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Avast! Mobile Security brings fanastic, free, feature-filled security to Android

There a LOT of security / antivirus solutions on Android. Norton, McAfee Wavesecure, AVG, Lookout, Webroot, Netqin etc. etc... all the heavy hitters are here and I think i've used pretty much every single one of them at one time, but now there's a new app on the block which has just left Beta - Avast! Mobile Security.

First a bit of background. While Avast! is one of the more respected names in desktop AV, their Android product is actually a combination of their own anti virus developments and the acquisition of a product called 'Theft Aware', a very well respected device anti-theft solution. With that in mind you'd expect Avast to be pretty good wouldn't you? And you'd be right.

One of the things that stands out immediately about Avast! is that it's free. Not limited free, free trial or anything else, actually completely free. Whether the business model is as a loss leader into the desktop products I don't know, but I approve (and if that IS the model, it works, i've been inspired to check out their products on my desktop machines!)

What does Avast! Mobile Security include? How about...

  • Antivirus
    • Performs on-demand scans of all installed apps and memory card content, as well as on-access scans of apps upon first execution. Options for scheduling scans, virus definition updates, uninstalling apps, deleting files, or reporting a false-positive to our virus lab.
  • Privacy Report
    • Scans and displays (grid) access rights and intents of installed apps, identifying potential privacy risks, so you know how much info you are really providing to each app.
  • SMS/Call Filtering
    • Filter calls and/or messages from contact list using set parameters based on day(s) of the week, start time, and end time. Blocked calls redirect to voicemail, while blocked messages are stored via filter log. Also possible to block outgoing calls.
  • App Manager
    • Similar to Windows Task Manager, it shows a list of running apps and their size (MB), CPU load, used memory, and number of threads and services – with an option to stop or uninstall.
  • Web Shield
    • Part of the avast! WebRep cloud, the avast! Web Shield for Android scans each URL that loads and warns you if the browser loads a malware-infected URL.
  • Firewall
    • Add a firewall to stop hackers. Disable an app’s internet access when on WiFi and 3G and roaming mobile networks. (Works only on rooted phones.)
  • avast! Anti-Theft
    • App Disguiser
    • After downloading avast! Anti-Theft, user can choose a custom name that disguises the app (e.g. call it “Pinocchio game”) so that it is even harder for thieves to find and remove.
  • Stealth Mode
    • Once anti-theft is enabled, the app icon is hidden in the app tray, leaving no audio or other trace on the target phone – the app is ‘invisible’, making it difficult for thieves to detect or remove.
  • Self-Protection
    • Extremely difficult for thieves to remove (especially on rooted phones), Anti-Theft protects itself from uninstall by disguising its components with various self-preservation techniques. On rooted phones it is able to survive hard-resets and can even disable the phone’s USB port.
  • Battery Save
    • Anti-Theft only launches itself and runs when it needs to perform tasks. This preserves battery life and makes it very difficult for thieves to shut it down.
  • SIM-Card-Change Notification
    • If stolen and a different (unauthorized) SIM card inserted, the phone can lock, activate siren, and send you notification (to remote device) of the phone’s new number and geo-location.
  • Trusted SIM Cards List
    • Establish a ‘white list’ of approved SIM cards that can be used in the phone without triggering a theft alert. You can also easily clear the trusted SIM cards list, to leave the one present in the phone as the only trusted one.
  • Remote Settings Change
    • A setup wizard guides the user through the installation process on rooted phones. No command-line knowledge is necessary to install Anti-Theft rooted. Also supports upgrading.
  • Remote Features
    • SMS commands provide you the following REMOTE options for your ‘lost’ (or stolen) phone:
    • Siren, Lock, custom Display properties, Locate, Memory Wipe, covert Calling, Forwarding, “Lost” Notification, SMS Sending, History, Restart, and more.
[/list]Phew! Pretty impressive right? What's most impressive though is that it really works. I recently left a device at a friends house and was able to successfully lock and locate the device instantly via SMS.

Deeply intregrated into the product is support for rooted devices. Excellent! If your device is rooted, Avast! can bury itself deep in the operating system making it harder for a thief to remove / disable not to mention making it hard-reset proof and with disabled USB.

If you've been wondering if you should install an anti-virus / anti-theft product on your phone, I have the definitive answer. YES. And this is it. You can download Avast! Mobile Security now from the Android Market and read more about the product (including a nice comparison table with the competition) at the Avast! website.

About the author

PaulOBrien's Photo
Paul O'Brien founded MoDaCo in 2002 as a site focused on Windows Smartphones and has grown it since then by concentrating on providing a friendly community for both experienced and beginner mobile enthusiasts.

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Someone asked me about resource usage on Twitter - i've seen no discernible impact on performance or battery life using it.

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Jan 06 2012 03:21 PM
Looks great, will definitely be installing on my Atrix. But looks like it doesn't support Android 3.x or 4.x. Any recommendations for a tablet?
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Couldn't agree more with everything written! Its a lovely, polished piece of software to use as well. The scheduled scans is a nice touch, have it set up to do all the scanning over night whilst the phone is on charge so any issues are reported when I get up, and the battery isn't affected. Also installed on my partners phone and it caught some malware that she accidently tried to install from an in app ad (my fault, forgot to turn off 3rd party app installs!). Highly recommended.
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@T39andcounting Don't know if it officially support Android 3.x or 4.x, but it certainly installs and works. I have it on my Transformer and Galaxy Nexus.
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I'm sure I have it installed on my Asus Transformer - will check tonight.
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Jan 06 2012 03:29 PM
@lordgoata, @stevenixon
Guess they just haven't updated their web site then! http://www.avast.com...e-security#tab3

Operating Systems Supported
* Android 2.1.x
* Android 2.2.x
* Android 2.3.x
Minimum Hardware Requirements
* Any phone capable of running a supported system
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Sounds nice indeed!
Will test on my S2 and my Transformer. :)
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Mark Dearlove
Jan 06 2012 03:49 PM
Works fine on my TF - obviously without the SMS functionality.

The SMS functionality on my handset is excellent though - tested most of the options.
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it will never survive flashing new ROM via ClockWorkMod, right ? :)
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Jan 07 2012 02:52 PM
Is this a paid advertisement ? (Sure looks like it)
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Installed 08/1/12 on my OSF, still on 2.2 JJ (replaced LOOKOUT, which never did what it said on the tin) but many problems. Apps slow to open, Recovery Manager and Titanium BU hanging (apparently due to SuperUser problems) and Avast itself not populating processes and firewall items and hanging on scheduled scan. After todays update things are much better but Titanium BU still not working (hanging on 'asking for root rights' or SQL Lite load pages - varies).

My assessment is that on the face of it this app could be very good, but needs some work. However, early days and am sticking with it for now.

For those intrigued by SMS commands via 'stealth' Anti-theft feature, list is here http://www.avast.com...e-security#tab4

Hope this helps someone.
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