As you probably will remember, December 2011 I posted a review concerning avast! Mobile Security (AMS) for Android phones, my verdict was (and still is): an excellent Security Suite, also very reliable and provided with a top-notch Anti-Theft module. For reason of the outstanding good test results AMS gained the Smokey’s 2011/2012 Choice Award, this Award will only be granted to the best among the best.
This week avast! company informed me that a new major version of the suite was released, v2, and this new version is in beta stage. They told me also that current stable v1 of the suite wasn’t updated since April 2012 for reason of development v2.
Like I told v2 is still beta but the new features sound very promising and will make the product even better, in this way protecting the user in a more solid way and providing him with additional useful features, time to provide you with a fast survey of v2 beta.
According to avast! company new features are:
* avast! Anti-Theft web portal integrated into the avast! Account
* Network Meter
* avast! widget
* Optimized UI for tablets
* Real-time protection (on-exec scanning) of apps
* Custom rules and log in the firewall
* The shield control UI to fine-tune on-access security setup
* avast! SiteCorrect for the Web Shield
* Scanning of incoming messages
* SMS/Call filter wildcards
* Greyscale notification icon
Adding all these new features to avast!’s already superb security suite will make it (again) the best security suite for android phones there is, and will put it again on top of all available suites. V2 beta avast! Mobile Security and avast! Anti-Theft are downloadable on avast! Forum, keep in mind that (like with all beta’s) use will be on your own risk. If you have the intention to download and install the beta please read the beta support thread before installing, in this way knowing what problems you can expect and current development stage of the beta.
To me it’s not clear v2 final will remain free, at the moment pricing info isn’t available.
System Requirements v2 beta avast! Mobile Security
Operating Systems Supported:
- Android 2.1.x
- Android 2.2.x
- Android 2.3.x
- Android 3.x
- Android 4.0.x
- Experimental support for Android 4.1.x
- Review v1 avast! Mobile Security for Android phones: http://smokeys.wordpress.com/2011/12/24/review-avast-mobile-security-for-android-phones/
- About the Smokey’s Choice Awards: http://smokeys.wordpress.com/2011/12/30/about-the-smokeys-choice-awards/
- Downloadlinks v2 beta avast! Mobile Security and avast! Anti-Theft / v2 beta Support Forum: http://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=101642
Isn’t it amazing how at once there is a superb anti-virus, smashing all competitors, established vendors included? The Anti-Virus Holy Grail so to speak, doing a fantastic job of keeping customers PC’s free of malware, this in contradiction of these competitors? At the same time an AV with great support, prepared to listen to customers and helping them in an adequate way, and also being realistic when it regards shortcomings (however see this as a joke… an AV Holy Grail that doesn’t have any shortcomings).
Don’t look any further, don’t try any other anti-virus…. but be smart and buy NOW the 2012 Super AV: Webroot SecureAnywhere.
Competitors are selling crap,anyway, this is Webroot’s opinion, so don’t hesitate and only be satisfied with the Best of the Best: WSA (Webroot SecureAnywhere).
Of course it is true what they say about other AV vendors, please don’t call this bashing, it’s just business, okay?! Yells like “Takes up 96% less space than Kaspersky”, “Uses 97% less memory than McAfee”, “Scans more than 3x faster than Kaspersky”, “Takes up 99% less space than McAfee”, “Uses 92% less memory than Norton”, “Installs 131x faster than McAfee”, “Scans nearly 4 times faster than Norton”. The Webroot website is overwhelmed with such yells, there is hardly room left to tell the customer some (true) facts about WSA. Personally I really like this Webroot yell: “Webroot vs.Symantec is like David vs. Goliath. Only this David has a much faster, lighter, easier-to-manage slingshot”. This all is dramatic pure for sure, a climax that can’t be beaten by anyone.
I can hardly imagine that there are people believing the Webroot PR yells, after all yelling is Webroot’s trademark. OTOH they are true masters of it…. hence making it very convincing.
