Malware and viruses have been around since the early days. The first computer virus was made back in the ’80s by the name of “Brain.” As time passed, computers went through various revolutionary phases and transformed into much sleeker forms.
With the advent of smartphones, viruses have also plagued this platform in the form of malicious apps, phishing attacks, adware, and much more. A lot of these malicious apps cause advert apps to pop up on your smartphone screen.
Those popup ads may make you worried but it should be the least of your worries because the most troublesome aspect of these viruses is that some dubious organizations use these malicious apps to spy on the data stored on your Android device and steal it.
To better fight, the major and minor threats of viruses, antivirus apps for Android are an easy and quick way to root out any existing malware on your smartphone.
Since the core focus of antivirus apps is to prevent programs such as ransomware, Trojan, botnets, and other modern-day viruses from getting a hold of your phone, they are the most reliable defense against such threats.
We have reviewed the top ten Android antivirus and antimalware apps, which we think are currently the best antivirus from a security perspective. The selection is based on malware detection and usability, including performance and false positives.
To better guide you about the reliability and effectiveness of antivirus, we have looked into the performance statistics of the app, which have been thoroughly tested by AV-TEST, an independent research institute for IT security.
Our Favorite: Google Play Protect
Perhaps the most active defender on your Android phone, Google’s Play protect is your first line of defense against malicious apps. The built-in malware defense scans every app that you install from the official Google Play store.
Aided by Google’s machine learning algorithms, Play Protect always stays one step ahead and can prevent malicious apps from infecting your phone.
Play Protect scans your device on a daily basis to look for any Potentially Harmful Applications (PHAs). The way this works is it flags those apps that are in some way violating Google’s Play store policy. These PHAs are classified into four categories:
- Phishing apps
- User-Wanted apps
In the case where an app has been flagged as PHA, a notification is sent to ask you to remove the app. That is done via an on-device scan, which requests the Google servers to verify when a suspected app is flagged.
A unique advantage offered by Google Protect is that it’s part of the native app of the Android ecosystem so it does not feel intrusive at all. And thanks to the cloud base security, it does not take up any storage space on your phone/tablet.
#1. Avast Antivirus
A name synonymous with success, Avast has been one of the oldest and most successful antivirus software. Before the advent of smartphones, it was a popular name even in the desktop computing arena.
The antivirus app offers some of the best security features, which include securing your device against malware, adware, phishing attacks from infected websites, and blocking unwanted phone calls, emails, and SMS.
Avast passes with flying colors when it comes to AV-Test’s protection testing, scoring a full 6/6 when it comes to protecting your Android device from any malware with an impressive 96.8% success rate. Furthermore, the tests also displayed that the app was well optimized for the Android OS and performed exceedingly well.
The Avast app comes with a robust antivirus engine along with web protection that scans your Android device from all sorts of malware, which includes trojan viruses, and spyware and protects you against web threats such as live URL filtering and more. The app also provides a junk cleaner, which cleans unnecessary junk files from your Android device, thereby saving you some much-needed space.
For the privacy-oriented folks, who value their photos a lot and don’t want them to be shared with anyone, a photo vault is provided by Avast, which can be used to secure those precious photos with a passcode, fingerprint, or a simple pattern. The images are subsequently saved in an encrypted form in the vault.
According to the findings of the test, the app does not drain the battery life, which is a good sign since it means Android devices with a smaller battery size can also enjoy this app without having to tax their battery juice. Moreover, the app did not affect the performance of the mobile, making it a suitable option for low-end devices.
Finally, the Wi-Fi security feature takes care of your wireless connectivity and protects your smartphone from Wi-Fi spoofing. What’s even better is despite providing tons of features, the app’s Power Save feature adjusts your smartphone’s battery settings accordingly.
|Anti-Theft||The free version contains Ads|
|Security advisor that gives app insights on data collection||No facility to backup, private data|
|Superb Malware protection rate (96.8%)||The app requires downloading additional component apps to provide all the features|
|No false warnings during the installation of apps|
|Does not tax battery|
#2. AVG Antivirus
AVG, is another famous antivirus well known for its achievements in the desktop arena. Like all modern antivirus scanners, this antivirus offers complete protection from malware apps along with web protection and Wi-Fi security.
