With so many scare stories regarding malicious Android apps, it's no surprise that people want to protect their device and their personal data with security applications.
If the events of the past couple of years have shown, malicious apps stealthily sneak their way onto the Google Play Store, containing either malware, adware, spyware, or even questionable permissions. The only way to be sure that your Android device is free from contamination is to deploy security apps.
We take a quick look at some of the best applications that, hopefully, will make up your security arsenal.
10 Best Security Apps for Android
The security landscape on the Android platform is wide and varied, with pretty much all the big players offering their solutions to keep your hardware protected from emerging threats. You have PC bigwigs like Norton and Kaspersky, mobile specialists like Clean Master and emerging stalwarts like MalwareFox.
We take a look at 10 of the absolute best choices you have here.
All of them have been thoroughly tested after careful curation. And these apps cover the full range of the security spectrum — from watertight malware mashers to safe browsers and secure password managers. In other words, there is a whole palette to choose from.
If you are concerned about the security of your Android phone or tablet, then download and install these fine apps without a worry, and rest easy!
There used to be a time, not too long ago, when most people had no need of an antivirus app on their phone. But times are changing, and so are the threats. You need to get a solution that is not just highly capable, but also lightweight so that it does not slow down your phone or drain its battery.
Enter MalwareFox. This security solution gets right down to business, asking minimal permissions. And unlike some other antivirus app that give reports that your phone is clean, even when it is not, MalwareFox Anti-Malware does a thorough job with manual scanning to nail down the culprits.
With an always updated virus database, this application protects your device from malware, spyware, backdoors, and phishing attacks. While the included anti-keylogging feature ensures the safety of your private data by catching malicious keyboard applications that may be misbehaving.
It's also lightweight, so unlike similar products that bog down performance, MalwareFox will not slow down your phone or drain its battery. A clean and simple user interface keeps things in focus, letting you concentrate on security.
Download: MalwareFox Anti-Malware
ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus
If you like some powerful anti-theft and anti-phishing features thrown in your security app, then ESET Mobile Security fits the bill. Not only can you use it to scan for malware when you see something suspicious, you can also safely visit websites knowing that you will be protected from phishing attacks.
The anti-theft feature of ESET Mobile Security sends the last location of your device, even when it is low on power, allowing you to start your search. A security audit lets you check the permissions of the apps you install, while preventing access to any application is easy as setting up a PIN or fingerprint.
It is also possible to remotely wipe all sensitive data from your device, if you want. And if you are concerned about the security of your home network, you have the option of scanning all connected devices to identify potential vulnerabilities.
Admittedly, you will have to pay for most of these premium features — only three come for free, namely malware scans, anti-phishing and detailed security reports. But overall, this is a lightweight security program that offers an array of features to amplify the security of your Android device.
Download: ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus
DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser
Privacy browsers don't come better than this! DuckDuckGo is no stranger to offering secure, private online services. And its try at a browser is a certified home run when it comes to a simplified feature set for smarter, and more private web browsing.
You get all the essential features you need for complete peace of mind when browsing the web using your Android powered phone or tablet. Want to escape advertising tracking? How about amplified encryption protection? Private searches? You get all this and more.
And best of all, you don't have to dig deep into settings to gain these privileges — all of them are right in front. The DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser also shows you a privacy grade rating when you visit a website, and you can also use it to decode privacy policies of several of the sites and services you access.
Of course, a privacy-focused browser will not be worth its proverbial salt if it misses out on standard browsing features. Happy to report that almost all the necessary ones are here, including tabs, bookmarks and autocomplete. By far, your best option for simple and secure browsing on the go.
Download: DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser
Switching to a DNS server can not only improve your browsing speed, but also helps with the security and privacy of your online sessions. The only concern is that this can be a rather complicated task that involves making your choice from a list of strange-looking DNS providers, then managing their settings.
Say hello to 188.8.131.52. This is one of the most popular free Domain Name System service, with servers owned and maintained by Internet giant Cloudflare. And while there are several apps available to help manage DNS on your Android phone or tablet, none are better-looking and easier to use than this one.
It makes the process much simpler by providing you with just one main button — an on/off switch that enables or disables the DNS connection. Once set up, not only is 184.108.40.206. easy to use, but you get access to a very fast and highly secure connection that also boosts up your privacy.
Obviously, you don't get a wide choice of providers here, which is understandable considering this is more of a client for the service. However, the benefits here are numerous, and when it comes to sheer simplicity, 220.127.116.11. is second to none.
Bitwarden Password Manager
A reliable password manager is a prerequisite for security these days, what with most users dealing with a million different accounts for their online lives. No surprises then that a million different password managers are now available for Android — many from large established players in the security space.
And while they each have something to offer, few beat the no-nonsense approach of Bitwarden Password Manager. It pretty much is the easiest and simplest app available that lets you manage and sync all your logins and passwords, on all your devices.
