When we looked at the effectiveness of security apps for Android devices late last year, it concluded that they weren’t much use at finding malware. Most picked up less than 10 percent of malicious files. Zoner was one exception to the dismal report: its 32 percent detection rate and 80 percent installation blocking passed for best at the time. Visit all Security Software reviews.
Zoner now has some strong competition. In the lab, it was able to protect Android test devices from 15 of the 19 malware families our AV-Test threw at it. It also did a fair job of detecting and blocking malware in the remaining four categories, making it one of the better all-round defenders. See also Top ten Android apps.
Once a scan is complete, you get a reassuring green tick and a prominent message ‘status: protected’. Zoner can provide an audit of the permissions granted to currently installed apps (Android app developers want to get their claws into everything; it’s wise to keep checking them) and whether they came direct from the Android Market or were directly downloaded from another site.
We also found it useful to be able to track our missing Android phone using Zoner’s ‘Missing device’ function. Zoner Antivirus Free allows you to take remote control of your handset (with most, this is a paid-for option).
Scanning our tablet took less than 7 seconds, although we needed to tell Zoner to include a scan of the SD card. Our first scan worried us as it told us our tablet was vulnerable. This turned out to be because we hadn’t set up a scheduled scan – rather a melodramatic way to alert us.
By default Zoner scans every app that is installed, files when their content changes – a common malware indicator – sends details of suspect files to the LiveThreat virus lab, and reports any adware that tracks personal details. Phone users will also find the call filter active by default. If you often transfer files from your PC, it will be wise to tick the ‘scan on mount’ option too.
It’s worth clicking through Zoner’s menus. They allow you to make few changes, but offer useful details of why USB debugging mode (for rooting an Android device) could be a security risk – the Lotoor Trojan is specifically listed here. Zoner had no trouble identifying it.