The review mainly focuses on the security features – anti-malware, anti-theft, and privacy – and only mentions further functionalities briefly. The structure of each product report is identical, allowing readers to compare products easily.
The main purpose of a mobile security product is to protect users and their devices from potential harm inflicted by malicious apps, fraudulent mails, or phishing URLs. Readers should note that recent Android versions incorporate some basic anti-malware features. For example, Google’s Safe Browsing API protects against malware and phishing links when the user is surfing the Internet using the Chrome browser.
Furthermore, an anti-theft component in a security app could be used to retrieve a lost or stolen phone, and/or prevent access to any personal data stored on the device. Basic anti-theft features (lock, locate, alarm, and wipe) are already provided by recent versions of Android via the Android device manager and Google’s Find My Device function.
On the following pages, we provide a brief overview of the risks facing smartphone users from malware and the loss or theft of their device, and discuss the benefits of security apps. We start by recapping Android Marshmallow, its new permissions system, and mentioning the restrictions in the operating system that security vendors have to deal with. We will also briefly cover Google’s new security service for Android called Play Protect which was released recently (July 2017). After that, we give a short summary of security features and their main sub-components commonly implemented in most security apps for Google Android.
At the end of the introduction, we list the participating security products, and present the results of the malware and battery drain tests. Detailed reviews of the individual products follow, in which we will shed light on the layout and usage of the features. In the table representing a product’s anti-theft features, we comment on each function briefly and use the following symbols to indicate how good it worked in our tests.