-virus programs, you’ll find on page 12 of the report a list of the top-rated programs in terms of their ability to detect potential malware.

The top rated programs are AhnLabs V3 Mobile 2.0 Premium and Kingsoft Mobile Security. Unfortunately, Kingsoft’s app is written in Japanese and AhnLabs’ app, unlike many other rival programs, requires that you buy an anti-virus program in a retail store.

The next highest rated program may be more to your liking. It’s from Kaspersky, a widely known anti-virus company in the PC world, and it’s free. Note that the app’s name has changed since the AV Comparatives report. It’s now called Kaspersky Internet Security, not Kaspersky Mobile Security.

You can find each of those apps in Google’s Play app store.

Photo by the Associated Press.


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  • Chris Nichols

    comodo antivirus for pc and droid systems