Android Antivirus Review: Our TOP 5 2022
Antivirus programs have become part of the furniture on PC and laptops. However, since smartphones are little more than pocket computers, which we use more to surf the net than to talk, protection against viruses on the go is just as critical. In 2020, the number of mobile banking Trojans increased by 15% - with 40% of all mobile devices vulnerable to cyber attacks. In our opinion, that's reason enough to take a closer look at what antivirus solutions are available for Android devices.
As part of EXPERTE.com's comprehensive antivirus software evaluation, we assessed 16 programs on the basis of their user-friendliness, features, security, support, and pricing. To get a better idea of the degree of security which each affords, we relied on AV Test's performance assessments, which are regularly summarized in a list of the best antivirus solutions for Android.
TOP 5 Android Antivirus
In this article, we've combined AV-Test's results with our own findings, presenting you with our Top 5 antivirus solutions for Android. Each of these offers not only excellent security but also impresses in other areas as well. We truly only selected the best, with each of the five apps below receiving perfect 6/6 scores from AV-Test in terms of protection, performance, and usability.
Bitdefender Mobile Security
Bitdefender Mobile Security is available either as a stand-alone app or in combination with Bitdefender Total Security. The program offers a number of features specifically for mobile devices, including powerful real-time protection, a malware scanner, as well as several tools for shoring up your privacy online.
With the app lock feature, it's possible to endow your most sensitive apps with an additional layer of security, such as a PIN code. The integrated VPN provides users with up to 200 MB of anonymous surfing on the go per day.
Bitdefender, the top pick from our antivirus software comparison, also impressed with its mobile solution.
Rounding out the list of what Bitdefender Total Security has to offer are anti-theft features, which include the ability to remotely locate, lock, or even wipe your device.
Kaspersky Internet Security for Android
Kaspersky Internet Security is available for Android either as part of a premium package or for free. If choosing the former, you'll be able to schedule automatic scans and take advantage of an app lock, which you can use to beef up the security of certain apps.
Kaspersky provides robust anti-theft measures for mobile devices.
Anti-theft measures that allow you to remotely lock a stolen device, trigger an alarm, or restore factory settings are also provided. We found the selfie trap feature nifty, with which you can surreptitiously photograph your device's thief. With SIM control, you can also automatically configure the device to lock if a new SIM card is input.
Avast Mobile Security
The Android version of Avast Antivirus only adds to the desktop software's already impressive package of useful features: With "Photo Vault", you can encrypt pictures from your gallery or protect them with a PIN code, while "Wi-Fi Inspector" lets you know if the network you're connected to is secure.
Avast makes a number of practical anti-theft tools available to smartphone users.
The software also comes with plenty of anti-theft tools and options. Using these, you can set when your device should be marked as "lost", and what actions should be taken should this occur. As an example, this can be whenever someone inputs an unknown SIM card or enters an incorrect PIN eight times. It's also possible to remotely control your Android smartphone through your Avast account, deleting data or taking (secret) pictures of the person who stole your phone.
The basic version of the Android app is free, which corresponds nicely to Avast's free antivirus software, which in our opinion, is one of the best on the market.
Norton Mobile Security
Norton Mobile Security is available either as a standalone mobile app or in combination with Norton 360. Alongside standard features, such as proactive malware blocking and anti-phishing Web protection, there's also "Wi-Fi Security", which scans your network for threats, and "SMS Security". Extras like a VPN or password manager aren't offered in Norton Mobile Security, as the company has standalone apps for these.
Norton divides its mobile features between a number of different apps. Unfortunately, none of these include anti-theft tools.
The most disappointing thing about Norton Mobile Security is that since December 2019 (and a "quality control evaluation"), the developer has removed its anti-theft tools from the app. As such, should you want to protect yourself against device theft, it's best to consider some of the other choices we've listed in this guide.
