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Top 5 Antivirus Apps for Android

Top 5 Antivirus Apps for Android
Malware can compromise sensitive company or client data stored on your phone or tablet. / Credit: Shutterstock

If you use your smartphone for business, security is a top concern. Failure to install a good antivirus app can have serious consequences, putting your device at risk for infection by corrupt apps and malware. Not only could that stop your phone from functioning properly, but it can also compromise sensitive company or client data stored on your phone or tablet. Fortunately, there's are a ton of good security apps that can lock down your Android device and keep it safe from rogue applications. Whether you can get by with a free security app, or want to invest in a more robust paid antivirus suite, here are five of the best on Android.

Avast! Mobile Security & Antivirus (Free; Premium version costs $15/year)

Avast!, one of the best free antivirus suites for PCs, is also a great security app for Android smartphones and tablets. The app's biggest strength is its customizability; you can tweak dozens of settings to get the exact level of protection and privacy you want. You can do a quick scan to search for viruses and malware within your installed apps, and use anti-theft features that let you located your devices using its GPS sensor, wipe your data, and even remotely snap photos using your smarpthone's camera to help you track it down. And if your device is lost, the Geofencing feature can automatically alert you if it leaves a designated geographic area.  The standard version of the Avast app is free, but you can upgrade to the premium version for extra features including data backups and ad-blocking.

Lookout Mobile Security (Free; Premium version costs $30/year)

Compared to competing apps, Lookout Mobile Securitydoesn't tax your phone's processor much at all, so you can keep working even when conducting a full-system scan for malware. The app also offers some of the fastest scans around, and its interface is simple and intuitive, making it easy to use even for people who aren't tech-savvy. It lacks some more advanced features found on other security apps, such as the ability to blacklist calls and texts from particular phone numbers, but it otherwise offers an excellent balance of features and performance. The standard version is free, or you can upgrade to a premium account to access extra features such as Safe Browsing, which scans websites for malicious activity; and Privacy Advisor, which lets you know which types of personal information the apps on your phone can access.

McAfee Mobile Security (Free; Premium version costs $30/year)

McAfee is a well-known for its PC security software, and the McAfee Mobile Security app lives up to the name with some of the best malware detection on the Android platform. Other highlights include a full suite of anti-theft features including the ability to locate your device and remotely wipe its memory. It also includes a privacy monitor that reveals which personal data each app on your smartphone is able to access.. Another perk for business users is the ability to lock individual apps with a 6-digit PIN. That means you can lock your accounting app to prevent someone who picks up your phone from viewing your financial data, for example. One downside is that it's not quite as lightweight as apps such as Lookout; performing a virus scan had a noticeable impact on phone performance. The app is free, with the option to upgrade to a premium account for data backup and more comprehensive customer support.

Kaspersky Internet Security (Free; Premium version costs $15/year)

Kaspersky Internet Security is a well-rounded security suite for Android devices. It offers excellent malware detection, plus protection from phishing attacks, in which a rogue application attempts to gather personal information by masquerading as a trustworthy source. It also offers a good number of anti-theft features that help you find your phone if it's lost, as well as remotely lock the device or wipe its memory in an emergency. One downside is that the app's interface is not as clean or easy to use as other antivirus options, nor are its settings quite as customizable. And while the free version of the app lets you manually perform a scan of your device, you'll have to upgrade to the premium app for automated scanning and other features including the ability to filter calls and texts by blacklisting phone numbers. Regardless, Kaspersky is a solid pick for most business users who just want strong malware protection on their Android device.

Norton Mobile Security (Free; Premium version costs $30/year)

Norton Mobile Security delivers where it counts, offering top-notch malware detection to keep your mobile devices safe and secure. And it has a decent number of anti-theft features, including the ability to remotely lock your device, wipe its memory or sound an alarm so you can find it if its nearby. Those features can even be activated by texting a command to your phone such as "lock," followed by a 4-digit PIN code. But although it offers good protection, Norton Mobile Security doesn't include as many features or options as other apps. For example, it lacks the privacy features of competing applications, which can tell you which apps are accessing which information on your smartphone. Meanwhile, the ability to blacklist phone numbers from calling or texting is available only with the premium version, and is more limited than in other apps.

Brett Nuckles

A former Ohio newspaper man, Brett Nuckles fled the Midwest in 2013. He now lives in Seattle, where he spends his days tinkering with smartphones, tablets and computers. He loves to think about the intersection of technology and productivity, and how to get the most out of new gadgets and apps. He's also a big fan of vegetarian food and digital painting. In his off hours he spends most of his time drawing and painting sci-fi/fantasy scenes on his PC with his trusty Wacom stylus in hand.