The Best Mobile Security Apps Review & Buyers Guide

Mobile security refers to the act of protecting both personal and business data stored and circulated through mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops. With the popularity of online banking and ecommerce, mobile security has become increasingly important in mobile computing and digital finance.

Addressing today’s concern in security of mobile devices, mobile security apps are developed to protect personal and business information stored on smartphones and other mobile devices.

There are many mobile security applications out there that can cater to your security needs. The security coverage depends on the features provided by these applications. Among these features include removal of malware like viruses, spyware, Trojan horses, and worms. In this article we will tackle the best mobile security applications available in the market.


Comparison Of The 5 Best-selling Mobile Security Products

In this review and buyers guide, we give you the top five mobile security software solutions. These products can give you the best protection against malicious threats targeting mobile devices. We’re also highlighting the features to search for, whether it’s for personal or business security.

Product Data Protection Password Management Operating System Management Android and IOS availability Malware & Spyware Protection
Trend Micro Maximum Security
    
Read Trend Review
Norton Mobile Security
    
McAfee Mobile Security
    
Avast Mobile Security
    
AVG Internet Security
    
Read AVG Review

1. Trend Micro Maximum Security

No. 1 Best Choice

Trend Micro Maximum Security offers in-depth protection for your mobile devices. The software suite shields you against ransomware, viruses, and spyware that target mobile devices. It ensures that your online banking and shopping experiences are secure with Pay Guard.

The new feature Fraud Buster adds an extra layer of security by guarding against scams and phishing emails.

Key Features

  • Advanced Security and Privacy

Trend Micro Maximum Security delivers full-coverage protection for all your mobile devices. With the Fraud Buster feature, this mobile security solution keeps your email safe from various scams and phishing attacks. It provides advanced protection on Windows and Android, does more than the basics on macOS, and even goes beyond what many competitors offer on iOS.

  • Performance Optimization

Maximum Security’s optimization feature boosts the performance of your mobile device. This feature comes with artificial intelligence technology and performance optimization that fixes common problems and get your devices running in good condition.

  • Smart Protection Network

Trend Micro employs a cloud-based network and mobile app reputation technology that stops threats before they can reach you. This feature also covers the Pay Guard feature for secure online banking. Smart Protection Network delivers proactive global threat intelligence against zero-hour threats to ensure that you are always protected.

  • Encrypted Vault Storage

Trend Micro Maximum Security offers this top-tier feature which adds a file encryption system, namely the Vault. This kind of encrypted storage for sensitive files keeps cybercriminals at bay from doing unauthorized access.


2. Norton Mobile Security

No. 2 Best Choice

Norton Mobile Security delivers powerful, effective protection for your mobile devices and personal information against cybersecurity threats and online scams. This award-winning mobile security and virus protection app comes with a virus detector and cleaner that shields your Android devices against malware, online fraud, and websites designed to steal your information and money.

Key Features

  • Real-time Threat Protection

Norton Mobile Security’s multi-layered, advanced security features help you against existing and emerging malware threats to your devices. It also protects your private and financial information when you go online. Norton alerts you when your operating system is out of date, so you can take action to secure and protect your device. Cybercriminals can’t exploit vulnerabilities and take control of your personal information.

  • Secure VPN

Mobile Security allows you to browse the Internet securely with a no-log VPN. This solution can add bank-grade encryption to help keep your information like passwords and bank details secure and private. This also protects your device and personal data from malicious sites that install ransomware.

  • Safe Search

This feature of Norton Mobile Security shields you from malicious links found on search engines. When you conduct searches using Safe Search, Norton will check each link and alert you that the link is safe. It also marks unsafe web results and provides you with safety ratings on search results. This feature prevents you from visiting malicious phishing sites and online scams on fraudulent websites.

  • Wi-Fi Security

Norton’s Mobile Security comes with advanced scans that detect and notify you about unsecured Wi-Fi networks. It also shields you from wireless networks under attack by cybercriminals eavesdropping on you to steal or glean personal information from the websites you visit or infecting your device with malware.


3. McAfee Mobile Security Plus VPN

No. 3 Best Choice

McAfee Mobile Security arms you with everything you need to stay protected. Secure yourself with McAfee’s Smart Security, Privacy Protection, and malware protection, and keep your private data away from prying eyes. Armed with a powerful security engine provided by McAfee Global Threat Intelligence, Mobile Security comes with a spyware detector, Wi-Fi scanner, and malware removal features to defend against phishing, risky apps, and other online threats.

Key Features

  • Online Security

McAfee Mobile Security guards against viruses, spyware, and malicious websites. This software solution allows you to search and shop securely, stay safe on social media, and connect to Wi-Fi networks with peace of mind. McAfee’s web protection supports a handful of widely used browsers, including Google Chrome, Samsung Internet, Opera Mini, and Mozilla Firefox. When you unintentionally attempt to visit a malicious website, McAfee warns you with the options to either “Keep Me Safe” by navigating away from the site or “Open Anyway”.

