Malware is becoming a bigger problem for Android smartphone users than ever before. There was a time when malicious apps such as DroidDream and DroidDream light could only affect older Androids and couldn’t affect Gingerbread 2.3. However it’s now been shown that Gingerbread 2.3 does have vulnerabilities that a malicious app can exploit.

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The smartest thing to do is to never install an app you don’t know, and to do a little research about the app and the publisher to make sure they’re on the up and up. An app always tells you what permissions it needs to run, such as using your clock. Take a look at this because there’s no need for a clock app to know who your contacts are. If you think the permissions are a little off then never download the app.

If you’re concerned about what you already have install on your Android smartphone then you need to use one of the free security apps you can find on the Play Store. They scan your phone and let you know if there are any problems. The following apps are five of the best.

Lookout Security and Antivirus

lookoutNot only does Lookout Security scan your phone for problems like malware and spyware, it also checks each app you install so that it won’t cause you problems. This app also backs up information like the contacts and data on your phone and has tools to let you locate your lost or stolen phone.

AVG Anti-Virus Free

avg-logo-version-twoAVG Anti-Virus Free does as good a job protecting your smartphone as it does protecting your computer. It protects it from viruses and malware in real time. The app allows you to scan your phone any time you want, scans new apps as you install them, and has options for backing up your data and locating your phone.

Bitdefender Mobile Security

indexBitdefender works just how the other apps do. It scans your phone for malware and can help you locate your lost or stolen phone. This app makes protecting yourself easier though by showing you a list of the apps that have access to your private data, apps that can connect to the internet, and the apps that can send text messages. Knowing this lets you know which ones you should delete.

Norton Mobile Security Lite

Sprint-Offers-Norton-Mobile-Security-Lite-for-Android-to-Its-Customers-2Norton is a respected security company and their app will detect and remove problems like malware from your phone to stop cyber-criminals stealing your personal information, spam texts to your phone, or even control it completely.

Webroot Mobile Security Basic

indexWebroot provides this free tool to block and remove malicious apps. It also blocks phishing websites and can even block nuisance calls and texts. There are other apps for that but why get separate apps when one can do all the work for you?