Antivirus Software for your Smartphone, and Why You Need it Now
Mobile Device AntiVirus Software
Malware for Mobile Devices Reaching Epic Proportions
A recent article on Forbes.com claims that six out of 10 IT breaches occur because of improperly secured mobile devices, and that malware targeting smartphones increased 155 percent last year. Kaspersky reports that the number of new malware variants targeting Android devices nearly tripled in the 2nd quarter of 2012, reaching approximately 15,000 new malicious programs.
Think your Apple device is immune? Think again. Sure, ios is much harder to infect with malware, but not impossible, according to Kaspersky Labs. Recent reports about iPad and iPhone hijackers have begun to surface. The recent Flashback outbreak infected nearly 2 percent of all Mac systems, proving that Apple is not immune to infection. Finally, the news that 12 million Apple device IDs were stolen can't be good.
Smartphone malware includes Trojans, capable of stealing confidential information including contact data, "backdoors" that give the cyber-criminals full control of infected mobile devices, and SMS infections that send messages to high-rate numbers in the background, charged to the unsuspecting user's account. Literally billions of people around the world use their smartphones for online banking, making purchases, and storing all sorts of sensitive data including PINs, account numbers, and passwords. Individuals and companies alike need to take immediate steps to keep this information out of the hands of crooks.
Best Virus Protection for Android
AV-TEST labs has put 41 Android antivirus apps through the paces, and rated the following 6 among the top (received an "A" rating on their effectiveness). Note that while I've only listed the top 6, AV-TEST labs state that even the middle-ranking products offer fairly good protection. See references below for a link to their full report.
Top 6 AntiVirus Solutions for Android
avast! Free Mobile Security
Dr.Web anti-virus Light
F-Secure Mobile Security
IKARUS mobile.security LITE
Kaspersky Mobile Security
Lookout Security & Antivirus
Best AntiVirus Software for ios?
Choosing the best antivirus software for Apple mobile devices proved more difficult, simply because there hasn't been a lot of independent tests of security software for these. Historically, Apple hasn't even wanted to admit that security software is warranted on their products, and they don't offer any assistance to security software vendors to develop anti-malware solutions. However, there is a number of products available, including some familiar names from the list above.
- McAfee Global Threat Intelligence Mobile
- Sophos Security Threat Monitor
- Virus Barrier
Of these, I only found Sophos on the iTunes store (a free download), the rest I found by Googling the names. They all promise to keep your mobile device safe. I do not have an ios device on which to test, so I'm afraid I can't offer any other insights here.
Other Smart Phone Security Considerations
Antivirus software will help protect your phone from Trojans, Viruses, and other malware that attempts to cheat you out of your money and steal your data, but that is only part of the problem. If your mobile device is lost or stolen, antivirus software alone won't protect your valuable information. If (I should say "when") you get serious about protecting yourself and your confidential data, you will also have to look into encryption software to render data inaccessible to others, tracking programs to locate lost or stolen smart phones, and remote-wipe capabilities to allow you to erase confidential information should the phone fall into the wrong hands. These practices are subjects for future hubs, but if you want a preview, take a look at Tasker for Android.