Security for everyone - Reviewing ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus for Android

Rating:
5 out of 5 stars

ESET is one of the most important players in the global security market, a company that is known for its efficient antivirus software. As mobile devices have boomed in popularity, so have mobile malware threats, which are now increasingly more common, so ESET had to make an entrance on the Android market too. Their security app for Android smartphones and tablets is called ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus, and it promises to protect you against malware threats and phishing websites, and also help you in case your Android smartphone is lost or stolen. We have been using and testing this security app for Android, and now we would like to share our opinions about it, with you, in this review:

What can ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus do for you?

ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus is more than a simple antivirus app for your Android smartphone and other devices. It is a complete security suite, with a lot of different tools that were all designed to protect your mobile Android devices. ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus is available to download and use for free, in the Google Play Store. However, if you want to use all the tools and features it offers, you will have to buy a license from ESET.

Where To Buy

If you are installing the free version of ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus, you are getting these things:

  • Antivirus
  • Real-time scanning
  • Remote Siren
  • GPS localization
  • Tablet support

If you buy a license for the full ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus, you also get access to the following security features and protection tools:

  • Camera photo snapshots
  • Battery alerts
  • SIM card checks
  • Remote Wipe
  • Proactive Anti-Theft
  • Anti-Phishing
  • Custom messages displayed on the device's screen

Pros and cons

Here are some of the most important positive things to consider about ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus:

  • The user interface has a beautiful design, that is easy to use and understand
  • It offers good anti-malware protection
  • The anti-theft protection you get in Google Chrome is excellent
  • The anti-theft features work well
  • The phone calls filter is also great at its job, and it is easy to configure
  • The app locking feature works well

The only negative thing we have seen in ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus is that it cannot filter SMS text messages.

Product Rated
5/5

Verdict

ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus is a security app for Android that we trust to do a good job when it comes to malware that can get on your device from an untrustworthy app, or from a file that you downloaded. We also trust ESET when it comes to the protection it offers against phishing websites, and we like the anti-theft options you get from this app. Considering all these benefits, but also the fact that the annual subscription to this app is reasonable, we are recommending ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus to all our readers who own Android devices. It is an excellent choice, which can offer complete protection on all your Android smartphones and tablets.

Setting up ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus for Android

To test and write this review, we used Motorola Nexus 6 smartphone running on Android 7.1.2 Nougat. Like for any other Android app, to get ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus, you must download it from the Google Play Store.

ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus asks you to walk through a few setup steps. First, you have to tell it what country you live in and the language in which you want to use the app. You can also opt to receive special offers from ESET. We appreciate the fact that this option is disabled by default. After making your choices, you are asked whether you agree to share information with ESET regarding the location of your device and the websites that you visit. If you want to use the Anti-Theft and Anti-Phishing features offered by the app, then you must agree to share this information. ESET assures us that the shared information is confidential and that the company will never share it further with any third-parties.

Then, ESET asks if you want to subscribe to ESET Live Grid. We recommend that you do it because, with its help, the security products developed by ESET can react faster against new threats. Also, at the next step, you can ask ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus to also detect potentially unwanted applications, besides malicious apps. Enabling this option might help you gain a better level of protection against modern-day threats, so our recommendation is to enable this feature too.

On the next step of the initial setup, you have to allow the app access to the device identification information and to reading files from it. These permissions are required by ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus so that it can activate your license and scan the files for malware.

In the end, the app asks you to choose the Google account that you want to be used for registering, after which you must wait for a few moments until the app communicates with ESET's servers.

Once you have gone through all the initial settings, ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus loads its user interface and starts an automatic scan of the device.

ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus is easy to download and install. The initial setup wizard helps you configure the basics of the security app. Also, we appreciate the fact that ESET tells the user that he or she needs to make some additional settings on the device if he or she wants to enable the Anti-Phishing and Anti-Theft features.

Anti-malware protection

As you can see in the screenshot below, the start page of the ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus app acts as a dashboard in which you are getting notifications about the way you can improve your device's security, see what activities have been done recently and also access the security modules available. This dashboard has a lot of information and buttons on it, and it is likely not to fit on a single screen, so you will probably have to scroll to see everything on it.

