Consumer Reports releases list of top apps to protect Android tablets, smartphones

August 6, 2013 8:28:15 PM PDT
As the use of mobile devices keeps growing -- both smartphones and tablets -- the need to protect your information is becoming a bigger concern.

If you have an Android run smartphone, listen up. Consumer Reports just tested more than a dozen apps designed to keep Android devices safer.

Solomon Nasser landed in the repair shop when he ran into trouble with his smartphone.

"It just basically stopped working," Nasser said.

The problems had also spread to his computer.

"Well, they both picked up a virus when I downloaded an app, a free app, from the Internet," Nasser said.

Consumer Reports just tested 16 Android security apps designed to keep your smartphone or tablet safe.

"These apps protect you against online threats like viruses and malware, and they also help you, if your phone is lost or stolen, to remotely lock it or find it, or wipe it," Consumer Reports' Dean Gallea said.

Testers checked to see how well each app protects a user's privacy and also assessed extras the apps have to offer.

"We looked at the apps' ease of use and also their versatility, including such features as being able to back up your phone or parental controls," Gallea said.

While some of the apps cost as much as $40 a year, you don't have to pay much for good mobile protection.

"It turns out you can't go by price, because some of the best apps we tested were free, and some of the lower-rated ones were the more expensive ones," Gallea said.

In fact, one of the best is free. It's the avast! Mobile Security and Antivirus app. It has nice features like parental controls, automatic backup, and an alarm you can activate if your device goes missing.

iPhones are less susceptible to viruses and malware because Apple's store is the only source for apps. But no phone is immune to theft, so if you have an iPhone, you can use the "Find My iPhone" feature to locate it on a map or remotely lock or delete all your data.

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