Android Best free/paid Anti-Theft Android solution

RXZ6Q

Level 4
Mar 30, 2016
169
Hello,

my girlfriend just bought a Xiaomi Mi Note 10. She is using it for just basic applications and lots of photos, of course. So I don't there's need for some extremely roburst AV protection. She also always check apps premisions and is very, very eduacted about this issue.

What she needs is a good and reliable anti-theft.

Currently, we are trying avast!

But, God, that app is still so bugy!

She doesn't have mobile data, so I am only interested in anti-theft solutions that work by sending SMS. She is not comfortable with having GPS on all the time. But the avast! seems to require that - otherwise it won't locate the device.

The phone is encrypted with a fingerprint + pretty solid password and she doesn't store some super-sensitive conent on her phone. So I don't think that remote wiping will be necessary.

Your options, guys?

So I'm going to summarise my requirements again:

1. STRONG ANTI-THEFT THAT IS NOT BUGGY
2. Anti-theft that is capable by working not via internet but just using SMS
3. Most important question: Anti-theft solution that is able to remotely activate GPS, so it's not nessecary to have it always on - IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?
4. Please compare free and paid options. We are just a students. This phone is (seriously) probably the most expensive thing she currently owns, so protection is really important for her.

(Any opinion about most privacy-security (but mainly privacy) browser is also welcomed. Currently, we are (she is) using Brave. Is that a good idea? Should I tweak it in any way?)

THANKS GUYS, YOU'RE THE BEST
 
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RXZ6Q

Level 4
Mar 30, 2016
169
So I contacted both vendors (Kaspersky and Eset) and they both said that GPS can not be turned on remotely via SMS. So it seems like if you want to be able to track your phone you need to keep GPS on all the time... :(
 

SecurityNightmares

Level 33
Verified
Jan 9, 2020
2,247
First: anti-theft doesn't work.
Because the thief only need to shutdown your device and doesn't care about apps at all.

So you only can secure your device against unwanted login which mean secure password, encrypted phone, sim pin, hide (important or all) notification from locked phone and:

You can use apps to track your phone as last hope. That's possible with for example PhoneTrack from F-Droid which use Nextcloud as Backend and answer against specific SMS. The app Finder from F-Droid do that do but without real-time location tracking to Nextcloud.

Also the apps WaveUp and Private Lock can lock your phone based on different sensors
 

Parsh

Level 25
Verified
Trusted
Malware Hunter
Dec 27, 2016
1,483
So I'm going to summarise my requirements again:

1. STRONG ANTI-THEFT THAT IS NOT BUGGY
2. Anti-theft that is capable by working not via internet but just using SMS
3. Most important question: Anti-theft solution that is able to remotely activate GPS, so it's not nessecary to have it always on - IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?
4. Please compare free and paid options. We are just a students. This phone is (seriously) probably the most expensive thing she currently owns, so protection is really important for her.
It might be difficult to find everything you need in one app. There are some reliable ones built into AVs. I won't list them.
These apps could help if the device is lost unattended or an unevil person finds it ;) but likely not in case it falls into the hands of a thief with brains. These get shutdown and/or reformatted.
Just take care of the developer reputation, no. of downloads, reviews of the apps before deciding on one. All of these will naturally ask for tons of permissions.

Antitheft Droid Web had a companion earlier based completely on SMS commands instead of web. Both could survive OS reformatting if root privileges were granted. Flashing a new ROM is a different thing. Unfortunately it's not an available feature anymore and rooting is generally safe neither.
Regarding the browser - Brave or Firefox.
 

Parsh

Level 25
Verified
Trusted
Malware Hunter
Dec 27, 2016
1,483
Firefox doesn't had any sandboxing so it's not best for security.
All Chromium/ Chrome based browser are best for security. I recommend Bromite which is the second best hardened browser for Android (best one is only available in GrapheneOS and called Vanadium)
Sure, I focused on the privacy features as OP highlighted. FF is pretty common among phone users here too.
Bromite looks interesting, though she rather use a standard browser from official play store for casual usage. Brave should be good (y)
 
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