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Is Antivirus Software for the Smartphone an Essential App?


Now that the world has shifted to computing on mobile devices, hackers and nefarious folks have redirected their focus to create malware that target smartphones and tablets. The question is: Are malware really that prevalent and destructive in mobile devices, so much so that you need to install an antivirus? Read on to find out.

Of the three most popular operating systems, Android is found to be the most vulnerable to malware due to its open nature (in contrast to the closed systems iOS and Windows Phone, though these two get their fair share of unscrupulous apps, too). Many studies even show that as a mobile OS gains popularity, the number of malware targeting it also increases. On the other hand, the effect of malware in mobile devices is rather limited, given that they need direct user intervention. Apps, be it legit or malicious, are also contained and have limited influence and interaction with other apps. The chance of getting infected isn’t even alarming for users who don’t jailbreak their iDevices or root their Android gadgets.

Mobile antivirus apps, meanwhile, have been designed to combat the existing threats. They offer some degree of protection, but it’s not as robust as what desktop security products deliver. In the hopes of getting users to install them, many antivirus apps have additional features, such as data backup, remote lock, device tracking, and more. But these are just optional goodies that you can simply get from free utility apps.

Going back to the question: do we really need an antivirus app in our smartphones? For now, not really. Most mobile security apps available today only offer an extra layer of protection. The most effective defense against malware is your own self, mainly through constant vigilance and use of your common sense. Downloading apps from trusted sources and reading permissions before installation are enough security measures for most users.

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