It starts at the very bottom with a Webroot Support Forum Helper, a PR expert on his own and also a master in repeating what Webroot employees are saying, then continues with Webroot Support/Quality Assurance Staff yelling to customers they must believe whatever the helper say, (after all, customers are stupid and clearly show their stupidity!!), subsequently we then have Webroot Support Team Staff yelling what a great product WSA is…. and finally we have the Webroot website and Support Forums, the absolute Masters of the Yell.
I admit that WSA is really small in size and fast just like WSA yells at us, however there is also a downside: it does not have the (high) detection rates that several other AV’s have. This is not just a yell from me, AV Testing Organization AV-Comparatives proved it very well: in their Protection-Test March-June 2012 AV Webroot SecureAnywhere 2012 gained the lowest protection rate of just a very disappointing 90,9%. In the test participated by 21 AV vendors/products WSA reached rank 21.
AV-Test.org, also an AV Testing Organisation, have tested WSA too. Talking again about detection rates, products like e.g. AVG’s Anti-Virus Free Edition 2012, AVG’s Internet Security 2012, BitDefenders Internet Security 2012, BullGuard’s Internet Security 12.0, F-Secure’s Internet Security 2012, G Data’s Internet Security 2012 and Kaspersky’s Internet Security 2012 were scoring better than WSA.
There is also issues false positives:
WSA gained the worst score according to AV-Comparatives False-Alarm-Test March 2012. We all know that false positives can really hurt your PC so FP’s can be dangerous just like malware is. When I have to choose between speed/used space and malware detection rates/amount FP’s ….I will choose the latter for sure.
Like I admitted before, WSA is really fast….. but regrettably not when regarding a full scan on demand, for example. Despite following Webroot’s promise: “After initial scan, full system scans typically take two minutes or less”. What Webroot don’t tell us is that a full scan will factually take hours. Furthermore, in my opinion they shouldn’t offer a ‘Full scan’ possibility at all to the customer if they are opinion it’s an unnecessary tool. After all their official POV is:
An actual full scan of the computer will both take hours in most cases and is also completely unnecessary for protecting the computer with WSA.
I clearly see here snake oil tactic of Webroot, with the aim to retain the claim of whopping fast scanning and at the same time putting other anti-virus vendors in a bad spotlight.
Webroot Inc. is also a damned well organised merchandising machine…. That they are heavily promoting their products on the Webroot (Prevx) support forums is fine, nothing wrong with that. The trick is to do the same on other forums without being provided with the spam label.
So how does the trick work? Almost every forum thread where a malware issue is discussed or advice is asked for on what AV to use…. will be provided with an urgent encouragement to use WSA. Surprisingly it’s almost always a Webroot Support Forum Helper encouraging the thread reader to do so. Final touch is then given by Webroot Support Team, praising the Webroot Support Forum Helper for his great advice and again encouraging the reader to use WSA. Finally the thread will end with a survey of where to obtain WSA good deals, the survey will be mostly offered by an anonymous user. I call this ordinary spam.
Common exception: if the thread is going ‘wrong direction’, Webroot Support Team is clever and don’t show up at all, instead the WSA Support Forum Helper will starting a tirade to the messenger of the ‘bad news’ and maintain the tactic to shoot the messenger by calling him e.g. a troll. This kind of ‘support’ can hardly be called decent and customer-orientated.
I don’t say Webroot SecureAnyWhere is a bad product, but it need much improvement.
I don’t say PR is condemnable, I just don’t like Webroot’s business practices.
I don’t like the way they provide support.
I don’t like the way the customer is treated.
I don’t like it when a product with very bad detection rates and lots of false positives is praised into AV heaven, please keep in mind there are better AV’s.
Last but not least, I don’t like spam.
