Norton Mobile Security for Android Review
- Snappy malware scan
- Block Call & SMS
- Anti-Theft feature
- Expensive if purchased from the Android Market
In an increasingly unsafe online world, where a record number of Android smartphones are getting registered day in day out, Norton Mobile Security offers a complete suite to keep malware at bay and your phone secure. It has the quickest malware scan feature we've seen on a mobile device. We definitely liked what we saw and if you are apprehensive of the asking price, you should definitely try its free, lighter version - Norton Mobile Security LITE, before you buy the full version.
An antivirus for your PC isn’t anything new, but a security suite for your smartphone is definitely something that most people don’t consider. Here’s one you should: Norton Mobile Security for Android platform, a mobile antivirus suite to secure your phone against malware and other nuisances. It has advanced features like anti-theft and SMS/call blocking, but is it worth the price?
Symantec’s Norton antivirus suite software is popular among desktop security suites, and this current Mobile Security offering aims to provide similar protection on your Android smartphone. Available on the Android Market, Norton Mobile Security’s home screen has five basic menu options: Setup Anti-Theft, Anti-Malware, Call & SMS Blocking, Web Protection and Subscription.
Of these, Call & SMS Blocking and Web Protection are pretty easy to understand. Anti-Theft and Anti-Malware features are the interesting bits. In case your device is lost or stolen, Anti-Theft lets you send a text message with a password you create to locate or lock your phone or wipe its data. Also, your trusted buddies can unlock your phone with a text message. All you have to do is create a password.
With Anti-Malware, Norton Mobile Security lets you schedule scans on your smartphone -- daily, weekly or monthly. Apart from scanning your phone’s OS files you can turn on SD card scanning to thoroughly sweep through the data card for any rogue files. Part of the Anti-Malware module is Norton Community Watch, a voluntary service which allows any Norton product (including Norton Mobile Security) to forward anonymous data to Symantec servers to whitelist the processes and services running on any device. If you’re concerned about your privacy, you can turn this off.
Downloading and installing the software is as easy as it gets -- the installer is just over 1 MB in size. At first launch, you are taken to the software’s home screen. If you’ve used Norton’s PC security suite in the past few years, you can’t help but notice that the Android version of Norton Mobile Security bears close resemblance to its PC version in terms of look and feel -- yellow icons, black background.
All the features are accessible through a single screen, and are simple and easy to use. Click on any feature (for eg. Anti-Malware) to trigger the screen’s left side-scroll and launch subsequent feature-specific screens lying underneath. The interface is available in both landscape and portrait screen modes.
We tried the Android version of Norton Mobile Security on a 1GHz phone running Gingerbread. The anti-malware scan is lightning fast -- 12 seconds flat for the restricted OS files scan (197 files) and 16 seconds in total with SD Card scan added on (2089 files, 3.4 GB used of 8 GB).
The SD Card scan no doubt will take longer depending on the size of the card and complexity of data. But a very good start, nonetheless, and faster than offerings by McAfee and Kaspersky. Scheduled scan works as promised, no problems. The Anti-Theft feature basically involves you setting up a password for your phone and additionally allocating 5 buddy phone numbers as backup.
The feature lets you remotely locate, lock and wipe your phone in case of theft or losing your phone. Just SMS “locate <password>” from your registered buddy phone to locate your phone’s coordinate -- you get a Google Maps link as a reply. From sending the initial SMS to getting a reply, it took under 2 minutes on an average. We turned the GPS off on our test phone and it took about 2 to 3 minutes on an average to get location through SMS. We think this is pretty good for a lead on your lost phone’s whereabouts.
Blocking SMS messages and phone calls is easy to setup. You can either enter the number you want to block by manually punching in the digits or you can select them from your contacts -- the best way, which most of us would do I suppose, is to block numbers through your recent call or SMS log. Nothing like blocking a number immediately after knowing it’s from a telemarketer. Blocked SMSes don’t reach you whereas blocked calls are logged in the software’s list. If you want to whitelist a previously blocked number, you can easily do so.
Web Protection tells you whether a website is safe to visit or fraudulent. Fraudulent sites include phishing sites, malware sites, drive-by download sites and others classified as dangerous by Norton. If you were to visit any such site through Android’s native browser, Norton Mobile Security will throw a pop-up that blocks you from visiting the site.You can, however, manually choose to ignore the warning and arrive at the site’s landing page, but for security reasons this will only be allowed for a time window of 30 minutes. Although this is a good feature, we would have loved for Norton to extend its support to third-party browsers like Opera Mini, Dolphin etc.
In an increasingly unsafe online world, where a record number of Android smartphones are getting registered day in day out, Norton Mobile Security offers a complete suite to keep malware at bay and your phone secure. It has the quickest malware scan feature we’ve seen on a mobile device. We definitely liked what we saw, and while the pricing for the Norton Mobile Security at the Android Market is 30 US$, the Symantec seems to have adopted a more aggressive retail pricing strategy for the Indian market, the same product is priced at Rs 599 in India. This does cause some bit of confusion though, for Android users who are so used to purchasing apps from the market will have to buy the retail version from a store, thus adding a bit of inconvenience as compared to a direct purchase from the market.
Price: Rs. 599
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