Stop Android malware with AVG anti-virus free

Protect your phone from malware, back up your data, or track and remote-wipe your handset if you lose it.

Android phones are extremely practical devices, properly wielded: You can use them to cut the time required to do many tasks, such as checking and responding to your e-mail. But your phone's power could become a devastating weapon used against you if your handset is lost, stolen, or compromised by malware. Although you can avoid many problems by following basic security precautions, it's also wise to install an app like AVG Anti-Virus Free (Pro version $5). The AVG app provides continual, automatically updated protection against rapidly evolving Android security threats. It also offers some useful tools, such as data backup, remote phone tracking, and remote wipe.

Since I didn't have the resources to download every known Android malware to test the AVG app, I instead used a nonmalicious program called Unrevoked, which is designed for rooting Android phones. Unrevoked utilizes an exploit similar to that used by most Android malware (but doesn't use it against you).

In my tests the AVG app intercepted Unrevoked, informed me of the risk, and gave me the option to abort or continue the installation. Based on that result, I'm pretty confident that AVG Anti-Virus Free does indeed protect against malware. Given the ingenuity of hackers, I would never be 100 percent confident of the security of any system, but the AVG app provides significant protection.

AVG Anti-Virus Free scans your phone in real time, examining apps and files as they come into the device. If it finds any problems, it will notify you and give you options to abort the installation or fix the issue.

You can back up contacts, call logs, bookmarks, and text and media messages to your SD Card. AVG Anti-Virus Free also offers a six-day trial for backing up apps, but you'll need to buy the Pro version to make that feature permanent. In addition, you can lock individual apps (another six-day trial) so that they require a password before they will run.

If your phone is lost or stolen, you can lock, track, or wipe it remotely, simply by sending your phone a text message or by signing in to your AVG account online. Of course, the remote features' effectiveness will depend on your phone's connection to the network; if it's in airplane mode or turned off, you're out of luck.

I like AVG Anti-Virus Free; it works, and it doesn't seem to slow down my phone to any noticeable degree. It's good to know that if I leave my phone somewhere by accident, I have a good chance of locating it again, or at least locking it and deleting my personal data.

Do you use a security app on your Android phone? Contact Brent W. Hopkins on Twitter. You might also like other articles by Brent W. Hopkins.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags appsconsumer electronicsAndroidPhonessoftware

More about AVG Technologies AUetworkGoogle

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Brent W. Hopkins

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place