Avast Antivirus & Security
An anti-malware engine with a complete set of protection tools
Pros & Cons:
Avast Mobile Security has seen much comings and goings during these last months. First, it luckily recovered some ground in terms of malware detection capabilities, but then it turned itself into a freemium app which needs in-app purchases if you want to use the full array of features it includes.
Avast adds an icon in the notification tray, you can disable it, but doing that will affect the real-time protection. You can schedule automatic scans for the apps, the SD Card or both. The Privacy Advisor checks the permissions every app needs and lists the potential privacy issues they may have, whilst the Applications Management acts as a RAM monitoring and task killing tool. The Network Meter can monitor all your data traffic (WiFi, 3G and Roaming) and you can check each app's traffic under every network by selecting the corresponding tab.
Avast includes a full set of protection shields grouped under the "Shield Control" menu and it should protected you from all fronts. The Web Shield will block any infected URL it may find; the Message Shield will filter all unwanted SMSes and the Application Shield will keep PUAs at bay. The SMS & Call Filtering can be set up to block outgoing and incoming calls and you can add them to a group or groups and add specific days and hours to block them. Additionally, the included USSD protection will keep your dialler safe from exploits.
The included Firewall allows you to disable Internet access to any kind of network (WiFi, 3G and Roaming). That way you can avoid expensive roaming connection fares, block specific apps from going online and keep hackers away. Not so good, however, is that you need a rooted device to make it work.
As for the Anti-theft module, Avast's latest versions have turned it into an optional component. There are two versions: One for rooted devices and the other for non-rooted ones. Non-rooted devices can benefit from some Anti-theft components such as the Stealth Mode (it disguises and hides the Anti-theft component from unauthorized access) and a very complete list of SMS commands to trigger special actions such as alarms, device locking, remote wiping and geo-location. Rooted devices will have additional options such as Self-Protection (app uninstalling prevention and USB disabling) and Remote Settings Change. Avast also has a fully operational online service (you need a free Avast account) from which you can check and change your device status (Secured or Lost), locate it, send web commands and manage the Anti-Theft settings. Sadly, features such as the app-locking, the anti-theft extras and the adware detecting capabilities are now limited to the full (paid) version.
The two versions of the Anti-theft component are available for free at the PlayStore, but they still need an avast account to work. The application locking feature is limited to 2 apps.
Avast has improved the malware detection rates and most of the problems from previous versions have faded away. The app has also reduced its installation size, that now takes ~12 MB, whereas the previous versions took ~25 MB. The RAM usage remains almost the same, though, with ~30 MB at peak demand and 13~19 MB while idle, but you can still disable some features to save some RAM. We know the need of a rooted device for the Firewall and the most advanced Anti-theft options might pose a problem for new and inexperienced users, but that is a small price to pay for the kind of protection Avast Mobile Security provides.
Avast Antivirus & Security was reviewed by Gizmos Freeware on