The Best Antivirus and Firewall Software, for your PC, Mobile

The Best Antivirus and Firewall Software, for your PC, Mobile

Any Antivirus product that you use will behave differently against various virus samples since the engines and other components incorporated in them are of different technologies. While one product might have higher detection ratio, another might have better malicious URL blocking or virtualization techniques, yet another might have lesser impact on system performance and so on.

With Antivirus and Firewall programs, you can detect and remove threats before they can cause harm with the best antivirus package. Whether it might be browser hijackers grabbing your search page, or the latest ransomware encrypting all your files, every PC and smartphone needs a sterling security package, the best antivirus around, to keep threats away.

The Microsoft’s Windows Defender is free and easy to use, but independent tests show its protection rates can dip to 95%, sometimes even lower, compared to 99.x% for the leading competition. This doesn’t mean you have to start spending big money. Experienced users in particular can build great solutions by combining free antivirus tools with other free and open source security products and even candidates from our curated best VPN buying guide.

The Commercial Antivirus packages usually deliver the best-rated protection and includes some premium features like password managers, web filtering, antiphishing tech and more.

Antivirus Engine: It is used for Real Time malware protection of files and is the core component to scan data on your PC for detecting and removing malware from hard disk, memory, boot sectors, network drives, removable disks, or from external network traffic (Internet).

Antivirus detectecting malware: The signature-based detection contains an offline database of known patterns of malware downloaded from the Internet which can identify specific malware codes or family of malware. There is heuristic based detection that identifies pieces of code that are unlikely to be found in legitimate programs and hence is prone to false positives depending on the sensitivity of heuristics. Virtualization and sandboxing unpacks or executes unknown programs in an isolated secure environment so that their behaviour can be analysed and scanned using the antivirus engine. The latest one is cloud based detection that requires a reliable Internet connection and sends the suspicious scanned file over the Internet and the analysis is done by the vendors’ machine running the cloud engine.

Scanning for viruses: Most antiviruses include these basic scan types: On-demand scan/manual scan is initiated by the user from right click context menu or from within the software. On-access scan is initiated when the resource is being accessed like running an executable, copying files from external drives etc. Scheduled scan periodically ensures that the system is free from malware by setting the time and frequency for scanning. Startup scan/quick scan checks most important locations like running processes, startup items, system memory and services, boot sectors and so on.

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware – An on-demand scanner to find and remove trojans alongside other malware.

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (MBAM) is an on-demand scanner which can be used to find and remove trojans, along with other malware such as viruses, worms, rootkits, diallers and spyware. Since the launch of version 2.0, in March 2014, the GUI has been drastically altered and long-term users’ of MBAM might take a while to get used to the new layout. Quick scan has been replaced by Threat scan, but the program is still intuitive and simple to use.

As well as ditching the former utilitarian interface, MBAM now has a Progress Scanner bar and the ability to review any detected items during a scan – previously users’ needed to wait until the scan had completed to see the items. As there are daily updates, always ensure the software has been updated prior to scanning your PC. For those of a forgetful nature, you can set the program to warn about the database being outdated. It also includes recommended option ‘Scan for rootkits’, that can be found under Settings > Protection > Scan Options.

Other features include: multiple-drive scanning; custom scanning; malware exclusions; quarantine (to hold threats prior to deletion or restoration), and application logs. Another plus point is that MBAM rarely causes any conflicts with other anti-malware utilities. If you encounter problems that are not covered in the comprehensive online guide: then you can visit the Malwarebytes forum:

NB Since version 3 MBAM has, by default, become a Premium Trial software, which means that for the first 14 days Real-Time Protection is enabled. After this aforementioned period of time MBAM reverts to an on-demand scanner.

Pros: Scans and removes trojans along with other malware. Features include multiple drive and threat scans; database updates; ignore list and quarantine to hold threats, etc. Improved scanning speed since version 1.50 and since version 2.0 a much better GUI: as of version 2.1.4, the interface has been further improved by simplifying its previously cluttered appearance. Since version 3.0, Pre-scan Operations has vastly improved in terms of speed. A version for Android is now available.

