|ESET Mobile Security|
ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus is an unusual security app. For one thing, it's remarkably well designed, which makes it easy to understand exactly what each feature does. Apart from the weird robot that looks like it escaped from a Svedka ad looming over the home page, the app was a joy to use, and its malware detection scores look great on paper. But it also shirks convention for anti-theft controls, and embraces an entirely mobile scheme—which was a bridge too far.
With proactive protection, advanced on-access scanning, call-intercept technology, security audit with a Task Manager and more, it is plain to see why ESET Mobile Security software is one of the better mobile virus protection software applications on the market.
This mobile virus protection software uses real-time protection. This means the software is constantly scanning apps and files on the device to ensure that they are not carrying a malicious threat. If a threat is found, this application places it into a quarantined section of the phone. This prevents the malware from infecting the phone and allows you to delete the threat.
According to ESET, this cell phone virus protection application constantly scans your downloaded apps, your files and folders, and your SD memory card for any kind of malware, spam, viruses and more. If it finds a threat during one of these routine scans, you will automatically be notified through the Task Manager feature, which also monitors all of your phone's features and functions.
Beyond the usual protection protocols included in a mobile antivirus software application, ESET Mobile uses advanced heuristic detection technology and a security audit to ensure that your phone, and the information that is stored on it, receives the highest level of protection.
Protection : 8.5/10
In terms of flat-out malware detection, the independent testing lab AV-Test gave ESET great marks. In their tests, they found that the app detected 100 percent of the 2,124 malicious samples. This easily beat the already high industry average of 96.6 percent. PC Mag does not conduct its own malware detection tests, but rely instead on the results from independent testing labs which are better equipped to run in-depth analysis of how security apps handle malware.
ESET scans your phone the first time you activate it, and provides constant protection by scanning new apps as they are downloaded. If it detects something unusual, it immediately alerts you and gives you the option to either ignore, quarantine, or delete the offending app. You can also perform on-demand scans in one of three flavors: Smart, Quick, and Deep.
As you'd expect, the Quick scan is the fastest, taking a mere 30-odd seconds to complete, and scanning 67 files. The Smart Scan took slightly longer at 47.3 seconds, and reviewed 217 files. It's the default option. The deep scan took significantly longer—well over two minutes—and scanned some 128,000 files. Each scan is recorded in detail in the log section.
Taking a closer look at the Smart scan, I found that it had a negligible impact on device performance. It didn't hog RAM, using little more than the device uses while at rest. Even with 12 other apps open and a scan running, Minecraft - Pocket Edition still ran buttery-smooth.
To test how the app performed when it detected malware, I side-loaded a penetration testing app. While not actually malicious, it fits the profile and ESET quickly flagged it as potentially dangerous. I was pleased to note that ESET added an alert to the app's homepage once the suspicious app was detected, so I could quickly deal with the problem if I hadn't when it was first detected. If malware is found during a scan, ESET continues to scan your phone and lets you take action at your leisure.
Security Features : 9/10
Many security applications include a tool to review what permissions your apps can access, and alert you to potentially unsafe settings on your device. ESET has followed suit with what they call Security Audit. ESET can alert you to apps that access your personal information—like your address book or location. It's a handy way to review your apps, but I found it lacking in specific information. I wanted specific information about potential dangers, while ESET only divided apps into broad categories.
ESET also has a Device Monitoring tool which keeps an eye on things like memory usage and whether the Wi-Fi network your phone is connected to is secured or not. This is all great information, much of which we've discussed before on SecurityWatch. I particularly liked that it alerted users if their phone was in debug mode or allowed apps from outside Google Play to be installed—two features which should be kept off as much as possible.
A phishing site is designed to trick you into giving up your personal information. Phishing sites are a problem on desktop computers, but they can be also spread to mobile devices over SMS messages. Once enabled, ESET's phishing protection blocks any URL that ESET has flagged as dangerous—hopefully keeping you from being scammed.
More security companies are adding SMS and call blocking tools to their suites, letting you screen out specific numbers from bothering you. This tool can also protect you from spam, scams, and malware that might be spread via SMS.
ESET's blocking tool has a very straightforward interface, letting you create rules to allow or block specific callers or whole groups as defined by address book. I found the "group" blocking feature a bit tedious, but had no trouble creating rules to block specific numbers, or all numbers. Though you can block "hidden" numbers, you cannot block prefixes like area codes.
ESET's anti-theft tools are very, very different from those of other Android security suites. Just about everyone else, including Google's Android Device Manager, provides a Web portal to enable anti-theft features remotely. ESET, on the other hand, takes an entirely mobile view. Instead of a website, you send special SMS commands to remotely control your device. While other security apps include SMS controls as an extra, it's the only option in ESET.
There are four commands available: remote lock, scream, locate, and wipe, which function as you'd expect.When your device is locked, for instance, you must enter your ESET password to unlock and use it. Many other security apps allow you to, the notification tray, task manager, and homescreen even when locked. I'm happy to say that ESET kept all of these inaccessible when locked The scream command locks your phone and plays a very, very loud alarm (topped out my decibel app!) while vibrating the motor. Use it to frighten thieves or find your phone in a messy room.
Help and Support : 8/10
The mobile antivirus application does not offer live chat support, and it is difficult to find an actual contact number for the company. There is no FAQs section available either, but there is a user manual, which gives you a comprehensive overview of the app itself.
ESET Mobile Security provides your smartphone with the protection it needs against the threats posed by surfing the web and downloading apps. This mobile security software offers antivirus, antispam and firewall protection. It also features several security tools, including remote wipe and password protection. We are disappointed to see that this application does not offer parental control features, an online management account or live chat support, however.
I really liked ESET's clear, helpful design, which made it easy to learn about and activate the app's key features. I was also very impressed with how the app handled SMS anti-theft commands, which improved greatly upon an established model.
However, I'm not convinced that using only SMS commands improves over a Web portal for anti-theft control. A Web portal needs to be available at least as a backup. Also, though I was able to solve the issues with SMS blocking and ignoring flagged apps, the experience hurt my confidence in the app to perform as advertised. Then again, developing for Android, with its myriad of handsets and OS versions, is a daunting task. Weird instances like the one I had are bound to come up.
In the end, ESET does a lot of things right. With some updates and more robust anti-theft tools, it could be a top contender.
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