Nowadays security is a big issue. In fairness, it always has been an issue, although more recently it seems you cannot tune in anywhere without hearing about the latest security breach, hack, malware or app which is proving problematic. This seems to be the case for Android more than any other platform, due to the more open nature of Android. As a result, having a good level of security in place is quickly becoming a must-have for Android users. So here we will be taking a closer look at one of the options currently available from the Play Store, ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus. For background, on paper ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus looks to provide many of the features you would expect from a mobile security app. So as well as the standard antivirus protection and scanning features, you can expect to find the ability to track your device when it is stolen, lock and wipe it if necessary and pinpoint its location for easier retrieval.
In terms of the first impressions of the app, once installed and running, it is an extremely easy to use app. While the interface might not win in any major design awards, it does provide a very clear route to its functionality. Tabs are nice and clear and the features are broken down in a way which makes using the app very user-friendly. For those who are not so app savvy – they are unlikely to encounter any major hurdles in navigating the app, thanks to its design. This was certainly one of the biggest and immediate benefits of the app when you first get started.
In terms of the actual functionality, while this is a free to download app, this is an app which operates a two-tier level of service. On the one hand, you can download and just enjoy the basic benefits on offer for free. The good news is that the free element does provide a nice level of protection with the ability to scan your device and make sure all is good and so on. Some of the additional features like the ability to quarantine troublesome elements and the ability to remote lock or all included in the free version too.
So straight off the bat, this is a rather decent free offering for those looking for that option. For those looking for a much greater level of protection, the premium tier offers everything you get with the free version plus a far more greater level of control over your device in general. Some of these additional benefits simply come in the form of more advanced versions of the free options – like the ability to take pictures of the device's surroundings when lost or stolen or the ability to engage with the desktop companion site for a more proactive approach to lost or stolen devices. While other features, like 'Application Audit' are solely reserved for the premium users.
To briefly touch on Application Audit, this was personally one of the best features on offer as it allows you to really dig into what is going on with your phone. If you are running the latest version of Android (Marshmallow), then the improved app permissions do provide you with a way to turn on and off individual permissions. However, where Application Audit comes in, is that it gives you a nice overview of what is going on. Almost immediately after activating the feature, it tells you exactly what is happening with your device, where the vulnerabilities lie and exactly what permissions apps are using. So if you are specifically concerned about apps tracking your location, then Application Audit does provide a nice and quick solution to seeing what apps are tracking you. From here, the links will all lead through to the native app settings so you can toggle off the aspects you are most concerned about.
Application Audit is only one of the additional features though. The app also comes with additional protection to ensure that your online surfing experience is as safe as your on-device experience and this is in particular, with protection from anti-phishing sites. The app has the ability to make sure that you do not run foul of phishing websites and will even provide you with an overview of whether the browser(s) you are using is optimized to be used by this type of software. This is a nice feature to have, as it is no good using the app and thinking you are protected if the browser you are using does not offer a compatible way to translate phishing site information to the app. With the feature, you can be sure that the browser you are using is compatible with the app and you are indeed protected. Another one of the premium-only features is the advanced 'SMS & Call Filter' protection. This feature offers users a much better way to control what calls and texts are received (and also sent out). Users have the immediate ability to whitelist numbers that they might be less concerned about and you can even whitelist entire groups of numbers as well. This is a feature that will also ensure that apps are not sending out texts to dodgy numbers from your device. An issue which has become problematic with certain apps making use of auto dialing and SMS-sending to contact premium call numbers. However, one of the best aspects of this feature, is again the general app's ease of use. If you receive a call or a text from a number that you don't want to receive any further contact from, instead of having to search through your call history to block the number, you can immediately just hit the "Block Last Caller" tab and job done. Again, simple but effective.
In fact, this pretty much sums up ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus in general. The app gives off the impression that it is a simple app, when in reality there is a lot going on under the hood. The app provides a very good level of monitoring and instant feedback when needed and otherwise runs unassumingly under the surface. So this is not an app you have to worry about annoying you every five seconds with another notification. The reality is that the premium version (which will run you $14.95 for the year) is a far more sophisticated and detailed level of coverage and does offer enough features to make the premium subscription a worthwhile purchase. It is also worth knowing that there is a thirty-day free trial for the premium tier, so you can test-run the advanced features for free before having to pay anything. However, the free version is equally as worthwhile. If you are just looking for a basic level of coverage, then you certainly are getting more than a basic level – with the ability to keep your phone protected and various anti-theft features. Making this a good solution for whichever side of the fence you fall on or coverage you are looking for.
On a last point, quickly checking through the Play Store listing does seem to suggest that the developers have quite the active relationship with their user community, which is always a big positive. ESET seems to actively want their user base to stay in touch and provide feedback on the app – which can further help the general functionality and provide a more secure experience. Which at the end of the day can only be a good thing when it come to mobile security.
After spending some time with ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus, this is a security and antivirus app which will suit just about anyone. ESET has done well to balance what you get with the free version, while also ensuring the premium features are enough to warrant paying for the additional security. As a result and regardless of whether you are looking for a free or premium option, ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus does provide a very good level of coverage and a nice selection of featues. Not to mention, it is an extremely easy to use app and this is again another very important feature on an app like this. Too often, security and antivirus apps can get a little complicated with the number of settings, tests to run and warning signs they display and especially for those who are not so tech savvy. ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus provides a nice and clean interface, which will only take a few minutes to adjust and set up. From then on, the app runs seamlessly in the background. There were no issues noted with the speed and performance of the app and overall, it proved to be an extremely useful security and antivirus solution for Android. Regardless of your level of smartphone proficiency and whether or not you are looking for a free or paid security app, ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus is one worth checking out. Those interested in finding out more or downloading the app, can do so by heading through the link below.