16 JAN 2019

The best antivirus for Android: free and paid

The topic of antivirus for Android is particularly hot today.

Android is an operating system derived from Linux, very stable and well organized. Let’s immediately destroy one of the most widespread myths on the internet: viruses for Android (at the root of Linux) exist, are as damaging as those written for Windows systems and therefore antivirus for Android is needed!

For many years, Windows was the most widespread operating system in the world and the totality of malware that ran on the Internet was aimed at damaging systems of this type. Now the situation is different and with the advent of Android, cyber-criminals have begun to focus their efforts on the possibility of making money through widespread viruses on smartphone systems. There are many phones that use the Android mobile operating system: Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, Asus, LG, Sony. This system is also used on many tablets. Antivirus for Android becomes necessary to protect our data and our apps. In this article we will look at a free solution (Avast Mobile Security) and 2 paid solutions Bitdefender Mobile Security and Norton Mobile Security). All 3 of these antivirus apps can be downloaded from the Android PlayStore


Differences between antivirus for Android and desktop

The antiviruses for Android are light: they were designed with the aim of not overloading the host system (that is typically the smartphone) and unlike the antiviruses designed for desktop systems, they have limited resources for detecting malware.


Smart use of the smartphone

Let’s start with an assumption: there is no better antivirus than human being.

The correct use of the smartphone means:

  • do not open suspicious e-mails;
  • do not surf on sites that are not recommended;
  • do not download “unverified” applications.

This smart use of mobile devices protects us from many viruses; nevertheless, there are some situations that we cannot avoid.

A common example of unintentionally downloading a virus in a trusted page, is the use of the clickjacking technique. Basically, within a web page we trust, is “installed” an invisible button on top of a legitimate button. When we click on the trusted button, we will actually initiate the action of downloading the invisible button malware.

This serves to demonstrate that the use of good computer habits may not be enough to prevent the arrival of a virus.

Come funziona il clickjacking, una tecnica per lo scaricamento involontario di virus

Among the best antivirus solutions for Android are Avast Mobile Security, Bitdefender Mobile Security and Norton Mobile Security.


Avast Mobile Security: the best free antivirus for Android

Avast Mobile Security offers many of the features offered by the best paid rivals: protects against malware without weighing down your smartphone too much and safeguards user privacy. In addition, it includes an app advisor and a VPN client, as well as a blacklist for contacts. Tests have shown, however, that compared to the antivirus you pay for, it has some flaws, in fact the anti-theft function, and call blocking have not proved to be as effective as the other two antivirus apps that we look at in the following paragraphs. Avast Mobile Security, however, for even greater protection, also has paid versions:

  • pro: at $6.23 per year: it offers advanced protection and, above all, without advertising. Protects sensitive apps, photos, captures photos and audio of thieves, locates the device even if unloading, and records the device as lost if the SIM is replaced;
  • the ultimate version: $14.74 per year: provides enhanced security and VPN security that allows you to protect your online activities, particularly when making money transactions;
  • the ultimate multi: $170.22 per year (often discounted at $85.10). Subscription to this paid version of Avast Mobile Security provides advanced security and VPN for both mobile devices – Android and IoS –  and for desktop – Windows and MAC.

Avast Mobile Security also provides monthly subscription plans, but with the annual subscription there is considerable savings.


Bitdefender Mobile Security, paid antivirus at a low price: $11.34 per year

Bitdefender Mobile Security is an app that offers all round protection against malware and impacts very little on your smartphone’s performance. It also offers some privacy protection tools and anti-theft of the device. The only drawback: it does not offer programmed scans. The scan must be initiated by the owner.


Norton Mobile Security: $34.03 per year

In some ways similar to the previous one, it also offers the possibility of blocking unwanted calls and SMS, allows the backup of contacts and offers anti-theft functionality. The best feature is the App Advisor, which controls the privacy and security risks for the installed and/to be installed apps. Included in the price is also Norton App Lock and Secure Password Manager.

Elaborated by Fabrizio Milazzo and Lucia D’Adamo