Android is consistently the most widely used operating system in modern times. More and more smartphone users rely on Android-enabled handheld devices, which download applications from both the Google Play Store and third-party sites. Every second, millions of people are using the internet, and the rate of adoption continues to skyrocket as more activities move online. Although surfing the internet and downloading different applications seems harmless, Android users should be wary of malware and other security threats that could be lurking in their mobile operating system.
In recent years, cybersecurity researchers have been tracking the emergence of Android malware. Malicious software in the Android platform is the most common cybersecurity problem online users face today. Millions of applications are downloaded on smartphones daily, and the entrance of viruses in mobile phones is increasing dramatically. This leaves many Android users wondering, “what is the best antivirus for Android?”
In addition to providing protection against the above threats, Android antivirus apps are a valuable tool for inspecting any insidious outside software intended to steal users’ data and breach privacy. With the use of proper antivirus software, any unwanted files, bots, backdoors and trojan viruses can be monitored and stopped immediately.
With so many antivirus software products on the market, choosing the best antivirus app for Android may seem intimidating. The top 10 antivirus programs for Android devices are detailed below.
- Avast Mobile Security
- Bitdefender Mobile Security
- Norton Mobile Security
- Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus
- McAfee Antivirus Plus
- Trend Micro Maximum Security
- AVG Internet Security
- Avira Prime
- ESET Smart Security Premium
- Sophos Intercept X for Mobile
1. Avast Mobile Security
Relying on machine learning and cloud technologies, Avast Mobile Security offers strong protection against threats targeting Android devices. This free app is equally efficient in protecting all kinds of malware, including spyware, adware, ransomware, worms, trojan horses and more.
If any virus gets a chance to enter into a user’s mobile operating system, Avast Mobile Security first scans the device, identifies which file or application is corrupted, then quarantines that particular file and notifies the user about the corrupted malware. The program allows users to decide which files to keep and then deletes the remaining malicious files. Users can also use Avast to scan USB drives.
Pro Tip:One of the most popular features of the Avast antivirus software is the browser-based console that provides an overview of the app’s findings. Since this software is cloud-based, users don’t have to buy additional hardware along with antivirus. Avast Mobile Security is light and fast and provides the highest security and virus-free shield to users’ mobile devices.
Along with locating and removing malware from Android devices, Avast’s antivirus software adds extra privacy with the following features.
- Password manager
- Behavior shield
- “Do Not Disturb” mode
- Driver updater
- Browser cleaner
- Secure DNS
- Automatic software updater
- Safe Zone Cleaner
- Home network security
With the assistance of Avast antivirus software, users can safeguard passwords and filter any online activity or links that might be suspicious or tracking their activity.
Avast offers a range of free security software products. Read our Avast Free Antivirus review for more about the company’s offerings. Avast Mobile Security’s free versions provide protection against most forms of malware. However, the free version pushes users to the advanced features of Avast Antivirus, which is not free and provides additional security functions users may find helpful. Avast offers high-end security features to paid subscribers of the Avast Premium Security Software product.
Avast Mobile Security protects Android devices against malicious software, viruses, Trojan horses, spyware and unwanted phishing. Any item or application that’s deemed suspicious is automatically uploaded to Avast Lab for further analysis. Avast Mobile Security offers users the choice of free ad-supported versions or paid ad-free versions.
One unique feature of Avast is the password management tool. With the help of master passwords, users can save PIN codes and login details safely in one place, eliminating the need to memorize long passwords and confusing PIN codes.
|Avast Free||Basic antivirus security suite||Free|
|Avast Premium||Malware protection, WiFi network security, phishing protection||$34.99|
|Avast Ultimate||Everything from Avast premium and SecureLine VPN||$59.99|
2. Bitdefender Mobile Security
Bitdefender is one of the world’s leading providers of antivirus software. Bitdefender Mobile Security competes with other antivirus apps by touting its reputation in online test laboratories like AV-Comparatives, AV-Test and the Anti-Malware Testing Standard Organization.
Bitdefender Mobile Security provides maximum protection against malware on the Android platform. The top features of this free app are listed below.
- File shredder
- File encryption
- Password manager
- Solid firewall
- Parental control across all devices
- Secure DNS
- Automated alerts
- Low battery impact
- Cloud scanning
- Simple user interface
- AI-powered antivirus protection
Bitdefender Mobile Security protects users’ mobile phones from adware, spyware, ransomware and any other known or unknown viruses—all free of charge. But if users want advanced security features, a premium version is available for a subscription fee. For more on the paid version, read our Bitdefender Internet Security review.
