Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Does My Tablet Need Antivirus?

A Reader Writes In With A Good Question…

Q: I think I know what your answer is going to be, but I thought I would confirm. This week I bought a Galaxy Tab tablet and I am wondering if it needs antivirus like a regular computer does. Thanks.
Carol B.

A: Carol,
Congratulations on your new Android tablet computer. Let me answer your question with a question: does your Tab connect to the Internet?

I have stated here before, and will repeat; criminals (aka “hackers”) and hostile governments/orgs have made the Internet a dangerous place to visit, and I recommend that any device which connects to the web have security installed – and that means an “antivirus”.
Tablets and smart phones are not “immune” from “rogue” applications, spyware, etc.. No digital device is.

I do not yet own a tablet, but a quick look in the Galaxy Tab user’s forum suggests an equal split with folks recommending AVG Mobile (free) and Lookout Mobile (free) to their fellow Tab users. (Also, you may want to refer to 15 Mobile Security Tools.)

{note: If you have been using an Android tablet PC, and have an antivirus you’d care to recommend (or, infection story), please share it with us by leaving a Comment. Thanks!}

Something like over 10 million Americans had their identities stolen last year (and the year before) (and the year before) (and the year before). I’m glad you wrote in.

Today’s quote:The world is in a constant conspiracy against the brave. It’s the age-old struggle: the roar of the crowd on the one side, and the voice of your conscience on the other.” ~ Douglas MacArthur

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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September 28, 2011 - Posted by | advice, Android, computers, Internet, mobile | , , , , , ,

16 Comments »

  1. TechPaul,

    It is great that you bringing this to the forefront… I own an Android Tablet and what I am finding is that the cart has been put in front of the horse. These tablets are arriving on the market like wildfire; but, there is very little being made known about security and protection. As you indicated, the internet is a dangerous place and the cybercriminal will take advantage of this. Really does have me concerned… In terms of what protection to go with in terms of software? I do not know.

    Rick

    Comment by Ramblinrick | September 30, 2011 | Reply

    • Rick,
      I think at this point in time, most, if not all, the security product vendors have a “mobile” version. (I am currently testing Norton on my HTC smartphone..) But you’re right — as the number of devices expands, so does hacker interest; and they are well aware that most people do not think phones and tablets (and Apples) need antivirus.
      Even though they do banking…

      A fertile ground for foul play…

      As always, I want to express my appreciation for your support here, and to say I hope all is “groovy” with you and yours!

      Folks,
      You have taken a look at Rick’s website, haven’t you? You should.

      Comment by techpaul | September 30, 2011 | Reply

  2. Thank you for this post! I hadn’t even thought about it, sadly. I do have LookOut on my Android phone, but don’t know a lot about antivirus/protection software for Apple products. Do you know of any that are available for iPad?

    Comment by Samantha | October 3, 2011 | Reply

    • Samantha,
      I am not an expert in things Apple; but, my admittedly limited understanding is that – unless you “jailbreak” your iDevice (in which case, all bets are off) – you can only get apps from the iStore, and I further understand that there are no AV’s available. (And it can be argued that at this moment in time [104/2011] they are not needed.)
      I think VirusBarrier (from Intego) may work on an iPad, and I think AVG may be coming out with an app…

      Again, I am not expert in this area, but I think iPad users can – at this point in time – only really apply the best antivirus of them all -> the one between your ears. Be wary of “phishing”: anything asking for credit card information, personal details (aka “identity”), and trying to vacuum up your Contact list.. etc..

      So.. not much of an answer. Sorry.

      Comment by techpaul | October 4, 2011 | Reply

      • That’s okay. I understand that it seems to not be a big topic right now like antivirus is for computers. I honestly think that one of the best antiviruses is indeed the one between your ears: for awhile I lived on no antivirus and didn’t get many, by just not clicking things you shouldn’t, etc. That was before I found out about Microsoft’s free virus protection however.

        Thank you either way :D

        Comment by Samantha | October 6, 2011 | Reply

        • Samantha,
          It’s more like.. Apple hasn’t “approved” (made available) any AV’s through the App store.

          Their thinking is two-fold: (Um.. my interpretation of it) 1) the sandboxing feature inherent in the iPad makes it virus proof, and 2) there are no known viruses attacking the iPad anyway.

