Many of us can’t go a day without checking our phones. We text, post photos, shop, order food and check our bank balance, sometimes all at the same time. That means we’re storing a lot of important data and financial information on our mobiles.
While mobile viruses aren’t quite as prevalent as computer viruses, they are growing in number. Anyone who uses a mobile phone or tablet to shop, access online banking, pay bills or store business information should be thinking about how to protect their data. One way to keep your phone safe is by using mobile antivirus software.
This guide will help you decide if you should be guarding your devices with mobile antivirus software and teach you additional ways to keep your important data safe.
What is mobile antivirus software?
Mobile antivirus software is an app designed to detect and remove malicious software. Effective mobile antivirus software helps protect you against viruses, malware, spam, identity theft, phishing attacks and other threats. Antivirus software can benefit those who use their mobile or tablet for financial transactions, especially Android users.
If you are also interested in securing your computer, check out our guide to antivirus software. Many vendors offer bundled plans that include mobile antivirus protection with their computer antivirus software.
Compare some of the best mobile antivirus software
Pros of mobile antivirus software
- Protect banking information. If you use your phone for mobile banking, your usernames, passwords, PINS, account details and credit card information could be vulnerable. Mobile antivirus software can help protect your important financial data from hacking and identity theft.
- Back up data. Most antivirus software can back up your data regularly so you won’t have to worry about losing your photos, music, videos or documents if you lose your phone.
- Remote wipe, lock and password reset. If you do lose your phone or your phone is stolen, mobile antivirus software can prevent your sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands. You can use the software to remotely wipe all or part of your phone data. You can also remotely lock your phone and reset your password for added security.
- Parental controls. Many antivirus apps allow you to restrict access to web browsers and certain apps. This means if your child uses your phone, they won’t be able to purchase apps, order toys online or view adult content.
- Call blocking. Mobile antivirus software can block calls and texts from unknown numbers and divert them to voicemail. You can also set your software to block calls during certain hours so you won’t have to answer work-related calls on weekends.
Cons of mobile antivirus software
- Ineffectiveness. Mobile antivirus software is newer than desktop software and doesn’t offer many of the features you would expect of traditional antivirus software. For example, many mobile antivirus apps don’t offer regular scans of your phone. If you want all of your documents and applications to be scanned make sure to look for mobile antivirus software that offers this feature.
- Slow phone performance. Some mobile antivirus software can slow down your phone. Users find frequent notifications and updates to be the biggest offenders.
- Battery draining. Some antivirus apps take up a lot of storage space and drain your battery by running in the background and sending push notifications.
- Spam apps. Android users especially should watch out for apps in the Google Play Store masquerading as antivirus software. These apps, usually offered for free, might contain viruses or malware that can infect your phone.
What to look for when choosing antivirus software
The first and most important part of choosing the best antivirus software for you is to determine your phone's operating system. Most phones run on either Android or iOS.
4 additional ways to keep your phone safe
Using mobile antivirus software isn’t the only way to protect your data. Here are four other precautions you can take to keep important information safe, even if you have mobile antivirus software.
- Update your phone. One of the easiest ways to keep your phone safe is to update it regularly. Keeping your software up to date will ensure your phone is protected by the latest developments.
- Download reputable apps. To reduce the chances of downloading infected or spam antivirus software, only download apps from your phone’s official app store. Read reviews and only use software from trusted brands.
- Use secure Wi-Fi. Try not to browse or send financial data when using public or non-secure Wi-Fi. Limit any financial transactions to trusted connections, such as your home or work Wi-Fi.
- Don’t give out personal information. If a company contacts you and asks you to reset your password or enter sensitive information, ignore it and get directly in touch with the company via an official website or listed phone number. These requests are often phishing attacks.