Trend Micro Mobile Security
Even though Trend Micro Mobile Security is offered to subscribers starting with the developer's Maximum Security package, you can download it separately as well. Along with most of the standard security modules, you'll also find "Web Guard", which warns you against visiting harmful websites or clicking on potentially dangerous links. "Fraud Buster" scans your SMSs for suspicious content. Rounding out the app's features are integrated Wi-Fi and netbanking protection.
Trend Micro's smartphone app provides a variety of anti-theft features alongside other security tools.
You'll also find all of the standard anti-theft features in Trend Micro's mobile app as well. With these, you can remotely GPS locate or lock your device, delete files, or prevent Trend Micro from being uninstalled. A camera trap is also included.
How We Tested
To select our Top 5, we relied on our own EXPERTE.com reviews, as well as AV-Test's assessments. Our criteria, which relate to five categories, are explained in greater detail in our comprehensive evaluation.
AV-Test evaluates software according to four categories. These are:
The heart of any antivirus program is what sort of security and protection it affords its users. Should the program fail in detecting malware, all the other features and extras in the world won't help to improve it. AV-Test assesses protection in two stages, examining both real-time detection of the latest malware, as well as real-time detection of malware from the last four weeks.
For each stage, AV-Test summarizes efficacy in a percentage, corresponding to how many malware attacks the antivirus program identified out of the total launched. This number is then compared with the industry standard, with each threshold above the average denoting a specific score.
Turning to performance, AV-Test bases this on three different factors: How much battery life the program uses, whether the program slows the device during routine usage, and finally, what sort of burden it places on network resources. Unfortunately, AV-Test doesn't provide further information on how it measures each of these.
With regards to usability, AV-Test checks how susceptible the antivirus app is to false positives. Here, testers examine whether the software which prompted the false positive was downloaded from the Google Play Store or a third-party's app store.
Finally, AV-Test examines which features are included with the app, grouped into seven categories:
- Application control (i.e. app lock)
- Backup (either to cloud storage or on an external storage device)
- Call blocker (ability to block specific or unknown numbers)
- Privacy advisor (security center for examining what data apps are collecting on your device and what permissions they've been granted)
- Safe browsing (Web protection)
- Wi-Fi advisor/scanner (assessment of how secure/vulnerable a Wi-Fi network is)
Everything else, such as anti-theft measures, is included under "Other Features".
Since smartphones and tablets have grown to become the primary means through which most people access the Internet, it's increasingly necessary to secure these in the same manner as computers and laptops. With that said, the best protection is afforded by exercising common sense when browsing or surfing.
Still, for additional security, the five programs we've listed above can help keep you safe on the go. Don't just take our word for it: Each of the apps above received perfect scores from AV-Test, a highly reputable and independent cybersecurity lab. If interested in learning more about any of the programs, or the other 11 antivirus solutions which we reviewed, check out EXPERTE.com's comprehensive antivirus software evaluation.
Do Android devices come with an integrated virus scanner?
Yes! Android's integrated virus scanner is called 'Play Protect'. In contrast to Windows Defender, Play Protect performs fairly poorly in AV-Test's evaluations, only identifying 68.8% of current Android malware and 70.3% of Android malware from the last four weeks. For our tastes, that's simply not good enough.
Does it makes sense to download a virus scanner for my Android device?
This question is often debated by cybersecurity experts. Opponents claim that the dangers of Android malware are exaggerated. With that said, exercising caution (the common sense mentioned above) in combination with Play Protect should be enough to keep your device safe, with third-party antivirus apps providing an additional layer of security.
What is the best antivirus app for Android?
After combining EXPERTE.com's results with those of AV-Test, an independent and highly-reputable cybersecurity lab, we've listed our Top 5 antivirus apps for Android devices above. Each of these scored perfectly with AV-Test, with the only differences being their range of features and price. As such, we recommend Bitdefender Mobile Security, Kaspersky Internet Security for Android, Avast Mobile Security, Norton Mobile Security, and Trend Micro Mobile Security.
- Trend Micro
- G Data
- 360 Total Security
- Internet Security
- Virus Protection
- Free Antivirus
- Android Antivirus
- Avast vs. Avira