To say that smartphones have become an integral part of our life would be a gross understatement. Our lives are now effectively incomplete without our smart gadgets. It is not a theoretical notion but a fact that was brought to light by Pew researcher back in 2015. According to the Pew Research Center, 46% of users said that smartphone is something that they “couldn’t live without.”
Regardless, when it comes to smartphones, Android phones take the cake. The global market share of Android phones in the US alone was 54.5% in May 2018.
The Android phone is preferred globally by the end users because of its rich functionality, open-source nature, and most important of all, affordability. You can get a sub-standard Android smartphone for as low as $100.
However, the massive global market share of the Android phones and open-ended nature have made these phones a constant target for hackers and other cybercriminals in the world.
Read on to learn why Android phones are targeted by hackers and which best security apps for Android you can install to maximize the security of your phone.
Why you need Best Security Apps for Android Devices?
Do you remember the Vault 7 leaks scandal that transpired at the start of 2017? Well, if you don’t, allow us to jolt your memory.
Back in 2017, WikiLeaks exposed an intelligence agency’s highly-confidential document and called it, Vault 7. In that document, WikiLeaks revealed how the agency used malicious tools to breach different operating systems and devices. Shockingly, it was found that the agency developed the majority of the exploits, especially, for Android devices.
However, in the Vault 7 case, the exploits were limited to only those Android devices that were running an older version.
It was revealed in September 2018 that many Android devices come with flawed firmware. According to a research carried out by a security firm Krypto were, over ten different Android devices by major carriers in America have been found to have code-level security flaws in the OS. The security flaws are so critical that they can even lead an attacker to lock a user’s device, control their device’s microphone and much more.
These are only a few out of the dozens of different incidents where the Android OS was found susceptible to hacks, security breaches, vulnerabilities, and exploits to name a few.
To fight off the different security vulnerabilities and threats, it is essential to secure your device with the best security apps for Android.
How to Secure Android Phones from Hackers?
Before we move on to the list of the top 10 Android security apps, let’s take a look at some of the preventive measures we can take to drive away hackers.
- Set a complex PIN to protect your smartphone against all hacking attempts. PIN plays a great role in protecting your device, especially in the event of a theft.
- Use two-factor authentication to double up on the access to your phone.
- Check Android apps for unnecessary or suspicious permissions.
- Use secure browsers that don’t track users’ activities or browsing history.
- Avoid using public Wi-Fis as these hotspots are often insecure or have weak security.
- Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) as it encrypts users’ data and secures it against unwanted access.
- Use antivirus or antimalware to repel malicious threats that come from infected websites or services.
- Never open links or emails that seem suspicious as they might contain malicious links.
- Always patch the Android OS with the latest security patches for better security.
10 Best Android Security Apps in 2019
Now that we have learned about the importance of security apps for Android and the preventive measures, let’s check out the ten best security applications.
1- Avira Antivirus Security 2019
Avira ranks amongst the top security apps, competing head-to-head with industry’s leading antivirus applications. However, what makes the app stand apart from the rest is its blend of different security and privacy features.
For starters, the app also offers an anti-theft and recovery feature that lets you track the device on a map in case of a theft. Moreover, it can also let you remotely lock specific apps to prevent any privacy breach.
As far as its antivirus features are concerned, the app has an up-to-date virus database. The app secures users against malware and spyware attacks, blocks unauthorized access, scans external storage and much more.
2- Find My Device
Owned by Google LLC, Find My Device offers a minimalistic anti-theft application with a pretty powerful set of features. The app comes handy if you have dropped your phone somewhere in your home or outside, or lost it to a thief.
Regardless, in case of a loss or theft, you can easily check the current location of the device on Google map. If you can’t find the current location, you can check the last known location of the device.
To alert you about the location of the device, the app plays the sound of the device at full volume, even when the device is on silent.
3- Authy 2-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication is the best security measure that the current technology offers to us. The technology lets you double up on the access to your sensitive accounts, maximizing security and reducing the chances of hacking attempts.
Authy 2-Factor authentication comes with a good blend of features for an authentication application. For starters, you don’t always need to have a data connection to get the authentication token or code as the app generates it even in offline mode. It is compatible with a wide range of multifactor authentication accounts including Google, Facebook and more.
