With Android threats popping up faster than weeds in the springtime, it's probably a good idea to recommend a strong security tool to mobile-device buyers. One particularly tough customer is Avast! Mobile Security, a free virus and security app by Avast Software.
The Avast installation process requires the host device to go against Android's default setting and permit downloads from non-Android Market sources. Ironic perhaps for a security tool, but necessary so it can receive updates to threat and virus definitions. After downloading the latest updates, the app scans for viruses and if none are found, presents a settings screen where further scans can be performed.
A scan by the Privacy Advisor found dozens of possible threats on our test device -- a seven-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab 2. We were aware of most of those access holes because the offending apps were granted permission when installed. Nevertheless, it's a good idea to take stock of such potential vulnerabilities from time to time, and Avast! provides a central way to do it. And for rooted phones, Avast can add a firewall.
Avast! also protects against infected URLs with real-time alerts, and an anti-theft component can remotely lock, wipe or track GPS or audio or activate a siren through SMS commands. Once configured, Avast! Mobile Security can disguise itself or become invisible to help avoid deactivation.