Let's face it – Android smartphones occupy a large share of the world phone market and we shouldn't be surprised if Google's platform is one of the most preferred targets for virus attacks. Just over a week ago, two dozen virus-infected apps were pulled from the Android Market
with some of them looking as innocent as Tetris and Solitaire. And that might not be welcome news for users, but it is for some software developers.
Security solution providers from Symantec, recently claimed that Android security threats
are only going to get worse in the future. And that's because Android is an open, monetizable and increasingly ubiquitous platform. But what's the solution to those problems? Symantec claims that its Norton Mobile Security anti-virus handles the job and:
1. Scans for malware
, including downloaded apps, updates and the contents of your microSD card. In addition, its constantly updated database should detect and protect you from most malware. A scan of the 8GB of memory of the Android handset we used took slightly more than 30 seconds, a very good score in comparison to the scanning time on other anti-virus apps. There was no real malware that we could test the app with, but given Norton's rich database, we can expect it to detect most virus-infected apps.
2. Blocks unwanted calls and SMS messages
. Straightforward as it sounds, you just have to add a contact or a number, and all calls and/or messages from that person will be blocked. So you can block those celebrity stalkers from invading your privacy. Or just stalkers. You might just want to be careful to not block your mum.
3. Lets you remotely locate, lock or wipe your Android device in case of a theft. You can also add some trusted contacts who'll also be able to unlock your phone by tapping on Choose Buddy and selecting the contacts. If you then lose your phone or get it stolen you can simply send a text with the word “locate”, “lock”, or “wipe” followed by your pre-defined password, and the phone will respond with its exact coordinates or by locking/wiping itself.
4. Protects you on the web from phishing websites. That might sound good at first, but the feature is heavy on system memory with users reporting that it could occupy as much as a whopping 84MB of it.
The application is still in beta and free, but when you activate it, Norton Mobile Security shows that you can only use it in the next three weeks. So while we certainly appreciate the boosted security, you might find that it slows down the overall Android experience by consuming a lot of your system memory. But even if mobile security is not your main priority, we would still recommend this application if it was only for the remote locate, lock and wipe function. Norton Mobile Security requires Android 2.x or later and 1.8MB of storage. Currently, it carries the sweet price tag of free, so it wouldn't hurt trying it, would it?