AVG antivirus provides an array of features that makes it one of the best of its kind. Its VPN protection system ensures your privacy remains protected while you surf the web. It also provides a unique app control feature that allows you to limit the activity of certain apps.
AVG also offers a call-blocking feature for any specific number or unknown numbers in case you ever feel threatened by someone or if you are receiving so many calls from telemarketers.
The privacy advisor feature observes apps that may collect your data based on granted permissions; it then notifies you in case of any misbehavior is shown by the app. The safe browsing feature protects you against any malicious websites or phishing attacks. Moreover, the Wi-Fi advisor ensures your Wi-Fi connection is secure and is not at risk of any Wi-Fi spoofing.
Similar to Avast, AVG passed with excellence when tested by the AV-TEST.
As per the results, AVG’s protection scored a whopping 96.8% when it comes to safeguarding against the latest Android malware attack, and 97.6% when detecting the most recent Android malware. These tests also confirmed that the antivirus app did not affect the battery life of the smartphone and did not cause any lag.
Lastly, the app provides an extensive Anti-theft feature, which includes locating your phone via Google Maps in case it is stolen. It makes your Android device sound like a siren in case of unsuccessful attempts to unlock your device.
That’s not all. It even emails you the photo of the person trying to unlock your phone. You can configure the app to automatically lock the phone in case someone tries to replace the sim card.
|Extensive security features||The free version contains Ads|
|Robust Anti-theft features||No backup option to save personal data on Cloud or SD card storage|
|Extensive Privacy settings||Does not give the option to back up data|
|Well optimized, does not cause lag or delay.|
|Excellent malware protection rate (96.8%)|
#3. Avira Antivirus
Avira is a famous name among the best antivirus software against malware attacks on Android. It brings a comprehensive set of anti-malware and safety features that are designed to keep your Android device safe from malware, adware, and phishing attacks.
Avira has a robust antivirus engine that automatically scans the apps and updates protection accordingly while also giving a privacy scale to apps based on the data they collect. This is extremely helpful in today’s online world, where illegal data collection has become a new industry norm.
The web protection feature in Avira protects you against phishing attacks and malicious websites. Furthermore, the anti-ransomware feature protects your phone from unwanted encryption via a ransomware attack and subsequently prevents hackers from taking your private data and blackmailing you to pay ransom for it.
The antivirus also performed exceedingly well in the evaluation tests conducted by AV-TEST. As per the results, Avira scored an impressive 96.8% in protection against the latest Android malware attacks and 97.6% when it comes to detecting the most recent Android malware attack.
In the performance department, the tests showed that Avira’s Android app does not generate traffic, it did not affect the smartphone’s battery life, and is optimized enough not to cause any lag, which makes it a suitable choice for low-end devices.
A notable feature that Avira provides, unlike Avast and AVG, is identity safeguards. It regularly monitors whether your email has been unknowingly leaked to a third party and blocks any suspicious contact number in case of irregularities.
Moreover, the Anti-theft tool helps you track your smartphone on Google Maps and locks your apps from unauthorized access, in case of theft. Unfortunately, Avira does not provide a Wi-Fi security feature or VPN.
|Superb Malware protection rate||The free version contains Ads|
|No false warnings during app installation||No VPN|
|Anti-theft and Identity safeguard feature||No Wi-Fi security feature|
|No false alerts during app installations||No call blocker feature|
|Provides application control to limit the accessibility of certain apps||No backing up of data on SD card or cloud option|
#4. Sophos Intercept X
Another major antivirus app in the Android arena, Sophos, has won several awards for being one of the best security apps in recent times.
Tailor-made for the Android platform, Sophos Mobile Security antivirus app detects malicious apps (pre and post-installed) in real-time that might be responsible for data theft, adware, or excessive network usage.
The Sophos real-time anti-malware protection starts detecting the traces of any unwanted apps the moment it is installed and the anti-malware continues to monitor your device. If any app violates user privacy or compromises the phone’s performance or battery life, it is flagged, and a notification is displayed.
The anti-theft features track your smartphone to see if it has been stolen and sends its last location to the registered/trusted mail before the battery runs out. If configured, the feature also resets the passcode, informs about any SIM removal, and triggers an alarm siren in case of any forceful hacking attempt.
