Battle Best free antivirus for Android--or no antivirus?

Best free antivirus for Android--or no antivirus?

  • Avast

    Votes: 4 7.8%
  • AVG

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Avira

    Votes: 1 2.0%
  • Bitdefender

    Votes: 11 21.6%
  • Dr.Web

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • ESET

    Votes: 2 3.9%
  • F-Secure

    Votes: 3 5.9%
  • Kaspersky

    Votes: 4 7.8%
  • Lookout

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Malwarebytes

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • McAfee

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Sophos

    Votes: 5 9.8%
  • Trend Micro

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Other, please specify in thread

    Votes: 1 2.0%
  • None

    Votes: 20 39.2%

  • Total voters
    51
Software comparison
Avast
AVG
Avira
Bitdefender
Dr.Web
ESET
F-Secure
Kaspersky
Lookout
Malwarebytes
McAfee
Sophos
Trend Micro
Other
None
Feature comparison
  1. Ease of use
  2. Impact on hardware performance
  3. Core protection (malware and heuristic engine)
  4. Internet protection (web filtering, anti-phishing, anti-spam, browser extension)
  5. Proactive protection (anti-exploit, behavior blocker, IDS-HIPS, sandbox)
  6. Ransomware protection

conceptualclarity

Level 21
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Aug 23, 2013
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Just recently started my second smartphone ever during a really difficult period, and am really surprised to see it has no preloaded antivirus. My prior phone had Lookout. Do you agree with those who say no antivirus for Android? If you disagree which one would you choose? And please tell me its pros and cons.

Any other security products you would run on Android?

The phone is a T-Mobile REVEVLRY+, based on Motorola.
 
Last edited:
Dec 12, 2021
230
The question as to if you need an antivirus on your phone is an big maybe, more and more malwre is slipping trough into Google Play, which was something I had an actual experience with, my mother was getting pop up ads in her browser, the standard "you have an virus, install this app" crap, I installed Malwarebytes and it turned out to be adware in the disguise of an PDF reader, what struck me was the fact it had 1 million downloads, which shows even apps with a lot of downloads can still be malicious.
 

Shadowra

Level 22
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Sep 2, 2021
1,189
It all depends on what you do and who uses it.
If you are the only one using it, an antivirus may be useless.
Even if some malwares have already managed to infiltrate Play Store, they are very quickly removed (we saw that with Triada or some banking Trojans).
Some Android overlays (like Samsung with McAfee, Xiaomi with Avast like Huawei and other manufacturers)
Why not an app that allows you to block sensitive applications (like bank accounts), make sure to update applications and Android and NextDNS.

On the other hand if children use your mobile, then yes you can install an antivirus. I would think of F-Secure SAFE, Bitdefender Mobile Security or ESET which are for me the best.
 

TedCruz

Level 3
Aug 19, 2022
100
Also keep in mind that Google Play store and Google Chrome have partnered up with ESET to be their playstore and built in chrome scanner. It's not as full fledged as the real thing but it does provide the 80% solution. Therefore, whatever you choose I would not choose ESET Mobile since why would you want to double up on similar signatures?
As how to access the built in Eset in Chrome just:
  1. Open Chrome on your device.
  2. At the top-right corner of the browser you will see three dots next to your profile image. Click on the three dots.
  3. A pop-up window will appear beneath the dots. Scroll down through the list and select the Settings option near the bottom.
  4. This opens a new page with find a variety of customization options from changing the layout of the browser to the various permission settings that decide which online programs can access your device.
  5. At the bottom-left corner of the page select Advanced which will open a drop-down menu.
  6. At the bottom of the drop-down menu select the option Reset and Clean Up option which will take you to Clean up Computer.
  7. Tap on this option, and a new page. Clicking on the Find button (highlighted in blue) will start the Chrome scanner. The scanner will then search your device for the presence of malware.
  8. Once the program starts running, it will scan not only for viruses but also for any other undesirable apps that you may not even have realized are active on your device.
  9. Once the scanner has completed its task, you will be shown a report about any malware that was found on your device.
  10. You will then be presented with the option to remove the unwanted software or place it in quarantine until you decide what to do with it.
Remember the signatures are focused on infections and exploits that might weaken or infect chrome.
 

goodjohnjr

Level 2
Jul 11, 2018
86
Just recently started my second smartphone ever during a really difficult period, and am really surprised to see it has no preloaded antivirus. My prior phone had Lookout. Do you agree with those who say no antivirus for Android? If you disagree which one would you choose? And please tell me its pros and cons.

