10 best security apps for Android
When you Google Search the term security apps, you get a ton of antivirus and anti-malware app listings. While those do have a use for some people, in general there is actually a whole lot more you can do for your security and privacy aside from installing an antivirus app. Aside from the basics, like having a password lock on your lock screen, disabling the “install from unknown sources” setting, and just using your common sense, there are plenty of apps out there that can help boost your security, privacy, and peace of mind. Here are the best security apps for Android.
App Lock is a free security application and pretty much everyone should have an app like this one. It’s primary function is to lock your applications with a pass code to prevent people from getting in. The obvious use for this would be to lock up your banking app, cloud storage, email, etc, but it’s also good for things like social media. App Lock is dead simple, easy to use, and it works well. It’s also entirely free with no in-app purchases which is just a cherry on the sundae.
Android Device Manager is a built-in anti-theft service that is on practically every Google-enabled Android device. You can access yours anytime by heading to this website. There you can locate your device, wipe it remotely if need be, and reset your lock screen PIN. It’s a simple application to use, although in most cases you’ll be using the web browser. Follow the link earlier in this paragraph to get your devices set up just in case. This server is entirely free, built in to Android, and it’s one that literally every person holding an Android phone should have enabled.
Ghostery is probably one of the best browsers around if you want to know what’s really going on when you visit a website. With this app, you can see who is tracking you and block website trackers if need be. They’re extremely up front about their optional Ghostrank feature and how it earns them money which is, if nothing else, refreshing. It’s a good browser and performs well in most scenarios. It’s about as good as you can get without proper ad-block or Tor.
DuckDuckGo Search has made positive waves among the security and privacy crowd as the best search alternative to sites like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. The search site doesn’t track what you search for like the others do and thus your search habits will remain private and you won’t be tracked. The app has some advertising which isn’t overly bad and it accumulates news from various sources if you’re looking for some current events. It’s free to use although you can just go to the site in your web browser and it works just as well.
[Price: Free / $0.99 per month / $12.00 per year]
LastPass is a password manager that lets you store your passwords, PINs, and other sensitive information in a sort of vault that is then accessible to all of your devices. This is wildly safer than writing down your password somewhere or keeping it somewhere online (like a note taking app). The mobile version is essentially free with the premium version letting you sync to an unlimited number of devices, cross-platform support, and priority support. It also auto-logs you into websites and apps which is a huge help. Don’t forget to get LastPass Authenticator for an added level of security!
NoRoot Firewall is a security app that helps you manage your outgoing Internet connections. It isn’t quite as powerful as a root-enabled firewall, but it does work on IPv4 connections (IPv6, and by extension, LTE, is still a work in progress). You’ll be able to see when apps and services want to access the Internet from your device and you can allow or deny them that access. The app itself is easy enough to use even if the interface is a bit old school and it requires almost no permissions to use. It’s worth a shot if you want more web control.
When it comes to texts and calls, the best solution for security right now is Signal Private Messenger. It uses your regular phone number so there is no login info to remember. If you’re talking to someone or texting with someone who also uses Signal, you can encrypt your communications to the point where no one but you can see and/or hear them. The app uses Material Design, which means it looks good, and supports other features such as group chats. Telegram is also pretty decent if you’re looking for a messenger service, but it doesn’t cover phone calls like Signal.
Most cloud storage services are perfectly safe most of the time, but occasionally you may want to store something you don’t want leaked to the public. Sync by BitTorrent is a service that allows you to set up your devices as cloud storage hosts and then you can send your files to and from them from other devices. Sync encrypts files as they get sent for added security and you know exactly where your file is going: directly to another one of your devices. It calls itself a “direct transfer” app since your data is never stored anywhere near the cloud. It’s definitely worth picking up if you have some files you need to store.
The Tor Project is probably one of the more obvious choices for security and privacy on almost any platform. Unfortunately, their Android apps aren’t as robust as their computer offerings, but they’re slowly getting there. For now, you have access to Orfox which is the Tor browser on Android (still in beta!) and Orbot which is a proxy app that helps other apps use Tor’s technology to remain anonymous. The browser is still under construction and anonymity can’t be guaranteed, but Orbot is definitely a solid app worth grabbing. Click the button below to check out both apps for yourself!
[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
No security apps list would be complete without a VPN and we chose TunnelBear. Its ease of use and accessibility make it great for beginners and novices since we assume experts probably have a more elegant VPN solution anyway. TunnelBear lets you VPN into a variety of countries which effectively hides your IP address from the sites you’re using. VPNs also allow you to use public WiFi with more security and we like the little tunneling bear animations. The free version grants 500MB of browsing free each month. You can also get a $6.99/month subscription for unlimited browsing or pay a flat $49.99 per year for unlimited data. If TunnelBear really isn’t your thing, we have our list of the best VPNs for Android linked up at the bottom of this article.
If we missed any of the best security apps for Android, tell us about them in the comments!
This post was originally published on: Android Authority.