The Spam Protection feature filters incoming calls and SMS based on the rules set by you. Whereas, the Wi-Fi protection feature ensures the security of the connection and protects the device against Wi-Fi-based hacking attacks such as “man in the middle.”
An extra feature that this app provides is Authenticator features that perform security checks on QR codes, including Wi-Fi connections (flags security issues if found suspicious), and URLs (should not be malicious).
Due to its robust antivirus engine, the app passed with flying colors in AV-TEST. It had a successful protection rate of 96.8% and a detection rate of 97.6% against the latest Android malware attacks. The test also showed that the antivirus did not impact the phone’s performance and was well suited for low-end devices. The tests, however, did outline that the antivirus occasionally gives false warnings during app installations.
|The free version has a relatively Ad-free experience compared to the competition||No VPN|
|A unique Authenticator feature (detects QR codes)||No Call blocker|
|Security/Privacy Advisor for observing apps that may violate data collection policies||Occasionally shows false warnings during app installations|
|Excellent Malware Protection|
|Does not drain the battery|
#5. Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus
With over 50M downloads and a mighty impressive 4.9 ratings on the Play Store, it’s safe to say that Kaspersky Antivirus for Android is a people’s favorite.
Kaspersky’s efficient malware protection, which automatically blocks any malware and acts as a virus cleaner along with the Background check feature, which ensures the apps are running malware-free, makes it the perfect choice for the security of your Android smartphone.
The anti-phishing security feature keeps your private information, especially your financial information safe from any possible hacking attack. Other notable features include Application lock, which allows you to add a passcode to particular apps such as Facebook, WhatsApp, or Messages and to further protect your private data.
Furthermore, the handy Anti-theft feature saves your information from thieves and completely wipes it off in case of theft. It also provides a safe browsing feature that protects your phone against malicious websites so that you can enjoy a secure browsing experience.
Coming to the antivirus test results conducted by “AV-TEST,” the antivirus performed exceedingly well with a success rate of 96.8% in protecting your smartphone against the latest Android malware attack in real-time and an impressive 97.6% in the detection of the latest Android malware.
The antivirus passed the performance with distinction as the test results indicate that it does not drain the smartphone’s battery or cause any lag. The usability test, however, showed that the app occasionally flagged false warnings during the installation and usage of legitimate apps from the Google Play store.
|Superb Malware protection||Realtime Protection only in premium Version|
|Secure Browsing feature||No Privacy/Security Advisor|
|Does not impact battery life||No VPN|
|Does not cause lag in the device||No Wi-Fi security feature|
|Does not generate too much traffic||Occasionally shows a false warning during app installations|
#6. McAfee Mobile Security
A top-rated and well-known antivirus in the PC arena, McAfee has managed to make a name for itself in the Android platform and provides some of the best security features required to secure a modern Android version from any malware attacks.
McAfee Antivirus provides a list of useful features, including one of the best malware protection and detection. The app’s powerful security engine protects your smartphone from phishing attacks, malware-infected apps, and various Wi-Fi threats.
The VPN encryption ensures that your Wi-Fi connection is secure when on the public network. Furthermore, the web protection feature ensures that no malicious website infects your device from phishing attacks.
The Anti-theft feature locks the device after three failed passcode attempts and takes a picture of the person trying to break it. Moreover, anti-theft uninstall protection prevents the thief from uninstalling existing apps or installing any new apps, while the app’s privacy advisor feature notifies you about the apps that put your data at risk.
McAfee scored exceptionally well in all the three test departments (Protection, Performance, and Usability) conducted by AV-TEST. With a 96.8% protection rate and a 97.6% detection rate against the latest Android malware attack. Also, the antivirus app did not impact the performance of the phone in any way, and security software was pretty much on point with zero false warnings during app installations.
|Superb Malware Protection||Very Limited feature set in free version|
|No false threats during the installation of apps||No VPN|
|System Advisor for monitoring apps that collect data||Does not have an Application Control feature|
|Extensive Anti-theft features||Ads in the free version|
|Does not drain the battery|
#7. Norton 360
Known for having one of the best malware detection and protection, Norton antivirus is another popular app on the Google Play store and is famous for providing some of the best security features for Android.
Like many other popular antivirus apps, Norton provides excellent malware detection and anti-malware protection from malicious apps. Its web protection features are another superb addition that protects your Android device from malicious websites and phishing attacks.
