Joining the ranks of countless other paid mobile malware apps, CA Mobile Security does very little to stand out from the crowd. The user interface is not very user friendly, and there is no help menu with which you can learn the ins and outs of the app. CA does offer free technical support if you have any questions, but most people probably won't want to call a help line in order to get a smartphone app up and running. Like most other security apps, CA Mobile Security allows you to set parental controls, backup and restore a device, and scan for malware but in the time I've spent with the app I have noticed several quirks and bugs that set it behind its competition.
When performing a malware scan, you have several options. You can either choose to scan individual files, or you can scan the entire contents of the device. Scanning individual files or folders went off without a hitch, but whenever I would attempt to do a comprehensive scan of the entire device the app would take forever to complete. Attempting to cancel a scan would occasionally lead to the app locking up, leaving me to force close the app from within the phone settings.
Curiously enough, there is also an option to run a "spyware scan", but tapping on this option would immediately throw up text that said my phone was free of spyware. It's not completely clear on how this differs from a regular phone scan, but something tells me that the app isn't doing a second scan for more malware.
The Backup and restore feature is rather straightforward, and was relatively painless. On the other hand, I found no way to adjust the call and SMS blocking filters to block calls or texts from certain numbers. At first I thought that they were only adjustable through CA's Web portal, but after digging through the web interface for a few hours I couldn't find any such feature.
You can use the aforementioned Web interface to remotely lock, wipe, or locate your device if it goes missing. Locking the phone was simple enough, but whenever I would try to locate the device I would get a map of Alaska. I tried this on both Firefox and Chrome, and ended up getting the same result each time.
The web interface does have a few positives: You can view recently received text messages and calls, as well as any photos that have been taken with the phone. Having the ability to remotely backup and restore you device is nice, and really handy for managing your device remotely.
The CA Mobile Security app shows a lot of promise especially when it comes to its stellar remote backup and restore capabilities. However, as it currently stands, it's hard to justify spending $50 on a one year license for a security app that feels a bit half-baked. If you are looking for a mobile security suite, and don't mind paying for a yearly license, I would suggest checking out either Webroot or Trend Micro's mobile offerings instead. As it stands, CA's Mobile Security app needs some more time in the oven before I could really recommend it to anyone.
This story, "CA Mobile Security app: Lots of features, but not many feel finished" was originally published by PCWorld.
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