AVG AntiVirus Free
It’s one of the better known names in mainstream anti-virus, but on the PC AVG has become synonymous with the upsell -- and you’ll find the same sort of thing here. AVG’s Android offering has some nice features -- and slightly overzealous app scanning -- but most of its best bits are tied to 14 day free trials, so the free version really isn’t as good a deal as it may at first seem.
Free | AVG
Trend Micro Mobile Security
Trend Micro has flooded the Play store with security type apps, but we direct your attention specifically to this one. The free version of Mobile Security is great for social media addicts, as it flounts its ability to keep tabs on your Facebook privacy settings in order to keep your posts safe. You also get a bit of free cloud storage -- you can pay for more above the included 50MB, but that should be enough to keep hold of your critical settings and contacts.
Free / $29.99 per year | Trend Micro
Norton’s list of free features is relatively slim, but you do get SD card scanning, which is a niche feature that is going to be very important to certain users of certain phones, and fairly standard malicious app scanning and removal. There’s also a very basic phone locator which uses SMS -- upgrade to the full version with a $30 per year subscription and you get a vast collection of advanced remote admin tools, anti-phishing tech, and more. It’s pricey, but it works.
Free / £29.99 per year | Norton
McAfee Mobile Security
McAfee is still arguably the biggest name in computer security, and its mobile offering is a decent one -- even if you only install it for its free backup and restore functions, or the remote administration bits, which remain free even after the trial expires. It’s currently a bit aggressive with its notifications, but McAfee promises that this will be toned down in early 2014.
Free / £29.99 per year | McAfee
Kaspersky Internet Security for Android
Generosity if Kasperky’s strong point, it seems, as you get a host of powerful features in its free version -- manual AV scanning, remote lock and alarm, mugshots, and a call/text protection system if your handset hasn’t caught up with the latest versions of Android -- but for fire and forget malware protection you’ll want to shell out for the full thing. There’s a 30 day trial if you want to see if it suits you.
Free / £9.99 per year | Kapersky
G-Data Internet Security
It’s not cheap. It’s not especially pretty. But G-Data’s somewhat over-zealous Android offering might be just what you’re after if you want to be warned about every tiny thing that could possibly be wrong with new apps you’re installing. AV-Test’s scrutiny showed that it’s capable of coping with the latest threats, but also threw up a few false positives for threat-free programs.
£18.95 per year | G-Data
F-Secure Mobile Security
We think F-Secure’s key selling point is its integration with your online behaviour -- specifically its anti-phishing technology, which forms a decent barrier between your idiot fingers and the websites that are determined to extract vital passwords from them. It’s not unique to F-Secure, of course, so it’s a good job that the rest of it is decent -- though you’ll have to pay up after 30 days, and bear in mind that it doesn’t support Android 4.4 at the time of writing.
Free / £16.56 per year | F-Secure
ESET Mobile Security
If you want a complete security package, ESET’s terrifying glossy robot has you covered -- not only does it offer standard anti-virus protection, but there’s anti-theft facilities on board, with the GPS locator and remote lock included with the free version. Only a few features are missing, in fact: you’ll only need to pay up if you’re after scheduled virus scans and an intimate audit of your installed apps.
Free / £29.99 per year | ESet
Avira Free Android Security
You can’t say fairer than free, and Avira’s app is certainly fairly priced in that regard. It doesn’t offer many of the facilities that paid-for apps hinge on, of course -- there’s no integrated cloud backup, for instance -- but it does protect against viruses, avoid the trap of false warnings, and runs a natty line in remote device administration. That and it’s particularly pretty, which isn’t something you often see in AV apps.
Free | Avira
Avast! Mobile Security
Not, sadly, a pirate-themed mobile security app despite its nautical name. Avast carries its existing pedigree from the PC, and it one of the most intense and easy-to-use scanners on the Android platform. Don’t pay any attention to its position in this list, either; AV-Test’s comprehensive hammering shows that it’s probably the most secure AV product on Android today.
Free / £12 per year | Avast