July 24, 2011

Should I Get Norton Mobile Security for Android?

If you are worried about getting malware on your Android phone or tablet, then you may consider getting a mobile security app which is intended to protect you from malware such as viruses, spyware, SMS trojans, phishing websites, phishing applications etc. You may wonder that out of the many mobile security apps at the Android market, should I get Norton Mobile Security for Android?

Norton Mobile Security, NMS, for Android is one of the leading security apps for Android devices. It provides all the standard security measures for Android phones and tablets –
  • Antivirus that scans downloaded apps and app updates for viruses
  • Blocks phishing apps that may steal your personal data, send spam text or take over your phone
  • Provides security for lost or stolen phones – locate an Android phone, remotely lock an Android phone, remotely wipe an Android phone to protect your data
  • Weekly updates to keep the security up-to-date
  • etc
And it does these security functions on Android well.

And you can download Norton Mobile Security app free on Android market, another plus point for the app.

So, are there any things to watch out for?

Norton Mobile Security is made by Symantec who also makes Norton antivirus for PC’s including the notorious rtvscan.exe which is known to annoy users by completely saturating the system cpu (the only solutions are to either uninstall it or disable rtvscan). Norton Mobile Security brings its similar PC legacy to Android devices. Some of its caveats on Android devices -

  • The NMS antivirus will kill the battery life of your Android device as it is a heavy user of the phone’s cpu and runs often
  • When the antivirus runs, it will slow down your phone significantly.
  • You will get annoying activation reminders and there seems to be no way to turn them off
  • The app checks for updates once a week with an annoying user-experience
  • The app is prone to locking your phone up under different conditions. Protecting you from yourself? 
    Once locked, as discussed in the support forums, you have to jump through hoops with Symantec to get it unlocked.
  • The download is free but the continued use is not. After the beta period (which is free), prepare to pay for yearly subscriptions
So, should you get Norton Mobile Security? If you are ok with the above caveats, then by all means get Norton Mobile Security for Android.

Alternatives to Norton Mobile Security app include the popular Lookout Mobile Security app and other apps such as AVG anti-virus for Android, Trend Micro ($30), McAfee Mobile Security, Kaspersky Mobile Security ($10), Webroot Mobile Security ($15) and others. They offer similar features and user experience i.e. nothing much better compared to Norton.

Or, you could go with Apple’s iPhone or iPad which are built to be secure and do not require any further antivirus, antimalware apps for security.