Little personal computers that you can call your mom on. That’s all smartphones are, really. There’s nothing a PC can do that a smartphone can’t, except get a virus. Right?
Nope. If your PC can get infected, so can your smartphone. Mobile viruses technically started in June of 2000, but Kapersky Labs found the first Trojan that was specifically aimed at Android operating systems during the summer of 2010. (iPhones had experienced two malware attacks the year before.)
The first thing we all learned in Basic Personal Computing 101 was to install an anti-virus program and a firewall, and it’s no different for a smartphone. Thus, to help with mobile security and to keep your smartphone protected, here are three of the best Android firewall apps out there.
1. NoRoot Firewall
Some apps require you to have root access to your phone; as its name suggests, NoRoot Firewall does not.
A word about rooting: if you’re really into the tech aspects of a smartphone, chances are you have rooted yours. Rooting a phone simply means giving yourself root access to your phone – kind of like granting yourself administrator rights on your personal computer – so that you can do things with it that you can’t do right out of the box. If you are interested in learning about rooting, there’s an excellent article here at MTE that explains all about it.
NoRoot creates a mock virtual private network (VPN) for you and you alone and then connects your device to it. What this means is that all traffic you have coming in is through the app, and it protects all your data on its way out.
After your connection has been created, you’ll be notified every time there is something that wants to connect to your phone, and you can allow or deny it. What’s great, too, is that any attempt to connect to your phone is automatically blocked until you let it in. It’s left hanging in a pending tab for you to view and access whenever you want to.
There are filters for you to allow or block certain addresses and ports on the Web, and if you want to see who’s been trying to connect to your phone, NoRoot also has an access log that will display all connection attempts, the IP addresses, and the times and the status (allowed or denied) of all apps. Configure it so that it loads when your phone is turned on; this way you’re protected at all times.
2. LostNet NoRoot Firewall
There is no rooting required for this app.
Like NoRoot Firewall, LostNet NoRoot Firewall creates a mock VPN so that you can monitor and control all Internet access to and from your phone in addition to checking out the details of the information your apps are sending out.
Another neat feature on this app allows you to create different profiles with blocking and acceptance rules for each one as well. It also has other functions such as tracking the countries your phone is connecting to and blocking ad networks.
3. Firewall Gold
Okay, this one requires your phone to be rooted.
Like any good firewall, Firewall Gold watches all connections, both in and out of your network. It also lets you create profiles not just for your phone, but for any of your devices. Rules are easily configurable; you can define and export rules, and you can import rules as well.
Firewall Gold supports both roaming and tethering; another cool feature is that it allows you to create custom scripts, i.e. creating a script for a specific IP address.
Cybercrime is not going away anytime soon, and mobile malware is on the rise. Get ahead of it and install a firewall app. It’ll give you the peace of mind you may not have known you needed and save your data in the process.