One unique feature of the Bitdefender Mobile Security app is the fingerprint scanning function. Along with passwords, PIN codes and patterns, Bitdefender Mobile Security provides a fingerprint scanning tool for users to unlock gallery photos, files and other data, further protecting the device from external access.
|Bitdefender Free||Real-time protection, advanced threat protection, anti-phishing, cyberattack protection||Free|
|Antivirus Plus||Ransomware protection, network protection, password manager, file shredder||$29.99|
|Internet Security||Real-time protection, privacy firewall, parental control||$34.99|
|Total Security||Webcam and microphone protection, VPN, ransomware protection||$38.98|
3. Norton Mobile Security
Norton Mobile Security protects Android devices from malicious threats and keeps login credentials safe and sound. The app scans devices for viruses, informs the user when the operating system has vulnerabilities and provides a notification when joining insecure networks such as public WiFi hotspots. Norton Mobile Security’s web protection feature prevents users from visiting malicious sites, continuously updates the blocklist and efficiently defuses potential security threats.
Note:Norton Mobile Security has app advisors that scan Google Play installs and notify users about malicious applications. This antivirus app also provides privacy protection features via a virtual private network. This is an effective and powerful antivirus that protects users’ mobile security from unwanted files and threats.
The features Norton Mobile Security offers are given below.
- Threat protection
- Safe webcam for Androids and PC
- Password manager
- Parental control
- Anti-spyware, anti-malware and ransomware protection
- Smart Firewall
Norton Mobile Security helps protect Android devices from unpredictable threats when users are not browsing. The app also adds encryption to users’ accounts to help keep passwords, bank accounts, financial information and private data safe. The program’s web protection works against phishing sites, malicious software and fraudulent URLs, and blocks 90% of phishing attacks. For more, read our complete Norton Antivirus review.
Norton’s free version for Androids is available only for 30 days, then users must pay for advanced features and protection. Still, Norton’s free version is almost the same as the paid version.
|Norton Standard||Basic antivirus security suite||$29.99|
|Norton Deluxe||Everything from standard package and coverage for up to 5 devices||$39.99|
|Norton with LifeLock Select||Everything from Deluxe package, LifeLock identity theft protection, privacy monitor||$95.88|
4. Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus
Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus is an internet security app that protects Android devices from data leaks, email phishing, hacking and malware. The program detects viruses, shields devices from malware and aids in recovering lost phones.
The features of Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus are given below.
- Anti-phishing tools
- Optimal performance
- Flexible and smart VPN
- Safe browsing
- Anti-theft features, with a lock and locate function
- Webcam protection
- Parental controls
- Screen time management
- GPS tracking and alerts
- Proactive detection
Like most antivirus products, Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus is free without some frills and bonus features. But, there is not a big difference between the free and paid versions. The free app works well with high-quality protection for the overall device, along with VPN support.
Free versions of Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus come with notifications and advertisements. But, ads can be removed by disabling notifications from settings. Go to settings, scroll to “Interface,” and disable all the news applications.
Read our complete Kaspersky Internet Security review for more on the company behind this product.
|Antivirus||Malware protection, ransomware blocker||$29.99|
|Internet Security||Malware protection, privacy protector||$39.99|
|Total Security||Malware protection, privacy protector, file protection, password manager||$49.99|
5. McAfee Antivirus Plus
McAfee Antivirus Plus provides security to all devices with just one subscription. The product is loaded with a robust security scanner and anti-theft and privacy protection features. McAfee also has a ransomware guard to protect personal credentials, credit cards and other information. The company is a well-known player in the security industry that protects customers from malicious scripts, targeted attacks, dialers, adware and many other security threats.
The features of McAfee Antivirus Plus are mentioned below:
- Ransomware protection
- Vulnerability Scanner
McAfee Antivirus Plus does not have any free version, but a 30-day free trial is offered so customers can check the efficiency of the product and decide based on real-time performance. McAfee security scans the WiFi network connected to the device and notifies the user if the connection is not secure.
Initially, McAfee Antivirus Plus can slightly slow down the user’s phone. After scanning mobile phone storage multiple times, McAfee Antivirus Plus does not affect the CPU. The product is not heavy (just 23 MBs), so it does not affect device performance overall.