Cons: Real-time protection; update and scan scheduler; hyper scan mode; chameleon driver; and malicious website blocking are only available in the first 14 days after install. After the aforementioned period, the software reverts to a manual scanner. If you require further real-time protection you will need to pay for the premium version.

DownloadAndroid | Mac | Windows

Qihoo 360 Total Security – This free antivirus is better than most commercial ones


Qihoo comes with 3 different protection modes: Performance, Balanced and Security. Also, you have options to enable or disable various protection parameters.

1. Privacy protection

  • Webcam protection
  • Keylogger blocking

2. Internet protection

  • Online shopping protection
  • Malicious website blocking
  • Downloaded file scan

3. System protection

  • USB drive protection
  • Network threat blocking
  • Malicious behavior blocking
  • File system protection
  • Registry protection
  • Scan file when saved
  • Scan file when opened
  • Use Bitdefender scan engine
  • Use Avira scan engine


  • Totally free, light on resources, extremely fast scan times and pre-configuration protection modes
  • Smooth running installer with no adware, pleasing UI and comes with many themes
  • Fast updates/fixes and excellent service with immediate replies
  • Great signatures with multiple engines and in-house cloud protection
  • Web protection addon, browsing locking, webcam, sandbox and usb protection modules
  • Online shopping protection, malicious URL protection and network threat blocking
  • Includes Glasswire Firewall and Windows patch-up components
  • Great detection rates, with very high zero day protection


  • Speedup and clean-up tools might not be for everyone (not present in Essentials version)
  • Bitdefender or Avira engines not enabled by default
  • Might encounter few false positives
  • PUP [Potentially Unwanted Programs] detection needs to improve

DownloadAndroid | Mac OS | Windows

Avast Free Antivirus – The only antivirus with a fully customizable installer and selection of user preference components.


  • Extremely light on the system with a modern and clean UI
  • The only antivirus with a fully customizable installer, selection of user preference components
  • Works best in hardened or lock-down mode, which blocks all unknown programs (medium-expert users only)
  • Top notch detection capability, many secondary components to offer variety to a wholesome software
  • Excellent malicious URL blocking, network protection, outdated software checking, integrated password manager, and comes with a rescue disk.
  • Deep screen technology that includes Sandbox and Safe machine components for protection


  • Bloated default setup, some ads and pop’ups
  • Account creation for further protection after a month
  • Lack of an anti-ransomware module, and Deepscreen disabled by default
  • Cloud reputation, Malware signatures and HIPS module needs improvement
  • Offers Google Chrome and various bloated secondary components during install [Choose custom install]

DownloadMacWindows | Android | iOS

Comodo Premium – Provides a multi-layered protection scheme with HIPS, sandbox, antivirus and firewall


  • Feature-rich with lots of options for customization along with setting tolerance against prompts
  • Tweaked settings gives the best 0-day protection among the pack
  • Multi-layered protection scheme with HIPS, Sandbox, Antivirus and Firewall
  • Industry grade firewall with options for learning and behavioural blocker
  • Low on resources with various graphical skins available and a clean


  • Painful for beginners to use it, not very newbie friendly
  • Av-module is a bit weak especially the signature based detection
  • Auto-sandboxing happens for various legitimate files, troubles with FPS games
  • Too many tweaks needed for better protection
  • Buggy software and updates are released slow.
  • Chromodo browser, Yahoo search engine, custom DNS and Geek Buddy offered during default install. [Click customize installation during install]

DownloadAndroid | Linux | Mac OS | Windows

Avira Free Antivirus – A free antivirus with high quality signatures, very fast updates and less false positives.


