Friday, 3 May 2013

TrustGo Antivirus and Mobile Security 1.3.3 (for Android)

What separates TrustGo from products like Kaspersky Mobile Security is that it focuses on apps. In the App Manager tab, you'll be presented with a list of popular apps that TrustGo has scanned and certified as safe to use. According to TrustGo, the company scans 400 app marketplaces around the world, and gathers information from users to stay abreast of new Android apps. For users this is a first line of defense against malicious applications.

The My Apps sub tab will give you information on what's installed on your device, but is irritatingly not open by default.

From here, you can uninstall an app in seconds, or report it to TrustGo for unusual behavior. The reporting feature is a bit odd since it requires users to do a bit of investigation on their own, but is certainly useful for TrustGo to keep informed about the app ecosystem.

From the Security screen, you can access Privacy Guard. This breaks down the permissions requested by apps into broad categories, giving you a bird's eye view of what kind of information your apps can access. If TrustGo has flagged an app as insecure or unsafe it will provide more information on the risks presented by the app. Unfortunately, Android does not provide granular permissions control, requiring users to either take the risk or uninstall the app. Tapping on an app in Privacy Guard list allows you to uninstall it, and also indicates whether the app has been certified by TrustGo.

Note that not all suspicious apps will be flagged in Privacy Guard, only apps which TrustGo believes could expose your personal information.

Scanning and Impact on the User
Even the scans carried out by TrustGo's Security Scanner are focused on apps, though it will run through every available file on your phone as soon as you tap the scan option from the homescreen. Kaspersky Mobile Security, on the other hand, gives you the option of a targeted folder, app-only, or full system scan as well as other options.

Like other security apps, TrustGo scans new apps as their installed for potential threats. According the app's developers, the app can identify potential threats even in apps the company has never seen before thanks to heuristic scans performed on the device.

It took TrustGo an average of 62.4 seconds to scan 238 apps and other assorted files while a dozen other apps were running. This was well behind the much faster Bitdefender, but still fast enough to where it wouldn't impact the user.

Version 1.3.2 of TrustGo introduced significant changes to the anti-malware engine, which caused the app to jump to the top of AV-Test's January 2013 results with a perfect score. This independent testing lab also praised the additional features of the app, giving it a perfect usability score.

With TrustGo installed, there's minimal impact on the user. The phone is still fast and responsive, even with a scan running. I didn't notice any stuttering or lag playing Minecraft on my Samsung Galaxy Note II $299.99 at AT&T while TrustGo was scanning (even with 11 other apps running). With the TrustGo installed, it takes an average of 25.3 seconds to boot up the phone, and only another five seconds after that before the TrustGo logo appears on the top bar.

TrustGo can do SD card scanning and schedules weekly scans by default. I'd like to see scheduled scans made optional by default, however, since performance is critical with mobile devices.

Identifying and Removing Suspicious Apps
To see how TrustGo handled potentially malicious apps, I installed a penetration testing app that is frequently flagged as malware. After I installed the test app, TrustGo popped up a warning which I was pleased to note categorized it as a low threat, and also included information about the app. Most security apps do not provide information about why they flag the apps that they do. However, enough time had elapsed that I could have easily opened the suspicious app before TrustGo's warning appeared.

From this warning you could uninstall the app or add it to my list of ignored apps. Once ignored, TrustGo will not include the app in its list of possible threats during a system scan. Tapping delete here, or in the scan results, opens the Android uninstaller and removes the app.

During  testing on the Samsung Galaxy Note II, It had a few instances where the Android uninstaller failed to launch after It tapped delete. It was not able to replicate this issue, but for any security app you should check to make sure the uninstall was successful if you don't see a confirmation screen.

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