F-Secure is one of the longest-established brands in smartphone security and, according to our rigorous investigations, it’s also one of the most effective. F-Secure Mobile Security offers a great combination of protection and usability. See also Top ten Android apps.
F-Secure isn’t currently listed in the Android Market, so you need to go their website to download the version for your handset. There’s no need to enter personal information here, though you will need to set your smartphone to allow the installation of non-Market apps. Visit all Security Software reviews.
Much of F-Secure’s work is cloud-based, with links to the Real-Time Protection Network for anonymous threat reporting. There’s a check for updates before the handset itself is scanned for malware. There’s also plenty of well-written advice about what you need to set up and why – for example, why you might want to set administrator controls. A security code controls access to your device and prevents changes to the parental control settings. See also: Group test: what's the best Android antivirus?
Scanning our Ice Cream Sandwich handset paused whenever the screen was about to go into standby. The scan wasn’t particularly swift, taking about 3 minutes to scan our 1747 files, but it includes by default any removable memory card that’s present. You need to schedule or manually invoke scans after this. We’d have liked a schedule in place by default really.
A particular strength is F-Secure's web content filtering. In fact, we tested the build of F-Secure that includes a Parental Control module. This can be set to child, teen or adult. Chat, webmail, forums, blogs and social networks are allowed in the teen setting. Cults, hate and violence, weapons, drugs and other items are blacklisted but can be allowed, if you choose. When we tried to visit an adult site, we could see the URLs, but clicking the links produced a ‘your parents have blocked access to this type of content’ message. Clicking the ‘images’ option for the same Google search produced some scantily-clad girls, but nothing more.
Specific installed apps can be blocked. There’s a safe contacts and blocked numbers menu available for all users too, together with a history trail.