  • Pretty light on the system and runs smooth without system slow-downs
  • Clean ad-free GUI, Ad-free installer, No pop-ups or ads
  • High quality signatures, very fast updates, excellent detection on non-zero day threats
  • Deep file scans with very less false positives
  • Avira Protection Cloud makes for an excellent cloud engine
  • Browser safety Add-ons available for major browsers


  • Zero day protection (heuristic & behavioural shield) is very weak.
  • Ineffective Browser launcher which is a memory hog (can be uninstalled)
  • Painful removal for detected files. Repeated scans from Luke Filewalker increases CPU & RAM usage.
  • Multiple file exceptions needs to be added (real-time and on-demand)
  • No firewall/sandboxing/web shield technologies

DownloadAndroid | iOS | Mac OS | Windows

Panda Free Antivirus – Gives you antivirus protection with low memory and CPU usage, and collective intelligence cloud security.


  • Low memory & CPU usage thanks to cloud protection
  • Tiled UI with customizable interface and nicely rendered Settings interface
  • Collective intelligence cloud security – Downloading virus definitions is history
  • Good detection rates and behavioural analysis program
  • Fairly good web protection and hardware resource handling


  • Dependant on internet connection leading to weaker offline protection
  • Slow scanning speed, no fingerprinting (successive re-testing same files) and at times issues with virus removal
  • Not really light, performance impact in web browsing, installation and copying
  • Certain false positives despite the available at cloud
  • Watch out for Panda security toolbar during install

Download: Windows | Mac | Android | iOS

Microsoft Windows Defender – Anti-spyware stalwart starting to show signs of neglect

Windows Defender is one of the most widely used AV products on the planet, and many people who rely on the program don’t even know it’s there. It will automatically update itself if you’ve enabled Windows 10 or Windows 8.1 to always have the latest system updates.

To protect your PC from infection, Windows Defender uses traditional signature-matching scanning to compare potential malware against a database of known threats. It also uses heuristic analysis, which monitors software behavior and other attributes, to catch new “zero-day” malware or malware that rapidly changes its code to evade signature detection.

Anything that looks strange gets uploaded to Microsoft’s labs for further analysis. New signature updates are sent out to users several times per day. (You can choose to not participate in the malware-collection program with an option in Windows Defender’s Settings section.)

False positives: Under Windows 8, Windows Defender detected 99.6% of the malware thrown at it – which is 0.1% below the industry average – but also did very well in terms of false positives (files wrongly identified as malware), only hitting one of these over the two-month test period compared to the industry average of five.

It also produced no false warnings when visiting websites, and this lack of interrupting the user for no reason is why Microsoft’s software is now scoring so well for usability.

With just a little bit more work on protection, Windows Defender will be a more than viable option, which is good news for less tech-savvy users who might simply stick with the default protection that comes with the OS.


  • Comes with Windows 8 and Windows 10 Improved scores in tests by independent labs
  • Very good score in antiphishing test
  • Decent and simple scheduling tools
  • Now part of Windows Service Center


  • Ineffective at its core job
  • Installation quirks
  • Still missed many threats
  • Full scan slows down PC
  • Not many extra features

CM Security AppLock AntiVirus – This app is simplistic yet provides a great level of protection

Of all the apps that exist to analyze our phones, many have a lot of extras. They do a good job most of the time, but the way they are implemented can make the protection of your device more puzzling. That aspect can be solved with CM Security, a relatively new malware detection app for Android that comes from the same creators of the famous CleanMaster App. The app itself is as simple as you can get, while providing a great level of protection.

The main user interface of CM Security is not exactly surprising, but still enjoyable in its own way and looks quite clean. It won’t add an icon in the notification bar, but will change the color of the interface depending on the status of your device. The main screen basically consists of a big button in the center and a small menu button in the top-right corner. A tap on the central button will start scanning the device for any threat, either in the form of a malicious application, the current settings of your system or any SMSes that may be listed as Phishing.

