Anti-Virus and Security Protection on Your iPhone or Android Smartphone
When computers were first developed, no one needed any security protection because there really were no threats. But as computers continued to grow and fell into the hands of criminals, a need arose for a program that would stop other malicious programs from inflicting harm on a computer. Today, these programs account for a huge industry. McAfee, Norton, AVG and Trend Micro, to name a few, are some of the biggest names in the security industry. They deliver products to our computers and work hard to ensure that criminals do not gain access to our machines in any of a few billion ways. Now that a new "computer" is emerging in the form of smart phones such as the iPhone and Android phones, those same criminals are shifting to attempting to attack us in new ways. And right behind (well, hopefully ahead) of them are the security experts who want to keep us safe.
If you're wondering how anyone could send a virus to your phone or think that security isn't necessary for these devices, you're about 90% wrong. Security vulnerabilities have already been found for the iPhone and Android phones. And more importantly, they will continue to be found. No company can make a 100% secure device. But as of now, no "true" threats exist in mass. But security experts assure us that they are out there and will rapidly pick up in pace. So when the time comes, you will want to make sure your phone is as secure as possible. To do that, there are a surprisingly few number of apps that promise to help secure your phone. I have tried to find some of the best ones and write about them here.
The iPhone has the fewest number of apps, mainly because it is more secure. While Apple has been criticized for being so "closed-off" to developers, this may be a good thing in terms of security.
Smart Surfing - iTunes Link
This is the only "Security" app I was able to locate for the iPhone. It essentially is a browser replacement that scans the sites you visit to make sure they are safe. This is a big plus for protecting you against phishing sites that attempt to steal your information such as logins and passwords.
As you can see in the screen shots, it looks similar to Safari and has windows. But if you visit an insecure site, it will block the site from loading and give you a warning.
Android phones seem to have a larger collection of antivirus apps. There is less control of the market, so it is more likely that a virus-developer could release a virus for an Android phone. Although there have been a few reports of viruses on an Android, the OS is designed to handle applications that attempt to access personal data or delete necessary system files. Nonetheless, here are some apps I was able to find.
Norton Connect - AndroLib.com Link
Despite the Norton name, the company has released a mobile virus protection app. It also goes one step further and offers remote data wiping in case your phone is stolen. Many people are hesitant to install extra programs on their phones because of limited space and speed. But if you're concerned about viruses, a well-known company could help you out. If you have Norton on your computers at home, it will allow a remote view of them to browse files and backup.
Antivirus Free - AndroLib Link
This app is also free (hence the name) and will scan any Android phone. It received praise from users for scanning files that you download. One thing that Android allows you to do is use your phone as a storage device. This means that you can download a file (such as a virus you think is a music file) and save it to your device. Even if that file doesn't harm your phone itself, it could spread to your computer next time you mounted your device. This app can help prevent that.
Lookout Mobile Security - AndroLib Link
This is another security app that goes a step further by offering to remotely backup your information in the case of data disaster, and also will allow you to locate your phone from anywhere if it is stolen. It also does the basic scanning and protecting. In addition, it will scan your SD card, which, as mentioned above, can carry viruses.
All of the applications reviewed here received fairly good ratings in the Market. However, not many people can agree yet if you really need a dedicated app to scan your phone. While it certainly has the potential to protect you, you will want to consider whether or not you are willing to sacrifice a little space and speed for possible protection from a virus.