Like the Smokey’s Security Weblog Hall of Shame Awards, the Smokey’s Choice Award has the sole purpose to improve users experiences and interests. Where the intention of our “Hall of Shame” is to achieve a change of mind in positive way and improvements in behavior and procedures by the Awardees, the Smokey’s Choice Award will be granted to security (related) products that has proven to be the very best quality software available on the market. Issue ‘real security’ and ‘serious improvement’ should have highest attention of security vendors, this all in customer’s interest. The Smokey’s Choice Award is our acknowledgement of products of outstanding quality and effectiveness, in this way we honor exceptionally well software development by some vendors which results in such top-notch products no matter it concerns free software or paid products.
All Smokey’s Choice Awarded software is thoroughly tested/reviewed, in the decision to provide a product with the Award we also include a judgment concerning the price of the software compared with the competition and what will be offered for the price. Only when we are fully convinced about quality, effectiveness and price / performance, a product will be granted the Smokey’s Choice Award. Hence we highly recommend all software provided with the Award.
Currently following products are provided with the Smokey’s Choice Award:
- avast! Mobile Security Android (recent test/review here)
- F-Secure Internet Security 2012
- MBAM – Malwarebytes Anti-Malware
- Symantec Norton Internet Security 2012
- VIPRE Internet Security 2012
- WinPatrol ‘Scotty’
Again our congratulations to all Awarded vendors!
Testing period: 2011-12-10 / 2011-12-24
Phone: Samsung Galaxy S Plus (SGS+) non-rooted and rooted
OS: Android Gingerbread 2.3.5
ABOUT THE APP
Avast! Mobile Security for Android phones is an full featured Anti-virus and Anti-Theft security application for Android phones. It can protect your phone against malicious apps, hackers, infected-URLs and thieves.
Operating Systems Supported
Any phone capable of running a supported system.
Antivirus: Performs on-demand scans of all installed apps and memory card content, as well as on-access scans of apps upon first execution. Options for scheduling scans, virus definition updates, uninstalling apps, deleting files, or reporting a false-positive to our virus lab.
Privacy Report: Scans and displays (grid) access rights and intents of installed apps, identifying potential privacy risks, so you know how much info you are really providing to each app.
SMS/Call Filtering: Filter calls and/or messages from contact list using set parameters based on day(s) of the week, start time, and end time. Blocked calls redirect to voicemail, while blocked messages are stored via filter log. Also possible to block outgoing calls.
App Manager: Similar to Windows Task Manager, it shows a list of running apps and their size (MB), CPU load, used memory, and number of threads and services – with an option to stop or uninstall.
Web Shield: Part of the avast! WebRep cloud, the avast! Web Shield for Android scans each URL that loads and warns you if the browser loads a malware-infected URL.
Firewall: Add a firewall to stop hackers. Disable an app’s internet access when on WiFi and 3G and roaming mobile networks. (Works only on rooted phones.)
avast! Anti-Theft Module Features
App Disguiser: After downloading avast! Anti-Theft, user can choose a custom name that disguises the app (e.g. call it “Pinocchio game”) so that it is even harder for thieves to find and remove.
Stealth Mode: Once anti-theft is enabled, the app icon is hidden in the app tray, leaving no audio or other trace on the target phone – the app is ‘invisible’, making it difficult for thieves to detect or remove.
Self-Protection: Extremely difficult for thieves to remove (especially on rooted phones), Anti-Theft protects itself from uninstall by disguising its components with various self-preservation techniques. On rooted phones it is able to survive hard-resets and can even disable the phone’s USB port.
Battery Save: Anti-Theft only launches itself and runs when it needs to perform tasks. This preserves battery life and makes it very difficult for thieves to shut it down.
SIM-Card-Change Notification: If stolen and a different (unauthorized) SIM card inserted, the phone can lock, activate siren, and send you notification (to remote device) of the phone’s new number and geo-location.
Trusted SIM Cards List: Establish a ‘white list’ of approved SIM cards that can be used in the phone without triggering a theft alert. You can also easily clear the trusted SIM cards list, to leave the one present in the phone as the only trusted one.
