The threats to Android devices are undoubtedly growing. As the user base increases so does the attractiveness of the platform to hackers. Whether that means you need Android security or not is still highly debatable though and I’m of the impression that it isn’t as necessary as some security firms might have you believe. At least not yet.
But if you can install a good security solution at zero cost then there really isn’t any reason not too (unless you are overly concerned about battery usage). And if you can find a security app that does a good job of protecting your phone or tablet if it should be stolen then that definitely is worth looking into.
So, is Lookout Mobile Security the solution you are looking for?
Lookout Security & Antivirus Android App
Lookout Mobile Security comes in two flavours – free and premium (more on that later) – and I’ll be looking at whether or not I think it is a viable security solution for your Android phone or tablet.
As you can see in the image above, the app concentrates on 3 main areas:
- Missing Devices
When you get into the app proper you’ll see the screen above which shows what you can do with it.
The free version offers:
- Malware scanning
- Missing device protection
The premium version also offers two extra features:
- Privacy advisor
- Safe browsing
As I have mentioned in previous reviews, scanning an Android device is typically much quicker than running an antivirus scan on a desktop PC or laptop. In this case, it took around 25 seconds to run a complete scan.
As for how effective the program is at detecting malware I shall defer to the experts - http://www.av-test.org/en/tests/android/
The Privacy Advisor is an interesting aspect. As I am sure you are aware, many Android apps request certain permissions at the time of installation such as the ability to track your phone, access SMS messages, etc. Put your hand up now if you’ve just blindly accepted these permissions without really reading them or thinking about how they may affect you or your device.
If that sounds like something you may have done before then the Privacy Advisor function will give you a handy reminder of which apps can do what on your device. The screen above gives a summary of how many apps have certain types of permissions. Lookout Mobile Security cannot tell you which apps should have which permissions but you can still drill down to find out specifically which app can do what and then make your own decisions.
Safe Browsing is fairly self explanatory – when you surf the web on your device the app will check the URLs you visit in order to determine whether they are safe or not.
The Backup feature is rather nice too. As it says above, you can backup contacts, call history and pictures to the cloud. You get a couple of gigs of storage space but no ability to backup apps which may be an issue if you use several paid ones.
As I alluded to at the beginning of this post the ability to scan Android devices for malware is of questionable importance right now. Where these security apps really come into there own right now, in my opinion, is in their ability to protect your data should your device be lost or stolen.
With the Missing Device section of Lookout Security you get that ability.
With the device tracker you will be able to locate a missing device and display where it is (including which building) using Google Maps. Handy.
There is also a remote scream feature which you have to hear to believe. If you have misplaced your device you can activate this in order to find it. If your device has been stolen you can give the thief quite a surprise with the earsplitting sound.
If your device is lost or stolen you will have a couple of useful options at your disposal. You can remotely wipe your personal data from it as well as lock it with a random password which is then only accessible from Lookout’s Web console.
As I mentioned at the beginning, there are two versions of Lookout Mobile available – free and Premium. You can see the difference between the two above. If you take the free version then you will actually begin with a 14 day free trial of the premium features which is handy if you want to see if they are worth paying for.
Of course the best features aren’t available in the free version but thats not to say that the free version doesn’t warrant some consideration – locate and scream could certainly be useful, you may feel malware scanning is necessary and the limited backups for contacts could be a handy feature too.
The premium version, however, really does offer some great additional benefits. The only issue I have here is the cost though. Back in the day, Lookout were one of the first on the Android security bandwagon. At that time $2.99 per month or $29.99 per year almost certainly represented good value for what they were offering in the premium version of their product. Nowadays, however, I’m not so sure. The big boys of the security industry are getting into this arena now and increased competition means similar features are going to be available for less or even free.
Will you try Lookout security? Or maybe you already do – what do you think of it?
- 0 / $29.99