Once the scan process is finished, (which takes less than a minute in most cases) the app will list what kind of threats and vulnerabilities require attention and will offer to solve them, either one at a time or all at once. That is the basic function CM Security provides, but it also offers some other features such as a Privacy Advisor and a Secure Browsing option that works with most of the existing browsers.

If you want to add an extra layer of security to your device, there is an option to schedule scans (located within the settings menu) which can be set to daily, weekly or monthly scans. But that is not all: we can also analyze the entire SD in search of any kind of suspicious files, not just apps. A fast scan feature for the SD Card is also available, however, if you need a comprehensive SD Card scan, make sure you disable the fast scan option at least for the first-time scan, that way you will be sure no malicious file gets into your device. In any case, you can further reduce the time a scan takes by excluding the apps you trust from future scans. CM Security has also a bundled Call Filtering option; yeah, we know that has little to do with a security application like this, but if you want to increase the security of your phone, restricting incoming calls from those annoying marketers and problematic people is a good idea and it is useful preventing scams, too.

There is a free add-on you can download to clean up all kind of junk files from your device and claim some of your storage space. Considering the add-on comes from CleanMaster, you know the grade of cleaning it can perform.

CM Security came as a surprise, and a very good one. The anti-malware engine works really well and its database is updated periodically, so there is little chance some malware will get into your device. The app has all the essential features every anti-malware app should have, and it packs them in a small a package. The RAM usage while working in the background is between 6 to 9 MB, and up to 14 MB while performing a full system scan, which is great news for users with low RAM. CM Security is a great security app the way it is now, and we like that. No catches, no ads and 100% free. Let’s hope its developers keep it that way.


  • Offers an effective and complete security suite in a small package
  • Full SD Card scan option
  • Malware scan not limited to APKs
  • Very RAM friendly
  • Small installation size

Cons: The junk cleaner requires and additional download

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Mobile – Keep your devices clean and safe, preventing any malware from being installed

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is one of the most used programs in Windows, and its developers decided to release a version of their program for Android in order to help users to protect their mobile devices the same way they protect their desktop systems and that is how Malwarebytes Anti-Malware for mobile was born. It is a clever way to expand the product to new platforms, too.

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is a 100% free application that will allow you to keep your devices clean and safe, preventing any malware from being installed. The app can scan, detect and remove all malware in the system, protect the access to your personal data, find vulnerabilities in the system settings and offer solutions to fix them, identify and inform about the permissions all the installed apps need and close possible security holes. If the app is consuming too many resources, you can enable or disable certain features of the system for a lighter operation.

After you have installed the app, using it is very simple. The main screen has 3 buttons: Scan Now, App Manager and Privacy Manager. If you select “Scan Now “, the app will automatically scan every single app we have installed in our system. After a while, it will display a notice indicating whether your device is clean or infected by malware. Using the “Application Manager” section, we can see all the installed applications. From there, you can check what apps are running and then you can close them manually if needed, if not, you can just view the application information.

The “Privacy Manager” is the most interesting section; from this we can see the permissions each app needs based on different categories. We can easily spot those apps that are allowed to access our data, read our contacts, take pictures, share our location or send anonymous statistics. At the top of that menu, there is button labeled “security audit” that will analyze your system for bugs and security holes. If we tap on it, it will show a summary of the existing bugs and security holes. Another tap on each issue will bring the solutions list, so we can find the best way to fix it. Scheduled tasks are available too, with daily or weekly frequencies, You can even choose the specific day and hour when this task will be executed.

There is no doubt Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is a very easy to use app, and will make your device safer. It will work silently in the background with a RAM usage between 12~17 MB and ~23 MB during a complete scan.

Truth is Malwarebytes Anti-Malware could easily be our top-pick for this category, but there are two aspects that work against it. First, its continuous search for updates drains the battery faster than other apps as there are only 3 options to set the updates: each hour, every 3 hours or 6 hours. The only way of avoiding them is by turning off the real-time protection, which renders the logic of having an anti-malware app completely useless. Sure, you could turn off your internet connection as a workaround, but if you depend on your e-mail or instant messaging apps, that is not an option. Secondly, as good as having hourly malware definitions updates is, searching for them in such short time span seems a bit overkill, unless you install a lot apps and stuff from dubious sites every single hour. However, if you have a device with a really good battery and you enjoy living on constant peril by exposing your device to malicious apps and other threats round the clock, then Malwarebytes Anti-Malware will save the day.


