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Android: Norton Mobile Security Review

Ever since the first Android trojan virus, there has been an increased interest in security on mobile devices. Norton, a fairly well-known Security company on the PC side has a free Android App in the Google market which is quite popular with over a Million downloads. Being that I need an AV client on my phone, let’s take a closer look and see if it’s worth installing.

Norton Mobile Security includes several groovy features including Anti-Theft, Anti-malware, call blocking, and web protection. Norton says that its software can find your phone when you lose it, lock your phone if you think it’s stolen, and protect you from unwanted calls or texts. It sounds good in theory, but from a free Norton app, is it too good to be true? According to my testing…. yes.

The first screen you see when loading the Norton Mobile Security app shows right away that half of the features advertised won’t be available unless you upgrade to the “Full Version.” The price isn’t listed until you make it through to the Google Play Store subscription page, which reveals it to be $30 annually. About the same price as other Android anti-virus suites. But let’s focus in on the free features, since the app is listed as free after all.

norton features free versions - 2 things

The app has 2 free features, Anti-Theft and an Anti-Malware scanner. After a quick look through the Anti-Theft tool, the only benefit I can find is it allows you to lock your phone via an SMS (text message). That’s all? Seriously Norton‽ Well, that’s just disappointing.

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norton anti theft on free version only lets you lockremote lock only norton android

The other free feature available is the Anti-Malware scanner. Unfortunately it became obvious very quickly that the scanner doesn’t monitor the file structure of your Android phone, but rather just scans what apps you’ve installed. I don’t want to go all-out negative on Norton here, but this feature is completely useless for users who download exclusively from the Google Play market. Google thoroughly scans every app on its market, so there is no need for this type of virus scanner. Although if you download apps from another source it could be useful I suppose.

norton android anti malwarenorton anti malware only scans apps on android

Overall I was not impressed with the Norton Mobile Security suite. Without a paid subscription, the app is rendered near useless and more disappointing is that a paid subscription is only valid for a single Android device. If you want to run it on your tablet or 2nd phone, that’ll be another fee. I found it misleading and with that in mind this app shouldn’t be listed as free anymore than the “free” magazine apps on the Amazon market. Equipped with a full subscription, the app does tend to be pretty useful – but we’ll save that for another round of reviews. With that said, the only thing I can recommend regarding it presently is as follows:

uninstall norton security for android

Norton Mobile Security App Download Page

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5 Responses to Android: Norton Mobile Security Review

  1. Hammad August 10, 2012 at 3:17 am #

    Austin, which security suite for android do you recommend then?

    • Austin Krause August 12, 2012 at 9:00 pm #

      I have a really good recommendation, but it requires you ROOT your device to take full advantage of all features. Review should be coming up for it this week.

  2. JG Network Security August 12, 2012 at 3:38 am #

    Norton just wants Money, even on a PC if you pay, they still want you to pay more for each extra feature, they are out of control, You really don’t need any anti-virus on your phone unless you go downloading apps willy-nilly, as long as you research the apps that you are downloading before you do, you should be ok. If you do download lots of apps, then go for NQ Mobile, Kaspersky, Webroot, or ESET. You should do some research and see who you think devotes the most time to finding Android malware.

    • Steve Krause August 13, 2012 at 11:21 am #

      Agreed… No thanks Norton, there are better options out there for a fraction of the cost. Austin will be writing about those shortly!

      Thanks for the comment!

  3. zwolfe August 17, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    I installed this when I first got my Android in January. After checking it out and finding pretty much the same thing as above, I uninstalled it. I think Symantec is getting carried away, and like someone said, is just after your money, as oppoed to truly being most concerned about security, like they used to be. I don’t think Symatec products in general are worth the price. We run corporate Endpoint 12 here, and I much prefer the free MSSE, which installs alot less painfully and I think does a better job.

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