          Oops. Forgot. There’s a third factor. They think by the system being closed (aka you can only get apps through their portal) you won’t have a chance to install any bad actors.
          Which would be true.. if Apple actually vetted the apps that make it into their store/portal/”market” for malicious code.
          (But they vet for compatibility and does-it-work.)

          Comment by techpaul | October 6, 2011 | Reply

  3. Top Google Employee Calls Tablet Antivirus Software Vendors Scammers and Charlatans
    By Animesh Bhatti in Tablet Apps
    November 18th, 2011

    http://www.puretablet.com/top-google-employee-calls-tablet-antivirus-software-vendors-scammers/

    Comment by Ken | December 28, 2011 | Reply

    • Ken,
      If you feel that you do not need AV on your tablet, you are certainly free to go that way. But my preference & policy is to have AV on any Internet-connected device (that has an OS). There are good ones available free for Android devices, and so that is what I will use.
      (Last I checked, none were available for the iPad. Apple is keeping them out of the store, (insisting they aren’t necessary) is the way I hear it.)

      You may find this interesting: http://www.securitynewsdaily.com/infected-smartphone-apps-next-wave-malware-0580/

      [Update: I believe the excellent Lookout now works on iPads and iPhones. https://www.mylookout.com/.]

      Comment by techpaul | December 29, 2011 | Reply

    • Which one do u suggest? I have a galaxy tab. Thanks

      Comment by Anonymous | December 29, 2011 | Reply

      • Sir or Ms,
        As I said in the article, I do not (yet) own a tablet. And as I said in the article, Galaxy Tab owners seem equally split between those who like the AVG, and those who like Lookout.
        I use Lookout on my ‘droid smartphone, and it did not slow it down any. But other than that, all I can offer you is my “general policy” which goes: I don’t care which one you use, just use one (and keep it up-to-date).

        Comment by techpaul | December 29, 2011 | Reply

  4. if looking for a free anti virus for tablet pc i would recommend AVG Mobile . i have a android tablet pc and use it . i also use AVG on my net book and my desktop pc at home and work. it is good . and the price is right-FREE!!

    Comment by Mark Wilson | March 11, 2012 | Reply

    • Mark Wilson,
      I have only one ‘droid device, and I have not yet tried AVG on it. But I know several who are using AVG and like it.
      (I have tried Lookout and DrWeb. And I moved away from AVG on the PC some years ago now.)

      To me, it is a little less important which AV you use, than it is that you use (a reputable) one, and keep it up-to-date.

      Folks, I recently posted an article discussing an independent lab’s testing results of Android AV products, but you can review their results in a PDF. You can get the detailed test report here.

      Comment by techpaul | March 11, 2012 | Reply

  5. I have used AVG Free on my desktop and laptop for many years with no problems. So when I recently bought a tablet I downloaded AVG for Android and it seems to work fine. But with all of these things only time will tell.

    Comment by les bell | April 22, 2012 | Reply

    • les bell,
      Thanks for sharing your “real life” experience. I have not yet tried the mobile version of AVG.

      I do not have a whole lot of experience with “mobile malware”, but what I have seen gibes with what is printed — that most requires a certain User behavior, and if you do not “root” your device, and only download from trusted sources, you greatly reduce your chances of infection.

      That said, I have long said, if it (a device) connects to the Internet, it needs an antivirus. (Recent headlines make that point quite clearly…)

      Comment by techpaul | April 22, 2012 | Reply

  6. sir this i want to know which tablate oc is used for office stuff? i want to know does the normal tablate pc have microsoft office and power point as normal laptop has? could you please recommend which tablate pc would be better for office stuff? i am looking for micromax or karbon.

    Comment by parikshit | October 10, 2012 | Reply

    • parikshit,
      Tablets are for consuming (viewing), not producing. They are not replacements for real PC’s.

      Microsoft Office is not available – yet, that may soon change – for any tablet operating system. But I believe they all have some kind of basic word processor (or, an “app” is available for download), but none have Office (or PowerPoint) though most all are probably capable of opening (viewing) Office documents & slideshows. (Perhaps the Windows 8 tablet PC’s will have Office when they get here..?).
      I would hate to try to produce even the simplest document unless the tablet was propped in a keyboard-equipped docking station.

      I guess, I really cannot “recommend” a tablet for you, except to say you might want to look at the Windows Tablets (Microsoft’s Slate ‘Surface’). Me? I’d look at an ultrabook.

      Comment by techpaul | October 10, 2012 | Reply


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