Ransomware protection ensures that your personal information is safe from active ransomware attacks. And the Wi-Fi protection feature protects your device on public Wi-Fi and safeguards your Android phone/tablet devices from various Wi-Fi spoofing attacks.
You will get a privacy advisor feature that observes the apps that are collecting your data based on granted permissions. In case of violation, the app notifies you about the violating app.
Other notable features include System Advisor and Anti-theft. The System Advisor is a pretty useful feature that scans the phone and then detects particular points of attack that may leave your phone vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
Norton’s capabilities as a reliable antivirus engine are well backed by the results it produced, which were conducted by AV-TEST. Its protection rate against the latest Android malware is 96.8%, while the detection of malware is 97.8%. In performance testing, the findings revealed that the app was well optimized for Android and did not tax the battery or cause any lag.
Other than acing the protection test, Norton also performed exceedingly well in the Usability test, where it showed that the antivirus does not issue any false warnings during app installations.
Last but not least, the app’s Anti-theft protection feature tracks and saves the last known location of the device before the battery runs out, in case the smartphone is lost or theft. Moreover, the app triggers a siren in case of forceful break attempt is detected.
|The software stays up to date with the latest malware threats||No VPN|
|System Advisor feature to help monitor apps that collect personal data||No Application Control feature|
|Excellent Malware Protection|
|Provides backup to save personal data|
|Does not show false warnings during app installations|
|No ads in the free version|
#8. Bitdefender Mobile Security and Antivirus
Often touted as the most advanced cybersecurity app, Bitdefender is another popular antivirus security app known for having some of the best security features for Android smartphones. The famous antivirus app has received an array of awards, including the “Best Security Product” of 2015, 2016, and 2017 by the popular antivirus testing website “av-test.”
Like all robust antivirus apps, Bitdefender has an active Malware scanner with an impressive 97% detection rate (tested by ‘av-test’), the automatic detection makes sure that as soon as a new app is installed, it gets scanned right away.
To make your online presence more secure, Bitdefender’s web protection feature ensures your browsing is safe from malicious websites. Moreover, the Wi-Fi security feature protects your device from Wi-Fi spoofing and ensures the wireless connection is secure.
The Smart Unlock makes life easy for you by adding trusted Wi-Fi sources such as your home network and allows you to access your apps (which are locked with a pin) without any pin or passcode when using that app. The app also provides Fingerprint Sensor support, which gives you the option to secure your most private app via fingerprint lock.
Other notable feature includes Account Privacy, Autopilot/Security Advisor, and Anti-theft.
Account privacy checks whether some critical details of your email address have been leaked or not while the Security advisor feature observes data collection by various apps on your smartphone and gives you insights into any unusual behavior.
In case of theft, the Anti-theft locks your phone, tracks, saves the last known location on Google maps, and automatically wipes out your phone.
Last but not least, keeping in mind the recent trend in wearables (smartwatches and fitness trackers), Bitdefender’s Wear ON feature extends mobile security to WearOS and Android wearables. It helps the user in case their smartphone is lost by triggering a phone alert siren via the smartwatch.
While the Bitdefender may lack some essential security features (Call blocker, Privacy Advisor, Backup), it makes up for these shortfalls with its performance. The test conducted by AV-TEST showed that the app did not have any negative impact on the phone’s performance. Furthermore, the antivirus also performed well in the protection tests and scored 96.8% in protection against the latest malware attacks and 97.6% in the detection of Android malware.
|No need to download more app components||The app requires signup for activation of trial|
|Wear On security which extends to wearable devices||Resource intensive|
|Unique security features such as Account Privacy and Auto-pilot||No Security advisor feature|
|Superb Malware detection and protection results||Can’t block numbers (unknown) since there is no call block feature|
|Does not impact battery life|
|Does not cause any lag or delay|
#9. ESET Mobile Security and Antivirus
Another famous name with impressive stats on the Google Play store, ESET has an impressive average rating of 4.8 out of 5. It’s safe to say this is a consumer-favorite antivirus app.
ESET has a robust antivirus engine with top-notch real-time malware protection, detection, and anti-ransomware.
The real-time detection scans all apps at the time of installation. The anti-ransomware feature protects all of your private financial information, while web protection protects your smartphone from malicious websites via URL filtering.
