In 2013, Gartner’s technology analysts predicted that tablets and smartphones would outsell laptop and desktops PCs worldwide by 2017. Not long after, market intelligence firm IDC updated that to 2015 – and that was for tablets alone. The stats aren’t surprising. Studies show that 42% of American adults own at least one tablet. More than half own a smartphone. Now the emergent phablet, which fills the gap that used to exist between phones and tablets, is poised to make mobile devices the go-to “second screen” after TV.
Unfortunately what is good for consumers is also good for less scrupulous folks who get their kicks and make their cash by piggybacking on our love of gadgets. Smartphones, tablets and phablets are the new holy grail of hacking targets. Most people load theirs with stored passwords, email, saved texts, digital wallets and juicy personal info – basically everything a bad guy needs – with nary a thought to security.
The problem may be that mobile devices are sorely lacking in built-in security and malware protection, which means it’s up to the user to navigate the often confusing world of mobile device security. For those still walking around with an unsecured mobile device, what follows are just some of the must have security apps for Android devices. Why are Android devices targeted more often? Simply because hackers have the most luck on the most ubiquitous platforms and Android has both the bigger market share and the higher engagement. Luckily protecting mobile devices doesn’t have to be complicated.
Top 4 Apps to Protect Android Devices
360 Mobile Security
This app’s regular real-time scan isn’t flashy – don’t expect a lot of extras – but it gets the job done. It catches spyware, malware and other threats; auto clears your usage history; and fixes system vulnerabilities that might otherwise leave your phone or tablet wide open to hackers. It can even clean out idle background apps to improve efficiency. What it can’t do is help in the event your device is lost or stolen.
Lookout Mobile Security
With free and premium service tiers, this app can catch malware but also has your back when your device goes AWOL. A $3 per month paid account lets you backup and restore data online, lock and wipe devices remotely, and use GPS to find and potentially recover your device. The free version is certainly sufficient for basic security but at the price of a monthly latte the upgrade is a no-brainer.
Avast! Mobile Security
Don’t misconstrue free for basic when it comes to this security app. It brings an impressive array of features to the table – antivirus protection, app scanning a web shield to make browsing safer and anti-theft tools that include an SMS remote control. Phone goes missing? Not only can you lock it, locate it and wipe it if need be, but you can also lock down the SIM card and even make your device play an irritating siren sound.
NQ Mobile Security
If your security concerns are more ‘anti-theft’ than ‘anti-virus,’ this app is great for helping you get back what’s rightfully yours. Track your device, lock it down, erase its contents and throw thieves for a loop with a LOUD scream sound and remote intruder photo snaps. It also offers solid spyware and malware protection, safe browsing and privacy features that rival apps created by bigger brands.
With more wireless companies such as T-Mobile now offering unlimited 4G LTE and free data for tablets, putting protections in place is both economical and easy. When a free app or two is all it takes to get near-perfect peace of mind not securing devices seems almost crazy.
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