You get the full range of features you would expect from a modern password manager. These include the vault, a password generator, autofill, support for fingerprint and PIN codes, a dark mode, themes and personalization options aplenty.
Its UI may not be as flashy as some other options, but in term of features this app brings it. If anything, this is more than an app — it is actually a projected managed by the community who has decided to keep things free. Regular updates are just a cherry on this very delicious cake. Recommended.
Developer: 8bit Solutions
Download: Bitwarden Password Manager
In need of some power packed security features for your Android hardware? Give Nox Security a look. For it is a smartly effective app that not only protects your phone from viruses and malware, but also rids it of any type of junk and detritus — unnecessary files that get left behind.
Its list of included features is extensive. You get an antivirus and junk cleaner, but also a notification blocker, and app locker. Message security saves your notification previews from peeping eyes, while the do not disturb feature blocks spam and unwanted calls.
A battery saver is also part of the package to close inactive apps running in the background, along with WiFi security to protect your wireless network from attacks. All these options are a tap away. The user interface is also sleek and stylish, though veers a tad more on the stylish side.
If you want, you can also pay a small fee to get access to a VPN service. Otherwise, be prepared to deal with ads, as usual. But overall, this combination of a trendy UI, extensive feature set, and neat capabilities means this this swiss army knife of a security app is one of the best available on Android.
Download: Nox Security
One of the most popular utilities available on the Android platform, is also one of its finest. Clean Master is a complete toolbox that not only cleans and protects your device, but also secures it and optimizes its performance.
The included antivirus engine can scan for malware on all apps, even preinstalled ones. It also has features to block and remove any viruses it finds, ensuring that your phone remains free from viruses and trojans at all time. The WiFi security modules also detects unauthorized connections.
On the cleanup side of things, we have junk file cleaner to help free up storage space by removing residual and cache files that may be slowing down your phone. You can also boost up your mobile by freeing up memory, while the battery saver extends battery life by hibernating running applications.
Another worthy highlight is the app lock feature, which you can use to lock applications on your phone or tablet. A modern and stylish UI combines with a remarkable feature set here. No wonder that Clean Master is a solution trusted by over half a billion users.
Developer: Cheetah Mobile
Download: Clean Master
This app comes from remote-access specialist LogMeIn, and is designed to provide a secure place for you to store all your important details on your device. You can use LockBox to store snippets of your private information that you don't want anyone else to get your hands on.
The real strength of this app is its simplicity. It's refreshing, frankly. Unlike other overcomplicated security solutions on Android, this one takes a very straightforward approach to protect your data, complete with an effortless UI.
If anything, it works just like a note-taking tool. You jot down all your important details, and these can be anything from passwords to passport numbers and PIN codes. Your notes are then encrypted using device level 256-bit AES encryption — meaning they will be virtually impossible to crack.
On the features side of things, you get unlimited storage, the ability to access your notes from any other device you log into, as well as options to share important notes securely with up to six friends and family members. Despite being a new arrival on the scene, LockBox has all the makings of a hit.
While external security is paramount, internal device security is equally important these days. More so for people who share their devices around, or hand them to others. For security conscious users, a file locking app is almost a necessity.
Folder Lock is a secure vault app that you can use to password-protect all manners of your personal data. From photos to videos, documents to audio recordings, contacts and wallet cards, what have you. These files can also be transferred from your camera, gallery, browser, or even the PC.
Although its core functionality is solid enough as it is, Folder Lock does not skimp on unique and handy features. You get an application locker throw in, a built-in audio player, the ability to send secret messages to your contacts, cloud backup, and many other options from within the app.
Once locked, it is impossible to access your data, even by connecting your device to a computer. The only way to access your locked files is through this app. The feature set is impressive as it is, but the price is even more so. Get all these features for free, and purchase if you want cloud support.
Download: Folder Lock
Worried that Big Brother could be watching you? Concerned about who may be listening on the other end? Install Detectify, and lay most of your worries to rest. This is an anti-surveillance app that has uses beyond just locating hidden snooping devices.
It uses the sensors built into your smartphone to detect other snooping devices that may be near your vicinity. The magnetometer in your device helps detect electronic signals from microphone and other bugging equipment, while image sensors can locate infrared sensors from hidden cameras.
And as mentioned above, you can also use this technology to find your lost headphones by detecting the interference they emit. So, in terms of features, this excellent app offers you dual benefits — not just finding any surveillance hardware that may be around you, but your lost peripherals too.
The only little downer are the full-screen ads in the free version that can be a bit annoying. But other than that, Detectify is a very neatly designed application that is not only easy to use, but works very nicely as well.
Developer: WonderTech Studio
There's a whole battalion of shady apps that are either loaded with malware, or require unnecessary permissions on your device, bombard you with ads or spy your every move. Your defense against them are tools that not only safeguard against these threats but also keep you on top of their shenanigans.
Don't compromise on the security, privacy and performance of your Android powered phone or tablet, and download these apps today to stay safe at all times.