  • Very easy to use
  • Fast and effective anti-malware engine
  • Useful set of privacy tools


  • Not battery friendly
  • The update check scheme can be a bit overkill for most users.

Avast Antivirus & Security – An anti-malware engine with a complete set of protection tools

Avast Mobile Security has seen much comings and goings during these last months. First, it luckily recovered some ground in terms of malware detection capabilities, but then it turned itself into a freemium app which needs in-app purchases if you want to use the full array of features it includes.

Avast adds an icon in the notification tray, you can disable it, but doing that will affect the real-time protection. You can schedule automatic scans for the apps, the SD Card or both. The Privacy Advisor checks the permissions every app needs and lists the potential privacy issues they may have, whilst the Applications Management acts as a RAM monitoring and task killing tool. The Network Meter can monitor all your data traffic (WiFi, 3G and Roaming) and you can check each app’s traffic under every network by selecting the corresponding tab.

Avast includes a full set of protection shields grouped under the “Shield Control” menu and it should protected you from all fronts. The Web Shield will block any infected URL it may find; the Message Shield will filter all unwanted SMSes and the Application Shield will keep PUAs at bay. The SMS & Call Filtering can be set up to block outgoing and incoming calls and you can add them to a group or groups and add specific days and hours to block them. Additionally, the included USSD protection will keep your dialler safe from exploits.

The included Firewall allows you to disable Internet access to any kind of network (WiFi, 3G and Roaming). That way you can avoid expensive roaming connection fares, block specific apps from going online and keep hackers away. Not so good, however, is that you need a rooted device to make it work.

As for the Anti-theft module, Avast’s latest versions have turned it into an optional component. There are two versions: One for rooted devices and the other for non-rooted ones. Non-rooted devices can benefit from some Anti-theft components such as the Stealth Mode (it disguises and hides the Anti-theft component from unauthorized access) and a very complete list of SMS to trigger special actions such as alarms, device locking, remote wiping and geo-location. Rooted devices will have additional options such as Self-Protection (app uninstalling prevention and USB disabling) and Remote Settings Change. Avast also has a fully operational online service (you need a free Avast account) from which you can check and change your device status (Secured or Lost), locate it, send web and manage the Anti-Theft settings. Sadly, features such as the app-locking, the anti-theft extras and the adware detecting capabilities are now limited to the full (paid) version.

The two versions of the Anti-theft component are available for free at the PlayStore, but they still need an avast account to work. The application locking feature is limited to 2 apps.

Avast has improved the malware detection rates and most of the problems from previous versions have faded away. The app has also reduced its installation size, that now takes ~12 MB, whereas the previous versions took ~25 MB. The RAM usage remains almost the same, though, with ~30 MB at peak demand and 13~19 MB while idle, but you can still disable some features to save some RAM. We know the need of a rooted device for the Firewall and the most advanced Anti-theft options might pose a problem for new and inexperienced users, but that is a small price to pay for the kind of protection Avast Mobile Security provides.


  • Good anti-malware engine bundled with a complete set of protection tools
  • Advanced Anti-Theft options with SMS and Online commands to find your phone


  • The Anti-Theft’s most advanced features and the Firewall need a rooted device to work
  • Starting from version 3.0 it is a feature-limited freeware
  • More demanding than previous versions on older phones

Comodo Antivirus & Mobile Security – An awesome anti-malware app plus some handy utilities

Developed by a well-known company, Comodo Mobile Security has its own share of characteristics starting with an awesome anti-malware plus some handy utilities that should help protecting your privacy, your data and your device itself. Furthermore, it is one of the very few 100% free security apps that remain out there.

