Kaspersky Mobile Security is advertised as providing all the security you could need for your Android smart phone. It combines traditional computer security -- anti-virus scans and protection from malicious websites -- with protection from online and real-world threats. It works with phones running Android versions 2.2 (Froyo) through 4.1 (Jelly Bean).
Online protection includes an anti-virus component that scans in real time, Web browser protection, and a filter to block unwanted calls and text messages. The "real world" protection features are meant to help in case of a phone's loss or, even more likely, theft -- a fast-growing problem. Although Kaspersky Mobile Security won't prevent a theft, it aims to help recover your phone after the fact. It's got four tools to do so: Device Lock, Locate, Data Wipe, and Mugshot.
The first three tools let users remotely lock, locate or wipe lost or stolen devices. The owner activates these actions on Kaspersky's website, which in turn sends the commands to the phone. Mugshot, like many similar apps for the iPhone, uses the front-facing camera to take a photograph -- with any luck, of the crook who stole your phone. It's also possible to control some features with SMS commands.
Unfortunately, none of the anti-theft functions worked properly on my Samsung Galaxy S. When I logged on to Kaspersky's website and tried to send a command such as "locate," it queued up properly, but never made it to my phone, even after several days. I enlisted help from Kaspersky's support team, but even the experts could not get the anti-theft features to work. It's too bad. If these features worked, Kapersky Mobile Security would be a good all-around and affordable security package for Android phones.
Kaspersky Mobile Security is a comprehensive package that covers many aspects of mobile security, for just $9.95 a year. But try it before you buy it. We couldn't get the anti-theft features to work -- even with help from Kaspersky's support team.Price: $9.95 a year.
- No noticeable difference in battery life with a virus scan running in the background.
- Combines traditional PC security with mobile-specific security.
- App notifies you if the SIM card is replaced, with the new phone number.
- Anti-theft features did not work on a Samsung Galaxy S phone.
- Available only for Android smart phones.