Read our complete McAfee Mobile Security review for more.
|Single Device||VPN, network security, customer support, shredder||$29.99|
|Individual||Same as single device and five device support with identity theft protection||$34.99|
|Family||Same as single and individual plus ten device support||$39.99|
|LiveSafe||Same as a family plus unlimited device support||$34.99|
6. Trend Micro Maximum Security
Trend Micro Maximum Security provides three layers of protection against ransomware and stands out as one of the only mobile antivirus apps verifying that personal information is not floating on the dark web. If the user inputs a home address and credit card data as private, this antivirus blocks data from being revealed on any websites. Trend Micro also offers a Pay Guard to protect financial transactions.
Trend Micro Maximum Security protects against data theft and detects malware apps, ransomware and other online threats. The antivirus provides an unbreakable digital wall against virtually any digital attack. Read our complete Trend Micro Maximum Security Review.
The features of Trend Micro Maximum Security are listed below.
- Fast malware scanning
- Assorted ransomware protection
- Suspicious URL detection
- Protection against phishing
The free version is ad-free and includes an app lock, security scan, web guard and WiFi checker. Still, these are only limited features a user can enjoy without paying. The paid version has Fraud Buster to avoid scams shared through instant messages. Parental control, app manager and lost device protection features are also present in the pro version.
Due to extensive activity protecting against malware, the app can slightly slow down an Android device. However, the program totals 17 MBs, which isn’t much of a burden.
|Antivirus||Antivirus, pay guard||$39.95|
|Trend Micro Internet Security||Antivirus, pay guard, folder shield, parental control||$79.95|
|Trend Micro for Mac||Antivirus, pay guard, folder shield, parental control, fraud buster||$39.95|
7. AVG Internet Security
AVG Internet Security is another decent anti-malware solution that scans apps, games and files for viruses, frees up space, hides private files, locates lost devices and more. The app does not impose any burden on system performance. In the pro version, the user can lock sensitive apps behind a passcode.
AVG Internet Security’s features are given below.
- Anti-theft phone tracker
- Sensitive data shield
- AI-based detection of phishing threats
- Webcam protection
The product is very light, so this antivirus does not affect the CPU of mobile devices. The app is just 19 MBs heavy, so Android performance should remain unaffected. Read our AVG Internet Security review for more.
|AVG Antivirus||Malware protection||Free|
|AVG Mobile Security||VPN, secure vault||$19.99|
|AVG Internet Security||Malware protection, ransomware protection, phishing protection||$39.99|
|AVG Ultimate||Everything including AVG Internet Security plus AVG Secure VPN||$79.99|
8. Avira Prime
Avira is another powerhouse of an antivirus program, providing real-time protection and several extra features. After choosing a premium subscription, Avira Prime offers four free pro apps: Password Manager Pro, Phantom VPN Pro, Antivirus Security Pro and Optimizer Pro. Web protection and anti-theft protection are available in both free and pro editions. Read our complete Avira Prime Review.
The features of Avira Prime are given below.
- Virus and malware scanner
- Web and email protection
- Ransomware protection
- Software updater
The free security app has an anti-theft setup that monitors devices to avoid data loss. The free version has a Smart Scan feature to investigate any malware in the storage or apps. Furthermore, Avira Prime notifies the user of email breaches.
The free version of Avira Antivirus does not have ads and comes with an activity log option to check the record of all the app’s actions. The product detects which apps have access to the user’s private data and blocks unnecessary calls based on the user’s customizations. The app also detects not only malicious WiFi networks but also discovers other devices connected to a user’s WiFi device. However, Avira Prime does not provide fingerprint security.
This antivirus has a small size of just 17 Mbs to avoid the burden on the system. Due to light size, the system works efficiently.
|Avira Antivirus Free||Real-time security, virus scans, Phantom VPN, file shredder||Free|
|Avira Antivirus Pro||Internet Protection, email protection, customer support||$44.99|
|Avira Antivirus Internet Security||Advanced Avira password manager, automatic software updater||$57.99|
|Avira Prime||Unlimited Phantom VPN, excellent customer support||$99.99|
9. ESET Smart Security Premium
ESET Smart Security Premium is another antivirus tool that provides security for online data, files and computer systems, including extra theft protection and easy management of passwords across Windows, macOS and Android devices. The app ensures safety even in case of data theft and USB key loss and protects against ransomware and other types of malware attacks.
ESET Smart Security Premium prevents access from unauthorized users and doesn’t let hackers take advantage of users’ data. The web interface allows users to administer ESET anti-theft configuration as well.
The features of ESET Smart Security Premium are given below.
