January 30, 2014
Looking to get my first tablet. Android seems like it fits my budget the best.
I am concerned about 3 things that researching is just giving me a headache over so I trust this community to help.
a) Has there been a consensus yet as to whether a tablet needs internet and antivirus security? I see everything from it just slows things to a crawl to that it is a must have.
b) should it be rooted? what is rooting?
c) on my desktop and laptop, if i screw things up, even royally, a drive format and reinstall of the operating system sets everything straight. On a tablet, there is a "reset" but that does not wipe/format. Is there a way to do a complete reinstall of the jelly bean system? complete blank slate?
a) In my opinion, if a tablet has direct access to the internet, it should be protected by antivirus. The Android market is now huge and, as such, is a prime target for cyber-criminals and malware.
b) Rooting is a method for providing the user with additional access (root access), it's well explained here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rooting_%28Android_OS%29
c) I am certainly not an Android expert but, as far as I am aware, the "reset" option is the only native method. However, rooting the device will also allow for a complete reinstall - (see the article referred to in the link above).
January 30, 2014
Sure, most of the big name antivirus providers have an Android edition available, plus some new names too. Here is a shortlist of some of the most popular free antivirus apps for Android - in no particular order:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.avast.android.mobilesecurity (Note: advanced features require a rooted phone).
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cleanmaster.security (Note: some reports of excessive RAM usage)
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.malwarebytes.antimalware (Note: reports of automatic scans initiating even when this feature is turned off)
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bitdefender.antivirus (Note: reports of excessive nag screens)
I suggest you read through some of the comments associated with each app on the Google Play Store before deciding. One of the critical aspects for these apps is resource usage, watch out for any comments suggesting they are heavy on RAM.
Suggest you also read through the reviews here: http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/best-free-antivirus-app-android.htm
January 30, 2014
Firstly, it's my understanding that, because of its sandboxing technique, Android is not susceptible to viruses. However, that doesn't mean it is not susceptible to other types of malware, such as spyware.
That said, your question is almost impossible to answer definitively, a bit like how long is a piece of string. It all depends on the type of malware and where it has insinuated itself - suggested reading here: http://android.stackexchange.com/questions/6541/can-a-factory-reset-fix-malware-problem
The thing with getting rid of malware and undoing any damage is that it can never be 100% guaranteed. The only sure method is to completely wipe the storage media clean and re-install everything from scratch.
That said; I think you may be overly concerning yourself with the security aspect. The main prevention is actually you. Most malware infections require some sort of user input, or interaction. If more people would remain vigilant and follow common security protocols, there would be a heck of lot less malware infections.
*Check the reputation of each and every app prior to installation, make sure it is a genuine article and not a fake.
*Also check the "permissions" for each and every app prior to installation, avoid overly invasive apps.
*Be careful clicking on links and opening attachments.
*Use strong passwords and different passwords for different accounts.
If you follow these simple protocols and install a simple antivirus solution, you'll be fine.
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