Any other security products you would run on Android?

The phone is a T-Mobile REVEVLRY+, based on Motorola.
Google Protect (even though it is not that good).

Sophos Intercept X For Mobile (with all the options for Device Security & Network Security (set the Web Filtering to block malicious content, Phishing, Spam, Spyware, et cetera) & App Security turned on, and all the options with a slider on the Settings page turned on).

Adguard DNS default public servers (dns.adguard-dns.com) set as the Private DNS.

A web browser that has ad blocking / tracker blocking / et cetera like Brave Browser or Firefox with uBlock Origin or Microsoft Edge with Adblock Plus.

Enable Spam Protection in your Google Messages & Google Phone apps, et cetera.

I like to use a free layered security strategy on each operating system that I use, using the default security features, backed up by one or more free low hassle third-party security programs.
 
Last edited:

mlnevese

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May 3, 2015
1,377
Ad blockers are an absolute necessity on phones, if you think you are bombarded by ads on the web, phones are way worse, mainly if you play the so called "free" games... This is a screen shot from my new phone bought back in July just to give an idea...

Screenshot_20220923-085504_AdGuard.jpg
 

Azriel

Level 3
Well-known
Jan 3, 2019
114
Ad blockers are an absolute necessity on phones, if you think you are bombarded by ads on the web, phones are way worse, mainly if you play the so called "free" games... This is a screen shot from my new phone bought back in July just to give an idea...

View attachment 269499
I ll argue against adblockers since they may have https filtering. (Potential Vulnerability) You can achieve the same result by changing your private dns of your phone to adguard, controld or nextdns. I have never had an ad by this method.
Edit: I strongly support adblockers but not app-based ones.
 
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Jan Willy

Level 8
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Jul 5, 2019
387
There is also such thing as telemetry. In NextDNS you can activate Native Tracking Protection. It protects you against tracking by companies such as Samsung, Huawei and Xiaomi. And believe me, when you enable this option many thousands of queries will be blocked each month. However Google is the biggest tracker on your Android phone or tablet.
 

Azriel

Level 3
Well-known
Jan 3, 2019
114
I personally use bitdefender free, it is lightweight and have a good detection ratio.Its quicker to find viruses since Google Play Protect always had a poor score in detection results.
Another interesting one is Sophos, it is a full feature antivirus, it has vulnerability assessment (if your bootlocker is unlocked etc), if it blocks an app during installation, it shows potential dangerous or privacy permissions it requires, and a reputation-based default deny setting.
 

TedCruz

Level 3
Aug 19, 2022
100
I ll argue against adblockers since they may have https filtering. (Potential Vulnerability) You can achieve the same result by changing your private dns of your phone to adguard, controld or nextdns. I have never had an ad by this method.
Edit: I strongly support adblockers but not app-based ones.
That might work for blocking ads in pages but it doesn't work for blocking ads in apps. Believe me I tried. Also YouTube ads are double encapsulated encryptions the DNS sees a single valid YouTube stream as encrypted traffic it doesn't know that within the stream there are ads so it never blocks it. AdGuard and https filtering for apps (you can set it at per app basis so not every app needs https filtering) will get rid of those.
 

Azriel

Level 3
Well-known
Jan 3, 2019
114
That might work for blocking ads in pages but it doesn't work for blocking ads in apps. Believe me I tried. Also YouTube ads are double encapsulated encryptions the DNS sees a single valid YouTube stream as encrypted traffic it doesn't know that within the stream there are ads so it never blocks it. AdGuard and https filtering for apps (you can set it at per app basis so not every app needs https filtering) will get rid of those.
I have controld and it blocks all kinds of ads in games and other applications (they leave blank spaces). It usually works for apps that rely on third party ad services like Google's. For apps like YouTube and Facebook it doesn't work for the same reason it doesn't work in browsers.
 

Azriel

Level 3
Well-known
Jan 3, 2019
114
Android OS is based on Linux kernel. So Android doesnt need an antivirus.
They can steal personal information (files) and spy on you. Many games and simple apps like turning on the flashlight request a lot of permissions.
It isn't the Linux kernel that makes it secure but the architecture design, limiting permissions, and sandboxing of apps that do.