- Laptop and Android activity management
- Location tracking
- One way messaging
- Device control
- Home network protection
- Webcam protection
- Legendary antivirus technology
- Privacy protection
- Anti-theft tools
- Minimal power use
- Easy to install and renew
- Excellent home monitoring features
ESET Smart Security Premium ensures users can play, work and browse the internet without speed issues. The app makes the mobile experience safer and more enjoyable with proactive theft protection, a call filter and automatic update of the detection module. ESET Smart Security Premium is used by more than 100 million people worldwide to identify and defuse all types of threats, including viruses, worms, rootkits and spyware.
ESET Smart Security Premium offers a free version and a 30-day free trial. ESET blocks all types of web pages known to dispense phishing content. Users can also enable anti-phishing protection in the ESET antivirus program by opening the advance setup menu and navigating to the email and web anti-phishing protection settings.
For more on ESET’s security products, refer to our ESET Multi-Device Security 9 review.
|ESET NOD32 Antivirus Essential||Basic antivirus security suite||$39.99|
|ESET Internet Security Advanced||Advanced antivirus security suite, ransomware protection, network protection||$49.99|
|ESET Antivirus Ultimate||Everything included internet security advanced protection, password manager, and a feature to encrypt your photos||$59.99|
10. Sophos Intercept X for Mobile
Sophos Intercept X for Mobile is a premium antivirus software program that leverages deep anti-malware technology. Sophos also provides endpoint security, endpoint detection and response, and centralized management to efficiently protect users’ devices. Sophos Intercept X for Mobile offers a secure QR scanner and the ability to password-protect sensitive files. Users can also check to see which apps are trying to access personal information.
Sophos Intercept X for Mobile focuses on antivirus and anti-malware protection for Android devices, detecting malicious and unwanted apps. The antivirus offers advanced levels of protection for the ultimate defense of Android devices. For more information on Sophos, refer to our complete Sophos Home Free review.
The features of Sophos Intercept X for Mobile are listed below.
- Malware detection
- Anti-ransomware and exploit prevention
- Managed threat response
- Central console
Sophos Intercept X for Mobile has a free version that offers device security, network security and app security features. The free version doesn’t have any ads, making the app appealing for privacy-conscious users. The product detects malicious URLs for malware links and also includes a web filter, link checker and WiFi security to thoroughly protect the user’s device. The program uses password, pattern, PIN or fingerprint authentication for app protection.
This lightweight software does not affect mobile performance. The app weighs 22MBs, which is not a burden for any mobile device.
|Intercept X Advanced||Ransomware protection||$28|
|Intercept X Advanced with EDR||All the features found in Intercept X plus the market-leading endpoint detection and response||$44|
|Sophos Managed Threat||Includes all the features of Intercept X Advanced with EDR plus expert threat hunting||$75|
What Is Antivirus Software?
Antivirus software is a program designed to detect and remove viruses from devices and protect against a broad range of threats, including other types of malicious software such as browser hijackers, trojan horses, keyloggers, worms, spyware, botnets, rootkits, adware and ransomware. Antivirus programs usually run as a background practice, scanning PCs, servers, or mobile phones to identify and limit malware attacks.
Most antivirus software products offer real-time threat detection and protection to guard against vulnerabilities and system scans that examine devices and files for potential security threats. An antivirus program performs various essential functions such as scanning specific files for malicious patterns indicating the presence of malicious apps, allowing users to start new scans and removing any illegal software identified.
This is important:Antivirus software protects private information and photos from damage by malware attacks. Modern antivirus software can block, identify and eliminate malware, ransomware attacks, keep online accounts protected with protected password encryption, scan the dark web to find if an email address has been compromised, and warn about dangerous sites and links before users click.
Is It Easy to Use Antivirus on Android?
Yes, using an antivirus on Android is easy and keeps users’ data safe. Mobile devices are no longer just for making phone calls and sending/receiving text messages; most of the features of a PC are now performed on Android. Despite providing safety features and protection, Android devices need an antivirus to improve functionality and provide extra safety for sensitive data.
Viruses targeting the Android operating system are not typical as PC viruses that replicate themselves, but these viruses can still try to access users’ data without permission. Other threats like ransomware attempt to access users’ money, such as a COVID-19 tracker app that locked users’ cell phones and demanded payment to get the access back. To make cell phones secure, users need an antivirus software program.
How to Set up an Antivirus on Your Android:
From work to play, most daily activities now depend on mobile phones. Everything lies in this small gadget, from bank accounts to social media to keeping personal information and storing private messages. An antivirus program helps users safeguard the device—and the data therein—from viruses and cyberattacks. Installing an antivirus on Android is very simple.