  • Anti Theft

McAfee’s Mobile Security locates, tracks, and sends alarms using an online portal. Lock and wipe to prevent the exploitation of your personal data. Get a photo of the person holding your lost device with CaptureCam. McAfee ID Theft Protection helps you stay ahead of fraud with robust identity and credit monitoring and recovery tools, with three tiers to fit your budget and life stage.

  • Performance Optimization

Mobile Security from McAfee boosts your phone with Battery Optimizer. It also provides quick access to key features through a built-in widget. Take actions straight from your Android Wear to find and secure your mobile device. Device optimization features like storage cleaner, memory booster, and data usage tracking work together to enhance your mobile device.

  • VPN Encryption

This feature of McAfee Mobile Security secures and enables a safe Wi-Fi connection, even on public wireless networks. McAfee maintains your privacy every time you go online, protecting you and your personal data. This mobile security solution also includes remote management of Windows Firewall or built-in advanced firewall tools.


4. Avast Mobile Security

No. 4 Best Choice

Avast Mobile Security works as a complete mobile security solution that offers online protection for all of your mobile computers, smartphones, and tablets. It comes with an antivirus feature for Android phones that will protect you from all threats, including infected web links, as well as theft or hacking attempts, which can send text messages to block your phone or track you using the GPS.

Key Features

  • Privacy Protection

Avast Mobile Security secures photos and apps using a PIN code, pattern, or fingerprint password. It also offers VPN encryption for secure and safe Wi-Fi connection, even on public wireless networks. Privacy is maintained every time you go online, protecting you and your data.

  • Malware Blocking

Avast’s Mobile Security automatically scans for viruses and other kinds of malware, including spyware, Trojan horses, and ransomware. Web, file, and app scanning provides complete mobile protection. This includes malware detection and third-party malware evaluation.

  • Digital Usage Tracker

Mobile Security by Avast gains insight and tracks your app and data usage. It also tracks how much time you spend using each app on your device and takes back control of your phone-life balance. This enables easy check on app permissions to understand how apps access your phone.

  • VPN Protection

Avast Mobile Security keeps your online activities and changes/hides your location, allowing you to access your favorite paid streaming services from anywhere. Avast scans and blocks malware-infected links, as well as Trojan horses, adware, and spyware. It also fixes mistyped URLs.


5. AVG Internet Security

No. 5 Best Choice

AVG Internet Security brings to you advanced antimalware scans, removes and flat-out stops viruses, ransomware, spyware, rootkits, Trojan horses, and other nasty malware. Offering real-time protection, the security software suite can catch existing and emerging online threats even before they can reach your system. It also secures your USB and DVD drives just as quickly, too.

Primarily aimed toward Windows PC and Mac users, AVG’s Internet Security comes with a bundled mobile security app for Android users. However, if you prefer the standalone version, AVG Mobile Security can be downloaded on Apple App Store for iOS and Google Play for Android free of charge.

Key Features

  • Web and Email Protection

AVG Internet Security’s Email Shield technology specifically targets email attachments to stop threats, wherever they may come from malicious senders or friends sending malware out unknowingly. Your online security is guaranteed with a real-time link and download scanning, and protection against unsecured Wi-Fi spots.

  • Hacker Attack Protection

AVG’s Enhanced Firewall gives you full control over exactly who and what comes in and out of your device. Ransomware protection provides an extra layer of protection against ever-increasing ransomware attacks. That means nobody messes with any of your private data, files, photos, and passwords, no hackers, no ransomware, nothing.

  • Privacy Protection

Internet Security by AVG prevents suspicious applications from accessing your webcam. It can also encrypt and hide your most private photos and files, or permanently shred documents you are done with. When you are online, AVG helps you avoid visiting malicious and phishing sites so online scams and fraudulent activities won’t happen.

  • Payments Protection

For browsing, banking, or shopping, this is the added Internet protection AVG offers. AVG blocks spams and scams, and also helps you avoid fake websites, to prevent you from accidentally giving out passwords or credit card numbers.


What Are Mobile Security Apps?

Mobile security apps cover all your data and privacy security needs. These apps are in charge of protecting both personal and business information stored on and transmitted from smartphones, tablets, laptops and other mobile devices.

One feature of these apps is user authentication. Mobile devices with installed mobile security apps can authenticate users and protect or restrict access to data stored on the device through the use of passwords, personal identification numbers (PINs), pattern screen locks or more advanced forms of authentication such as fingerprint readers, eye scanners, and other forms of biometric readers.

Why Do You Need A Mobile Security App?

Mobile security apps serve as a protection against cybersecurity threats that target mobile devices. With the continuing growth of mobile devices, cybercriminals see a great opportunity in exploiting vulnerabilities in mobile operating systems (OS). Many of today’s mobile devices like smartphones and tablets run on Android, with iOS occupying a smaller yet more loyal market share.

Using similar tactics that they do on desktop computers like those running on Windows, cybercriminals employ malware like viruses and spyware for Android and iOS devices. They also saw unprotected wireless public networks as a new playground for them to spread malware and stage cyber attacks. Cybercriminals can fool unaware users to input their personal data on a phishing portal or make them download mobile Trojans that appear as legitimate apps on app marketplaces like Google Play.