An impressive feature that ESET Antivirus has is modules for the prevention of hack attacks from malicious scripts using PowerShell. This feature also includes prevention against USB malware while the UEFI scanner ensures protection during the booting process.
The Security audit feature acts as a privacy advisor and checks the permissions of the app in case you’re not sure of them. Finally, the Anti-theft feature sends the last known location on Google maps before the battery drains out.
Coming towards the actual performance tested by AV-TEST, ESET, like its competitors, did not leave any loose ends. It passed the protection test with an impressive 96.8% score in protecting your smartphone against the latest Android malware attack and 97.6% in the detection of widespread Android malware.
The test results for the protection test were also pretty good, which showed that the app did not cause any battery drainage or slowed down the phone in any way. Moreover, the usability test showed that ESET’s Android app does not show any false warnings during app installations.
|The free version is Ad-free, which is a big bonus when compared to other antivirus apps||No Wi-Fi security|
|Clean UI, less intrusive||No VPN|
|Extends to other parts of the Android ecosystem such as Android Tablets||The anti-phishing feature does not extend to other browsers (primarily available for Google Chrome)|
|Does not drain battery life||No Call Blocker feature|
|Excellent Malware Protection|
#10. V3 Mobile Security
Not as renowned as its competitors but still a reliable option, V3 Mobile Security is a robust antivirus app known for excellent malware detection. The app offers quick and effective malware detection and begins scanning apps as soon as they are installed.
The best part is that the app thoroughly scans all the files of the application that have certain permissions and notifies you in case of any violation.
Moreover, the app also provides a Privacy Advisor that observes the data collection by various apps, in-app payments, device administrator permissions, and location trafficking. In case there is an issue, V3 Mobile Security notifies you which app is violating the rules.
The safe browsing feature ensures that your browsing experience is protected from any malicious website while the URL filtering makes sure that there is no URL containing malware source that may be responsible for phishing attacks. Furthermore, the V3 Mobile Security also provides some of the best CPU and battery optimization with the app designed to consume less battery and CPU.
Thanks to the ‘Booster to Speed’ feature, which helps to boost the phone’s performance, the app runs seamlessly on older versions of Android as well as budget devices without showing any lag.
Other features include a call blocker that restricts various caller IDs; QR Code Scanner, which notifies in case any QR code contains malware; and a hidden gallery feature to view private photos.
Coming toward the V3’s actual real-world performance, the antivirus has been the top performer when it comes to av-test results. Ranked as the number 1 antivirus in 2013 and since earned 24 consecutive certifications tests by AV-TEST (a global test agency), the South Korean-based company’s product is one of the top contenders for the Best Antivirus for Android. The antivirus unsurprisingly passed all the tests (protection, performance, and usability) with brilliance.
|The free version is ad-free||Occasionally shows false warnings during app installations|
|Message Filter||No VPN|
|Boost Speed feature helps to boost the phone’s performance||No Wi-Fi security check|
|Hidden Gallery to hide your private photos|
|Award-wining Malware Protection|
Why do we need antivirus for Android?
Thanks to the wide-scale reachability of Android and the fact that its open-source capability has made Android the most popular OS in the world. Ever since the early days of Android, viruses on the Android OS have hit the headlines more often than not, and unfortunately.
It’s true that historically, Android has been more prone to be attacked by viruses or malicious apps because of its reachability, a more significant community of developers, and a larger number of apps, which has caused some security breaches as well. A better and more efficient way to counter such threats is by using an antivirus that can notify you about such risks and nullify them in due course.
How to keep yourself safe from malicious Android apps?
The first and foremost priority of any Android user, from a security perspective, should be not to mess with default system settings or allow the installation of apps from an unknown source. Unless you’re an experienced user and are aware of the nitty-gritty details of the process and its consequences, you should otherwise stay away from conducting any experiments on your phone.
That was a complete list of what we think are the best modern-day antivirus apps for your Android device. The antivirus we have reviewed above all have one thing in common; they all provide superb malware detection and protection.
So, no matter what your preference is, these suggested antivirus apps will make sure to keep your phone protected from any possible risk. Furthermore, these apps are well optimized for Android OS, so they will not cause any lag or performance issues.
Share your views with us in the comments down below and let us know which Android app did you use to remove the virus and protect your device and data from malware. 🙂