Many iPhone and Android users who regularly download apps have not considered installing an antivirus on their phones. However, with the increasing number of cyber risks it's a good idea to protect yourself. Similar to computers, mobile devices are also susceptible to viruses, phishing attempts, and malware. In this article we'll cover how to prevent getting a virus on your mobile.
How does a phone get a virus?
As with all internet-connected devices, your cell phone is at risk of infection. Apple users can only download apps from the official App Store, which provides a first line of defense in screening potentially malicious apps. However, Android users can download apps from a variety of sources, which occasionally include APK files that could be infected by malware.
It's important to note that the Google Play Store's revision policy for new apps is much less stringent compared to Apple's App Store. As a result, Android users naturally face an increased risk if additional precautions are not taken. However Google prefers this hands-off approach and as a result hosts more apps than Apple.
Also keep in mind that cybercriminals send phishing emails and deceptive ads to install spyware on your device. These hackers can even steal personal information directly from your cell phone.
Why install an antivirus protection?
Without the protection of an antivirus software, all activity on your cell phone can be tracked and in some cases your device can be controlled remotely. This includes access to your emails, internet search history, downloads, and more. Your cell phone can be infected directly or indirectly via exchanging files that are already infected by a virus. Some consequences could include: lost of data, corrupt files, access to personal information, and more.
Before installing an antivirus program, we recommend that you always take some common sense measures to ensure your safety. For example, if you encounter a suspicious page while browsing, the first thing you should do is close the page and any other tabs that might have opened. Additionally, if there is a request to install an APK file that you have not initiated, immediately refuse it. And for Android users who install apps from the Google Play Store, be cautious of unusual activity and immediately delete and report any suspicious apps.
The best free antivirus programs for Android & iOS
Here's our list of free antivirus programs you can download to protect your device.
Sophos Intercept X for Mobile
Sophos Intercept X for Mobile is available for Android and iOS devices. This app provides security when connected to Wi-Fi networks, and also includes a secure QR code scanner, two-factor identification, and password protection.
AVG AntiVirus Free & Mobile Security
AVG AntiVirus Free provides mobile protection for Android and iOS devices. For Android users, check out AVG AntiVirus for Android. If you have an iPhone or iPad, you'll want to have a look at AVG Mobile Security for iPhone & iPad. With these two free apps, AVG covers data protection, Wi-Fi network scanning, a photo vault, and more.
The best paid antivirus programs for mobile phones
If you don't mind spending a little for additional features and even stronger protection, check out these paid antivirus programs.
F-Secure Safe includes a firewall, antivirus, and antispyware all in one. It's a great value for its level of protection.
- Personal data protection.
- Spyware prevention.
- Allows updates via SMS
- Automatic updates.
- Remote data management.
Price: from $34.99, trial available Compatible with: Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and others
BitDefender Mobile Security offers an antivirus protection with real-time alerts.
- Analyze internal memory and memory cards.
- Updates via GPRS or PC.
- Includes a VPN and firewall.
- Technical support; Frequent questions (FAQ) section.
Price: from $39.99, trial available Compatible with: Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and others
Kaspersky Internet Security for Android offers the same security levels for mobile devices as it does for PC.
- File encryption (folders, files, photos, etc.).
- Personal data protection.
- Theft protection (SMS-Block, SMS-Find, SMS-Clean and SIM Watch).
- It also offers parental control and spam protection.
Price: from $39.99, trial available Compatible with: Android and iOS