After the install, Comodo will check for updates automatically, though it will need your confirmation to proceed. As with other apps, Comodo adds an icon in the notifications tray but disabling it won’t cause any consequences. After everything is set, you can tap on the Health Check button in the main screen to check you device. Once the scan is finished the app will list the results under three categories: Dangerous, Pending and Secure, and it will add a brief description of the respective issues (if found). You can also schedule scan tasks, but you cannot choose specific locations.

Comodo has also included some useful tools besides the obvious anti-malware. The Process Manager is a redesigned task killer that shows the current RAM usage and lists all the running processes. The Traffic Monitoring and the Call & SMS Blocking tools will do what their name suggests. With the Private Space you can classify contacts or single phone numbers as “private”, so you have to write a password first to make / receive a call and send / receive SMSes. The Software Manager is split into My Software (it lists all the installed apps, the available space and lets you uninstall the programs) and the App Protector, which locks the access to any app(s) you choose with a password. You can use the Backup Tool to keep a copy of your contacts, SMSes, apps and private space in your SD Card. Lastly, Comodo has a Firewall tool aimed at blocking any app you want, although it lacks specific network blocking options (Wi-Fi, 3G) and it needs a rooted device to work. As for the USSD protection, the included tool worked seamlessly with the dialer.

The improved Anti-theft feature mixes both online (Google Maps) and offline (SMSes) options and the 3-step Anti-theft Setup Wizard will guide you throughout the process. Once configured, you can use SMSes to send the location of your phone to another one (Remote locate), notify a friend’s number in case your SIM gets changed (SIM Change Alerts), trigger an alarm (works even when in silent mode) and block your phone remotely (Remote Device Lock). You can also erase any important data remotely (Remote Device Wipe). Comodo has also included a SMS command that will activate your phone’s camera and will take a picture of its current ‘possessor’ and send it to your mail using the SMTP protocol. On the downside, Comodo does not act as “device administrator”, which limits its capacity to enforce its device protection features.

Comodo has finally improved the anti-malware engine, which proved good, and the RAM usage peaked at 20 MB while performing a full system scan, but it kept a healthy 5~10 MB while idle. Even though all these changes and additions are not bad at all, we would like Comodo to work as a Device Administrator in order to strengthen its anti-theft module. That, and addition of a 3G / Wi-Fi specific blocking option for the firewall along with a secure web browsing option, would definitely make it a top pick.


  • Awesome anti-malware engine
  • Simple and clean interface
  • Useful Anti-theft features
  • Great personal data backup to SD Card feature
  • Good and useful set of tools.


  • Lacks a web protection option
  • Does not act as Device Administrator
  • No specific blocking for WiFI, 3G or Roaming.

Sophos Free Antivirus and Security – An awesome 100% free security app with great anti-malware capabilities

Sophos Free Antivirus & Security is the result of the experienced minds from the labs of the same name, and we must say they have bested any previous version with this new one. It has a minimalist UI and is not as open as the other apps, but gets the job done.

Once installed, Sophos will show you its improved minimalist-style home screen composed by 6 categories: Scanner, Loss & Theft, Spam Protection, Privacy Advisor, Security Advisor and the App Protection.

You can use the scanner settings to schedule periodic scans, look for unwanted apps (or PUAs, as Sophos calls them), include or exclude system apps from the scanning process, enable or disable the “On install Scan” (scans the app during its installation). It can even scan APKs obtained from any source such as e-mail attachments or web pages. You can also enable or disable the “Monitor SD Card” option by which Sophos will monitor any writes to the SD Card and USB device (USB OTG) automatically as soon as you plug it. Finally, you can activate the “Cloud Scan Mode” and set it to “Always”, “Not While Roaming” and “WiFi only” to use the Sophos to get the latest data on Android malware. The “Malicious Website Protection” option will warn you of any blacklisted site it finds.