Remote Settings Change: A setup wizard guides the user through the installation process on rooted phones by either writing directly or by generating an update file. No command-line knowledge is necessary to install Anti-Theft rooted. Also supports upgrading the app.
Anti-Theft SMS Remote Features
Remote Siren: Option to sound a loud siren, which returns always to maximum volume if thieves try to silence. This siren sound can also be customized (e.g. record own siren sound or select siren sound from file).
Remote Lock: To protect your data, phone can be locked remotely and then cannot be accessed again without entering the password specified by the user.
Lock Phone Settings Access: Enables remote locking of the phone’s App Manager and/or phone settings.
Remote Display: Remotely send a customized message to locked or non-locked phone display (e.g. with a reward for its return).
Remote Locate: Remotely locate phone via GPS, WiFi, or mobile network – for maximum accuracy. Can locate either once or continuously (GPS can be auto-enabled on all rooted phones or non-rooted phones from Android 1.6 to 2.2).
Remote Memory Wipe: Remotely trigger a full, permanent wipe of all phone data (e.g. contacts, call log, SMS/MMS, browser history, apps, email accounts), including reliable, physical wipe of all memory cards from Android 2.2 on (limited functionality on older versions).
Remote Calling: Remotely have the phone call you elsewhere with screen blackened, so that thieves cannot see it. This way you can listen to the phone’s surroundings.
Remote Forwarding: Remotely activate/deactivate option to forward or copy call data and/or SMS messages to another device. Call data goes to remote device, but not the call itself. SMS messages, however, are forwarded in their entirety (“CC” copies also to original device).
Remote “Lost” Notification: Remotely send a “Lost” command to trigger same actions as SIM card change (e.g. phone lock, siren, or USB lock). “Found” command deactivates “Lost” command.
Remote SMS Sending: Remotely trigger phone to send an SMS to another phone. That way, if you forget the phone somewhere, you can reply nonetheless to incoming calls or SMS messages.
Remote History: Query the call log, contacts, and SMS messages remotely (with each forwarded as a separate SMS message, but able to be filtered).
Remote Restart: Reboot the phone by SMS command, which will lock the phone by asking for the SIM’s PIN code. (Works only on rooted phones.)
Low Battery Notification: Phone is able to send low battery notification to a secondary device.
Remote Settings Change: All of the Anti-Theft settings can be changed remotely.
To receive full protection by the app your phone should be rooted: the build-in firewall only works with rooted phones, and the Anti-Theft module will only be hard reset proof also on a rooted phone. We all know the discussions why to root and why not, personally I will not advise anybody to do such. It will weaken your phone’s build-in security mechanism, violates the warranty and there is also the risk of bricking the device.
Personally I’m also opinion that serious (security orientated) companies like avast! shouldn’t suggest/advise their customers to root their device, regrettably avast! factually does. OTOH the application will only be able to show it’s full potential on a rooted phone, keep in mind that a mobile OS has it’s limitations hence a security program can only protect the customer in the best imaginable way when the phone is rooted. Summarizing there’s a contradiction that can’t be solved in a satisfying way.
Before installing the app please consider the cons and pros of rooting, these are mentioned before. Consider also that the app (of course) also can be installed on non-rooted devices but such will limit the possibilities of the app. If your phone is already rooted there is nothing to consider, install the app and enjoy it’s great possibilities and very good protection against malware, hackers, infected URLs and thieves.
Is straight forward, download/install the app from Android Market. After installing you are able to download/install the Ant-Theft module. During install the app will request several times Superuser permissions, please grant all these requests. Anti-Theft module will also demand to allow downloading from unknown sources, you must enable this option in your phone. Don’t worry about all mentioned/demanded settings, during install the app and Anti-Theft module will do all the necessary concerning phone settings and permissions, just grant all requests and you have nothing to care about at all.
Are clear, structure is well organized and leaves no room for misunderstandings. Main menu of the Mobile Security suite contains chapters Virus Scanner, Privacy Adviser, Application Management, Web Shield, SMS and Call Filter, Firewall, and finally access to the Anti-Theft module. At the moment you access this module for the first time setup is peace of cake, the module will point out demanded settings, after completing you are done.
