A year ago we reviewed a phone security app called Mobile Defense. Right now Mobile Defense is back in closed Beta, making it unavailable for download. Overall I’ve been pleased with it as a security app and I was a little defensive when friends suggested I try out a newer app called Lookout.
The first thing I noticed about Lookout is its anti-virus scan. I have never installed any anti virus apps on my phone before now but I’m open to the idea. Android phones are certainly small personal computers and therefore they are susceptible to security malware and virus attacks. These types of bugs are less common because predators who create these viruses are more likely to target Windows based PCs that are most actively connected to the internet and more likely to hold the type of sensitive information they are after. Just the same I’m grateful for an app that will scan the phone for those attacks. This week’s update now features a privacy advisor in the premium version that will search your apps to see which ones can access your private data. This can further help you monitor the access you give to the applications you are downloading.
The backup options are limited. It allows you to backup contacts, call logs, and pictures. I figure that my contacts are backed up in Gmail and my call logs are available on my cell phone statement. Backing up pictures in case of a lost or stolen phone is appealing but can/will drain the battery depending on the number of pictures you take.
The “missing device” function is the primary reason to use this security app. It is very easy to login to the online application at mylookout.com and track the phone. It first streams the GPRS location based on the cell phone towers and then after a few more seconds brings in the actual GPS location. This process seemed more accurate and faster than Mobile Defense. I was also grateful to see that the phone gives the user no indication that it is being tracked (other than the GPS icon). This is different than Mobile Defense which depends on a text message to activate the tracking service. This will make it easier to find a stolen phone as the thief won’t be notified that you are tracking. That having been said the app does put a notification icon in the status bar ongoing. I had to go into the app settings to disable that notification which would of course tell my phone thief that my phone is protected.
All around I’m impressed with Lookout and will be using it moving forward! If you would like to see more screenshots of the website application or the Android app visit our Facebook page and look for the Lookout picture album.
Jacob S Paulsen