The Loss & Theft feature is a pretty good SMS-based tool; to enable it you must configure all the required items (7 in total) first. Setting them up is a simple task and the app itself will help you throughout the process. Once set, you can select the Loss & Theft features you want to enable such as Alarm, Locate / Locate at Low Battery, (the device sends its location back to you), Lock (blocks your device), SIM change (sends SMSes to selected numbers from the new SIM), Unlock, Secure Wipe and Unprotect (it deactivates the Anti-theft).

In order to improve security and strengthen the app against potential attacks from malicious users, Sophos has released a small (85 KB) free add-on called “Security & Antivirus Guard” which acts as an additional Device Administrator and ensures the app never gets terminated and restarts itself immediately if needed.

The Security Advisor will scan for any unsecure settings your device may have and will advice you accordingly. The Privacy Advisor, on the other hand, scans and lists all the installed apps and categorizes them under 3 categories: apps that may cause costs, apps that may harm your privacy and apps that may access the internet. You can sort the categories to your own needs using the icons at the bottom. The Spam Protection is a very simple yet effective Call & SMS filter (it works great) and the recently added App Protection will lock any app you want with an alphanumeric password.

Sophos’ scan engine works fine even with the Cloud Scan option disabled and there is a neat USSD protection along with an effective secure web browsing feature. The main downside of Sophos, however, lies within the RAM usage, which has increased when compared to previous versions: it peaked at 22 MB and ~16 MB while idle; it also needs around 22 MB of internal space to be installed. Although we wish Sophos Security & Antivirus was not as big and demanding as it is now, it is still an awesome 100% free security app with great anti-malware capabilities and a very good set of tools such as the Anti-theft and the App Protection.


  • Simple though functional main UI
  • Good anti-malware engine with fast scan times
  • Effective SMS-based Anti-theft
  • Comprehensive set of features which increase the app’s value as a whole


  • Big installation size
  • Unclear virus definition update strategy
  • RAM usage has increased when compared to previous versions
  • It seems to work best when connected permanently to the internet with the Cloud Scan option enabled

Lookout Security & Antivirus – A true veteran with a lot of experience in mobile security

Lookout Security & Antivirus is a true veteran because it is one of the first security and anti-malware app developed for the Android platform and therefore has a lot of experience concerning mobile security.

After its installation, the app will scan all the programs installed on your device automatically in order to protect your device and beloved data from malicious apps, spyware or other potential malware. It also does an automatic scan whenever you try to install a new app or update an already existing one. In addition, you can schedule a scan of the apps on your device at a frequency, day and/or time slot to your liking but you can’t choose specific locations or directories, so you have to stick to the app’s default options.

As a bonus feature, Lookout includes a phone-locator feature (labeled as Missing Device) that allows you to locate your missing and beloved phone using Google maps even with the GPS turned off. You can create a free account at and use your login to locate your phone using a browser, though it does not offer any offline recovery option (such as SMSes) or a SIM change alert, for that matter.

Back to the account options, you can use it to back up your current contacts in and restore them to your phone or any other Android device you possess in case you have more than one. Moreover, Lookout will check if your contacts backup is properly updated whenever you add, delete or update a contact, which proved to be a really easy and handy feature to keep your contacts info well protected, updated and with easy access.

Lookout Mobile Security works flawlessly when it comes to malware detection and cleaning since no malware that dared to get into the phone succeeded and the included USSD protection worked fine. Although the current version boasts a new eye-candy UI coupled with some battery and stability enhancements, the Anti-theft component is the one that has seen some major improvements thanks to the Signal Flare (sends your device’s location before its battery runs out) and the Lock Cam feature (it takes a picture with your frontal camera and sends it to your email after 5 failed attempts to unlock your device). As for the RAM usage, it peaked at 32 MB at some point, whereas 12~22 MB are the average while idle. Sadly, key features like Safe Browsing, the Privacy Advisor and the Remote Lock & Wipe are still only available to the Premium (paid) version, although you can have them as 14-day trial versions in case you want to give them a try.