It is true that the number of cyber threats has grown exponentially over the years. However, it is not just the numbers that have shot up but also the complexity and nature of the threats. Security researchers have identified malware that is sophisticated enough to bypass even two-factor authentications. If you can’t fight off these sophisticated breaches, you can at least save your data from going into the wrong hands. You can do that with the encryption technology that comes with a VPN.
PureVPN Android VPN leads the industry with its military-grade encryption feature that uses a 256-bit AES algorithm. With strong encryption for your data, you get to keep your data secure even on a public Wi-Fi that has zero security. The encryption makes the data incomprehensible and thus useless to a hacker.
Apart from strong encryption, PureVPN’s Android app comes with added powerful features including but not limited to unlimited bandwidth, thousands of VPN servers, huge pool of IPs, multi-port integration, split tunneling and more.
5- LastPass Password Manager
Did you know that hacked passwords are the primary culprit behind 81% of all data breaches? It is only logical to use complex passwords for your sensitive accounts. However, it is not wise to store those complex passwords on the same machine or device without applying further security.
No matter how complex the password may be, it can still be hacked if it is stored in an unsecured folder or device. Therefore, it is important to use a password manager. These tools give you a single secure platform where you can save all your passwords and manage those passwords with a master password.
LastPass is a great Android password manager that comes with all the bells and whistles you would expect. For starters, all your passwords are stored on a cloud server, in an encrypted vault. Secondly, you don’t need to enter passwords every time you open an app or a website as the password manager will automatically fill the fields. Moreover, the security of the already encrypted access to the master password can be maximized with two-factor authentication.
6- Firefox Focus
Regular web browsers track data, and that’s not anything new. However, data tracking can lead to unwanted attention. For starters, marketing ads start following you on every website you visit. The ads monitor your behavior and searches and show you targeted ads.
Similarly, browsers keep a user’s browsing history, which can also be used for gaining insights into users’ behavior and personality. All in all, data tracking through browsers can result in unwanted privacy breach.
Firefox Focus solves all the browser-related privacy problems by offering a completely private browsing experience. The browser blocks a wide range of common website trackers and lets you erase history easily.
7- Signal Private Messenger
Our private messages aren’t private anymore. Due to vulnerabilities in the operating system or complex cyber attacks, we can never guarantee the security of our private messages.
However, with Signal Private Messenger, we can now ensure the privacy and security of our messages. The signal is an encrypted messenger, just like WhatsApp. You can safely send messages or media files to your contacts without worrying about any privacy breach.
8- Solid Explorer File Manager
Android File Manager is a pretty handy feature that allows you to browse and access files on the local storage of your device. However, the feature doesn’t come with any security setting, which means it is open to anyone who has access to your device.
Solid Explorer is one of the best security apps for Android in 2019. The app allows you to encrypt specific files and folders for restricting unauthorized access. Moreover, Android users can even implement a system or root-level encryption for better protection. Users can set either a password or fingerprint for secure access.
9- Sophos Mobile Security
If you want a complete Android security package, you might want to check out the Sophos Mobile Security app for your Android device. Don’t take it as an anti-malware tool. In fact, it comes with a blend of handy features that cover almost all the important security aspects.
For starters, Sophos comes with a loss and theft protection feature that lets you lock your device remotely or wipe the data before it falls into wrong hands.
Sophos also offers content filtering as well as Wi-Fi security features, keeping you safe on an unsecure Wi-Fi and letting you control which web service can be accessed on the device.
GlassWire for Android is a data usage monitoring application. What’s a data usage monitoring app doing on the security apps list, you might ask?
The application closely monitors which applications on your Android device are consuming data. It also sends you alerts in the event a new application abnormally starts consuming too much data. By keeping close tabs on your data usage, you easily notice abnormal data usage, which might be due to a security breach.
Let’s face the fact. No matter how vulnerable the Android OS might be, users still can’t ditch it because it offers great user-interface, usability and user experience. Moreover, the OS offers an extensive range of applications in the market.
However, we can still make our Android devices complete secure and bulletproof against all sorts of online threats by equipping the device with the right security applications. Our recommended combo is using a VPN app, anti-theft and a password manager.
What’s your combo for Android security apps? Tell us in comments below.