December 03, 2010, 10:37 AM — You back up data on your computer in case it crashes, and you might install LoJack on your car to help recover it in case someone steals it--so why shouldn't you protect your Android phone? Most people carry a lot of sensitive data on their phones. If someone steals your handset or if you happen to lose it, all that personal information is suddenly not so personal anymore. Your phone is an investment, so you should safeguard your contacts, photos, texts, videos, and music.
Even if you never lose your phone, certain downloadable apps can easily access and distribute your information. Not all the apps you find are 100% honest about what they do. Recently an SMS Trojan horse posing as a media player began infecting Android phones on Russian networks. Once the victim installed the malicious app, it began sending text messages to premium numbers, leaving the user with a huge phone bill. And in October, yet another spyware app reared its ugly head, forwarding all of the victim's text messages to a designated phone number without their knowledge.
Thankfully the Android Market offers a variety of security options--some better than others, and all with different features. Here are some of our favorite apps for securing an Android phone.
(You can find the full reviews for the apps listed here, as well as other apps we've reviewed, in our Android App Guide.)
Lookout Mobile Security (Free; Premium version available)
Our favorite app of the bunch, Lookout Mobile Security should be one of your first stops on the Android Market after you buy a new Android phone. Lookout accounts come in two flavors, free and premium. A free account lets you scan your phone for malware, back up and restore your data online, and use GPS to locate your phone should it ever get lost or stolen. Lookout has even been in the news for helping someone recover a stolen phone.