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Lookout updates its Mobile Security app for Android smartphones

Tue Oct 09 2012, 13:00

The security tab scans all the apps on the Android device in real time. We had 200 apps and scanning them took around two minutes to complete without detecting any threats. However this time will vary depending on the number and types of apps installed on the device. Once the scan is complete, the recent activity box underneath the scan bar will remember each scan and when it was last performed.

look out android security software scan

Though our device was determined as clean by Lookout, penetration tests would have to be done in a more detailed full review to see how well the app discovers new threats.

We should mention, too, that another nice feature is that when starting up your phone or the app, Lookout will let you know whether your device is safe once it knows there is no malware detected by saying "everything is OK" in a small pop-up. Always a nice, reassuring message to see.

As in the last version of the software, Lookout's Mobile Security suite can back up all your data, including contacts, photos and call history. However, the two latter features are for Premium subscribers only. Nevertheless, the app will back up this data automatically on a daily basis unless you tell it not to in the options. This is very handy if your device is lost or stolen and you fear that your data is lost forever.

Another nifty new addition to the updated Lookout software for those who are prone to losing their phones includes Signal Flare, a capability that automatically flags the last location of a phone before the battery dies. This is a great feature if you happen to lose your phone after the battery has died and increases your chances of getting it back. However, if your battery happens to die a good few hours before you lose it, and you have travelled quite a distance with it before doing so, it is a pretty useless function.

look out android security software find device

Signal Flare is part of the Missing Device tab, where you can test the "Scream" feature that can be enabled on Lookout's web client so that if your device is lost, you can make it sound an alarm. Two other features, including remote Lock and Wipe, are available only on the Premium version and, as their names suggest, allow the user to lock and wipe the phone from a remote location.

The final new feature in the updated Lookout software is Safe Dialer for protection against dialler-based attacks. This feature can be enabled in the app's settings and scans every phone number you click to call from your mobile browser, alerting you if dialling the number might connect you with a nasty criminal intending to wipe your phone without your permission.

Lookout Mobile Security is now available to download free of charge from the Google Play store for Android only. Users wanting to take advantage of the Premium version's extra features will have to fork out £19.99 a year, or £1.99 a month so they can use the additional Backup and Missing Device features as well as the Safe Browsing and Advisor tabs.

Safe Browsing simply scans every website you visit in real time to protect users against phishing attempts and online threats, which it will do automatically. It will flag you if it thinks a website you are visiting is unsafe.

Privacy Advisor makes a list of all the apps that access your private information, such as those that use location services to see where you are, those that can access your contacts and those that can read your mobile number and SIM data. This is definitely a great feature for those who are paranoid or just want to know what apps are accessing what on their personal device.

In our opinion, these additional features probably aren't worth the Premium upgrade. The key elements, such as the Security, Back-up and Missing Device functions come bundled in the free version, and from our experience with our brief hands-on, will likely be the parts of the app that you'll use the most. µ


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