Lookout Mobile Security is definitely a great anti-malware app with decent Anti-theft capabilities. However, we still believe that the app’s current strategy seems rather odd, as some free security apps are providing malware detection rates equal to or higher than Lookout’s along with safe browsing, privacy tools and remote lock & wipe options for free. Anyway, Lookout does not seem to care about that and keeps on trying to overcome them by selling you those services at premium prices. That is a reminder that, though effective, Lookout is still only a feature-limited security app which, unsurprisingly, is starting to lag behind some real good contenders who offer their security apps at no cost.


  • Great and fast protection against malware
  • Contacts Data Backup & Restore and Find My Phone functions included in the package
  • Interesting Anti-Theft component


  • Advanced features such as Safe Browsing, Remote Lock & Wipe and the Privacy Advisor are available only in the paid version.

360 Security – A capable app goes beyond the common anti-malware strategy by adding hotfixes

360 Security by Qihoo 360 Software is a capable app that goes beyond the common anti-malware strategy by adding hotfixes to certain security issues. Sadly, some of the latest changes in the app have increased the number of required permissions to an intrusive level, which definitely affects the app’s reputation.

360’s interface is user friendly, with gorgeous looks, while keeping it as simple as it can be. We never knew what to expect for when we installed 360 Mobile Security for the first time, although we must say it surprised us in a good manner when, in addition to malware, it also detected and offered us to patch a series of specific Android vulnerabilities that neither Avast, TrustGo nor Lookout (among other major anti-malware players) ever considered.

That is one of the most innovative features any security app has included so far, as there’s no need to wait for firmware updates from the manufacturer to patch our device’s vulnerabilities or seek protection by installing third-party ROMs. There is a trick regarding 360’s ability to patch the vulnerabilities, though: in order to keep your phone safe, you must keep the 360 Mobile Security installed; should you ever want to uninstall it, you will lose all the “patches” it had ever installed on your device.

In the event that you need to change the behavior of 360 Mobile Security, just swipe the main UI to the left and tap on the small gear-like icon. There, you can enable and disable the Auto Updates, the Auto Start, the language and the notification tray, which includes shortcuts for the System Cleanup, the alarm, the recent apps and a flashlight toggle.

If you do not feel confident about providing anonymous statistics regarding 360’s usage, make sure you disable the Customer Experience Improvement Program option.

360 Mobile Security also packs some goodies such as a Privacy Advisor, a System Cleanup Tool and a very useful “Floating Window” as 360 describes it. The first one will list all the installed apps under 7 permission-based categories whilst the second one will kill any app you choose and it will also clean private data from the system’s history. The floating window is a small but omnipresent floating shortcut that can be placed on the sides of the screen. When tapped on, it shows all apps currently running, but you can add toggles for Wi-Fi, Mobile Data, Bluetooth, GPS and Screen Brightness among others. If you feel like the floating window is causing you some problems, you can disable it or ask 360 to show it only in the launcher screen. The latest version also includes a Vault, a Call & SMS filtering feature and a Junk Cleaner.

Even though it lacks things such as an Anti-theft or a Firewall, 360’s design and features compensate that loss. It consumed about 6~8 MB of RAM while idle, and it peaked at 19 MB while performing a scan in a heavily loaded device. As a security app, it packs advanced features such as the advanced system vulnerabilities fixing and a very good malware detection engine. It is a pity the guys at Qihoo have messed up the app with intrusive permissions in recent versions and the recent introduction of 360 Mobile Safe (which works on a very similar way to 360) only brings more confusion, and that’s definitely something a lot of users won’t like.


  • Sleek design with a simple user interface
  • Fast and lightweight anti-malware engine
  • Interesting set of goodies


  • Intrussive new set of permissions
  • Does not include anti-theft capabilities.


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Linux & Windows Geek, Blogger & System Administrator

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