It was 2004 when the first smartphone virus was documented. Called Cabir, it was a relatively harmless piece of code that displayed a message on the screen of the infected device. Today, 10 years later, smartphone viruses can be a million times more aggressive than their granddaddy. Some try to steal the user's data, which usually ends up leaked onto a server on the other side of the planet. Others attempt to send texts to premium phone numbers, thus generating revenue for the attacker. There have also been cases of ransomware – viruses that lock the affected device and ask its owner for money in exchange for an unlock key.
By now it is surely clear that smartphone viruses can be a pain in the rear. Fortunately, the odds of a phone becoming infected are extremely slim even if the device runs Android, which, due to its popularity and openness, is the prime target for today's mobile viruses. Android users are safe as long as they don't install apps from any shady sources and don't visit any suspicious web sites. Yet if you do have to break this rule of thumb, then you better be using protection. Here are 12 of the best Android antivirus and malware detecting apps you'll find at the Play Store.