Maybe you have noticed that on our smartphone, ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus did not have all its features and tools enabled. The ones marked with a green checkmark are active and OK, the blue ones are informative, and what is yellow requires the user's intervention. For instance, on our smartphone, we had to configure the Anti-Phishing protection and block the installations of apps from unknown sources, other than the Play Store. After we finished configuring everything, ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus changed its "attitude" and told us that everything was OK, in a calm green tone.

ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus has two different antivirus scanning modes, it offers you the ability to schedule automatic scans, and it also includes a real-time antivirus scanning engine.

When you open the Antivirus from ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus, you are greeted by a large Scan Device button. By default, tapping this button launches a Smart antivirus scan. However, if you want to, you can also run an In-Depth scan. To configure ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus to do that, you have to use the Scan level setting right beneath Scan Device.

Scanning our Android test smartphone with ESET's antivirus took only 13 seconds when we used the Smart scanning profile, and 26 seconds when using the In-Depth scan. That is fast, and you should note that we got these results on a Nexus 6 smartphone, with 102 apps installed on it (including the default Android apps) and 20 GB used out of the 30 GB available. On your Android devices, if you have fewer apps installed, it is likely that the antivirus scans will be faster than on our smartphone.

One feature that we appreciate in ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus is that it offers you the opportunity to run automatic scans on a schedule, as well as whenever you charge your Android device.

Although both on-demand and scheduled antivirus scans do a good job, they are not enough to offer complete antivirus protection for your Android devices. To be able to say that, you also need a real-time feature and, fortunately, ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus has that covered too. It is enabled by default, and the real-time scanner launches when the system starts and scans all the files you interact with, together with any file you save in the Download folder and all the files from your SD card.

Running antivirus on-demand scans with ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus is easy, and the real-time scanner protects you permanently. We like the fact that ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus can run scheduled antivirus scans. Although it is not a mandatory thing to have, the only thing that is missing is an option to run a custom antivirus scan on a specific folder of our choosing.

Anti-Phishing protection

One of the essential features a security suite for mobile devices must offer is web protection and anti-phishing module. ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus for Android has such a module, and it is called simply Anti-Phishing.

The most popular web browser for Android is the one that is offered by Google by default, Chrome. That is why we chose to use it also for testing the efficiency of the Anti-Phishing protection offered by ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus. We tried to visit a series of websites that have been recently reported as being malicious, but ESET's security app stopped us from loading them every time we tried to. This is an excellent result which proves that ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus is a quality product and its online dangers database is permanently updated.

ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus includes an Anti-Phishing module that offers efficient protection against websites that specialize in phishing scams.

Anti-Theft protection

By default, the Anti-Theft features offered by ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus are turned off. To enable them and be able to do things like locating or wipe the data on your Android device, you have to change a few settings.

If you register an account on my.eset.com, which you can access in any web browser, you can see more details about your Android device's activity. For instance, you can track its location and take camera snapshots, a.k.a mugshots, of the person who found or stole your device. You can also automatically lock your device if suspicious activity is detected, send personalized messages to the one who found or stole your Android device, or wipe all the data on it remotely if you have lost any hope of getting your device back.

For the Anti-Theft module to work correctly, you must also create a security password that you can then use if you need to lock or unlock your Android device. If you also enable the protection against unwanted uninstallation, you must activate ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus as an administrator on your device, so that the app will be able to protect your Android smartphone or tablet if it gets stolen and the thief tries to uninstall the protection on it.

If your smartphone uses a SIM card, ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus can save it as a "Trusted SIM." If that SIM is removed or a different SIM card is inserted into your Android smartphone, it will be locked. You must also tell ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus which of your friends you trust so that the app can alert them via an SMS text message if an unauthorized SIM card is detected in your Android smartphone.

It is good to be prepared for good news also, like when someone finds your lost smartphone and wants to return it to you. For such situations, Anti-Theft also asks you to enter your contact details: name, email address, alternative phone number. With this information, you can be found.

If you also enable the SMS text commands, which are a set of predefined text messages which you can send to your lost or stolen Android device, you can ask ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus to lock your device, lock and play a sound, locate it via GPS, or wipe all your data from that Android device.

The anti-theft features and tools offered by ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus are comprehensive. They work well, and they are going to be useful if you lose your Android smartphone or tablet. Not to mention if someone steals it - in that case, you will be pleased to know that none of your personal information will fall into the wrong hands.

Read the second page of this review to find out about the phone call blocking feature offered by ESET's app, about the security audit module, the app blocking tool and the effect that ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus has on the performance of your Android device.