Like their desktop counterparts, mobile security apps have features that shield mobile devices users against these attacks. Personal firewall filters traffic and blocks bad ones. Antivirus or anti-malware stops malware and removes them from the system. Encryption and VPN help in keeping your personal data protected from the prying eyes of hackers. Other features include password management, anti-phishing, spam blocking, and Wi-Fi scanning.

Top Risks & Threats Targeting Mobile Devices

Mobile security threats and other forms of Internet risks continue to evolve through the years. From traditional malware forms like viruses, spyware, and Trojan horses, these threats combine the features of different malware and other cyber attacks. These developments show that cybercriminals have stepped up their game, so users of smartphones, tablets, and mobile devices should level up theirs, too. Here are some of the top risks and threats observed by experts in recent years.

Stalkerware

Stalkerware comes in the form of either trackers or full-fledged tracking apps designed to locate victims’ coordinates and get into text messages. They were once legitimate apps found on Google Play. Eventually, the marketplace changed its policy, removing these apps from the system.

However, developers of these apps and third-party sites still offer them as downloads. Once installed, a stalkware app can make the location of a person accessible to third parties. While simplified as commercial programs, stalkerware can allow third-parties to extract almost any date on compromised devices. These include photos, voice calls, text messages, and key logs.

Adware

Advertising apps or adware increased last year with the key purpose of harvesting data on mobile devices. Detected adware installation packages almost doubled from 2018 to 2019. Fortunately, while these packages auto-generate, most of them fail to reach their target users. Mobile security apps immediately catch and prevent them from propagating. Cautious users also instantly find and uninstall them if given an option.

Last year, adware developers not only produced tens of thousands of packages but also upgraded them, enabling them to bypass OS restrictions. For example, KeepMusic adware family can loop a mute MP3 file, fooling the OS that a music player runs. A background process also runs at the same time, which can request a display time from the server.

Phishing Malware

Mobile financial malware like Trojan-Banker.AndroidOS.Gustuff.a can be used to steal money from bank accounts. It infects the device and sends a text message requesting for fund transfer to a special bank phone number. The bank then transfers the funds from the device owner’s account to the person behind the malware.

Another strategy steals online banking credentials, wherein cybercriminals put a phishing window on the victim’s device. The window appears similar to the bank’s login portal, luring the victim to input credentials. Once done, the cybercriminal can perform unauthorized bank transactions. Today, banks have anti-fraud systems that prevent these transactions from happening.

Mobile Trojans

Mobile Trojans have become more common in Android’s app marketplace, Google Play, in the same way how stalkerware became prevalent before 2018. Appearing as legitimate apps, mobile Trojans can allow cybercriminals to bypass SafetyNet, Android’s built-in antivirus protection.

Without SafetyNet, an Android device can only be protected with the help of a third-party mobile security app. Unaware users potentially download mobile Trojans as they pretend to be popular mobile apps like photo editors, wallpaper tools, mobile banking apps, or mobile security apps for mobile games. Some even gain credibility with hundreds of thousands of downloads on the Google Play marketplace.

Things To Consider When Choosing Mobile Security Apps

If you are planning to buy a mobile security app for your mobile devices, here are some of the features and guidelines you should look at.

Operating System Update With Security Patches

A good mobile security app always reminds you to update your phone’s operating system. Mobile operating systems like Apple iOS and Google Android provide regular updates to users that resolve security vulnerabilities and other mobile security threats.

Updates and patches also provide additional security, performance optimizations, and features to users. These upgrades aren’t always updated automatically, so mobile device users may need to turn on automatic updates or update their phones and apps manually on a regular basis. 

User Authentication Feature

Restricting access to the device by requiring a user authentication system includes a screen lock or password for personal identification number (PIN), but these measures are typically turned off by default. Some mobile security apps have this feature, make sure to check the app before purchasing.

Spyware Detection

A mobile security app with spyware detection will protect your devices by blocking system infiltrators. Spyware detection is a vital feature needed by a mobile security app. Your data and privacy will be protected with a mobile security app with a spyware detection feature.

Storage Encryption

Most devices have encrypted phone storage as some of them have it as a hidden feature. It is tough for hackers to thieve your data. If the storage is not encrypted, it is vulnerable to hacks and your personal info is in constant danger of getting hacked including photos, emails, and even access to networking accounts.

Remote Wipe Setup

Nowadays mobile devices have the functionality to remotely wipe data when the smartphone is stolen. One can set up iCloud on your iPhone or the useful Google Sync feature to Android. If the device is lost, one can make use of a remote wipe to delete information from the device once it is connected to the web.

Performance Optimization

Mobile security apps with this feature help your device to work on its highest level. This feature helps free up storage space by cleaning out junk, speed up devices with RAM boost, and extend battery life by adjusting power consuming Android settings.

Price

Lastly, you should consider the price when purchasing a mobile security app. Some applications offer a lot of features with a good price. Always remember to check all the features of the mobile app before purchasing it.