There are many reasons to install an antivirus app on a phone. The general process to set up an antivirus on Android is given below.
- Navigate to the Google Play Store.
- Search the name of the desired antivirus app.
- Make sure the app is legitimate and verified with the program’s developer.
- Click the install button and follow the setup prompts from there.
What Are the Prices of Antiviruses for Android?
Android antivirus applications generally come in three pricing tiers: free, paid and premium. Antivirus apps that provide a variety of features for free may show users loads of ads. Some application developers limit the number of features offered in free versions in a bid to entice users to sign up for a paid account. Such features include an anti-theft method, an assistant to help users inspect and select applications, a network security analyzer or an application lock that needs a password to open certain applications. Both paid and premium applications generally run between $15 and $30 per year. The price comparison between antiviruses for Android is given below.
|Avast Mobile Security||Free|
|Bitdefender Mobile Security||Starting from $14.99 per year|
|Norton Mobile Security||Starting from $29.99 per year|
|Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus||Starting from $19.99 per year|
|McAfee Antivirus Plus||Starting from $29.99 per year|
|Trend Micro Maximum Security||Starting from $39.99 per year|
|AVG Internet Security||Starting from $39.48 per year|
|Avira Prime||Starting from $11.99 per year|
|ESET Smart Security Premium||Starting from $59.99 per year|
|Sophos Intercept X for Mobile||Starting from $44.99 per year|
What Are the Other Tools for Security on Android?
Using antivirus programs isn’t the only way to protect Android devices. Some of the other tools for security on Android are listed below.
- Firewall: A firewall is a tool that helps Android users filter network traffic. The program inspects incoming traffic from the internet and allows secured and safe websites to access users’ personal information. A firewall prevents and blocks viruses and hackers from entering Android devices.
- Screen pinning system: A screen pinning system is a feature that can protect users when sharing or lending out a cell phone to someone else. Users can typically activate this function in the Android settings.
- Two-factor authentication: The two-layer protection process can add a second shield to users’ Android devices. Even with a strong password, a two-factor authentication app can make the device least vulnerable to intruders or data loss. For vital applications, users will need a temporary code generated along with the regular password to keep information safe.
- Androguard: Androguard is a file management and static code analysis tool for Android that’s written in the Python coding language. This tool helps users find viruses or malware.
- Password management apps: A password management application helps users manage strong and unique passwords across multiple accounts. These apps use advanced encryption, keeping users’ information secure and further safeguarding passwords.
- Virtual Private Network App (VPN): A VPN will create a “virtual tunnel” for your internet traffic to flow through, this tunnel is encrypted so no third party can see what you are doing or your location. It provides excelent privacy and security for Android phones.
Are Android Antivirus Programs Different Than iOS Antivirus Programs?
Yes, Android antivirus programs are different from iOS antivirus programs. Considering the threat level between iOS and Android operating systems, Android is more vulnerable than iOS. Because of Android’s open-source code, hackers find these devices more reachable. Even Android manufacturers can tinker with the devices’ code. In contrast, iOS is at least at risk but generally doesn’t get hacked as often as Android. Still, both Android and iOS users need to be fully aware of the malicious attacks imposed by cybercriminals.
The key differences between Android and iOS are given below.
|Open-source||Manufacturers can easily modify the open-source code, leaving Android devices more vulnerable to cybercriminals.|
|Diversity||Androids are hugely diverse, with developers building new apps constantly. Because of this diversity, hackers can easily design similar apps that can infect users’ devices. Hackers can easily sneak into the Google Play Store and replicate the designs of existing apps since the store is not as stringent as the Apple App Store. Resultantly, users can unknowingly download malicious apps by mistake.|
|Multiple Host Companies||Unlike iOS, Androids are designed by multiple host companies. Some of these companies create devices with robust software against malware. However, due to multiple hosts, the chances of hackers accessing Androids are higher than iOS.|
|Uncompromising Control||Unlike Androids, it’s more difficult for app developers to sneak into Apple’s App Store. This means hackers don’t have as many opportunities to spread malicious software in iOS.|
|Vague Target||Because only a few mobile devices are being operated by iOS, hackers generally cannot target the host for threats.|
|Close-Sourced Code||Apple doesn’t allow manufacturers to tinker with the code after developing, making iOS devices more secure than Android and less accessible to cybercriminals.|