Is the best part of the Security suite, and highly sophisticated. It can lock and send notification to remote device of the phone’s new number and geo-location when there’s a SIM-Card change. App Disguiser and Stealth Mode to make the module invisible to thieves. Remotely phone control by sending SMS commands, the list of possible commands is huge. They can lock the device, erase content, activating a siren, aso aso, to much to mention. An automatic weekly check of the module is possible, the check can also be done manually. An issue of criticism: avast! should offer (e.g. on their site) a survey of all possible remote SMS commands, at the moment such is not available.
Malware Detection Rates
Around 79% (PCSL Mobility Security Product Test and Certificate For Android April 2012). Anti-virus can be updated automatically or manually.
Device Battery Impact
No notable battery impact: very low power consumption.
Free. Despite the fact the Suited passed beta stage and is now Final, accordingly to the vendor they currently don’t plan to charge customers for it at all. It’s amazing this free product provides several useful and important features not offered by similar products of the competition, paid products included.
The Security Suite works flawlessly on my non-rooted as well rooted smartphone (SGS+), nevertheless the verdict must be separated into two parts: one part concerning the software installed on non-rooted phones, the other part on rooted devices.
Part 1: non-rooted phones.
On an ascendent rating scale of 1 to 5 I rate it with a 4. Reasons: no firewall, and Anti-Theft module not exercising it’s full potential (anti-theft hard reset protection). Hence on non-rooted phones I partially recommend avast! Mobile Security for Android, nevertheless the app offers decent protection.
Part 2: rooted devices.
On an ascendent rating scale of 1 to 5, I rate it with a 4,5. An excellent Security Suite with tons of possibilities, everything is working just fine. An also very reliable Suite with a top-notch Anti-Theft module. I can recommend this Suite unconditionally to everybody with an already rooted Android device, despite the moderate malware detection rates to me it’s without any doubt the Best Android Security Suite there is. The overall exceptional good impression of the software on rooted phones and results of my tests is reason to provide avast! Mobile Security for Android phones on rooted phones with the Smokey’s 2011/2012 Choice Award.
- at the moment no web interface, vendor informed me this will change in the beginning of 2012.
- avast! Mobile Security on Google play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.avast.android.mobilesecurity
- avast! Anti-Theft SMS commands overview: http://www.avast.com/en-us/free-mobile-security#commands
- avast! Mobile Security vendor site: http://www.avast.com/free-mobile-security
- avast! Support Forum: http://forum.avast.com/index.php?board=49.0
- PCSL Mobility Security Product Test and Certificate For Android April 2012: http://www.pcsecuritylabs.net/document/report/PCSL_Mobility_Security_Product_Test_and_Certificate_For_Android_201204_English.pdf
QR code Google play Avast! Mobile Security:
QR code avast! Anti-Theft SMS commands overview:
2011-12-25: review supplemented.
2011-12-26: recommendations added.
2011-12-28: app beta status removed because in the meanwhile the Suite is now Final.
2011-12-28: vendor contacted me to discuss parts of the review. Vendor had some valid points hence I adjusted the review concerning these points. This is also the reason I adjusted the rating for the Suite on non-roooted phones: was a 3 on a rating scale from 1 -5, is now a 4.
2011-12-30: link to Anti-Theft SMS commands overview added.
2012-03-11: QR codes added.
2012-30-04: applied Malware Detection Rates from PCSL Mobility Security Product Test and Certificate for Android April 2012.
2012-05-01: Malware Detection Rates from PCSL Mobility Security Product Test and Certificate For Android April 2012 are reason to adjust the score for rooted devices, was a 5, is now a 4,5
2012-08-11: New major version avast! Mobile Security / Anti-Theft released, v2 in development stage: http://smokeys.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/new-major-version-of-the-avast-mobile-security-anti-theft-released-v2-in-development-stage-2/
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