PROS / Works on widest variety of devices. Option to add parental controls and monitoring.
CONS / License is applicable to only one device.
VERDICT / Among the most versatile and effective mobile security software programs we’ve found.
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SMobile Security Shield is an all-inclusive mobile security software package that is available with two distinct feature sets, depending on the user’s requirements. The base program includes anti-theft and identity protection along with the expected shields against all sorts of malware. The other offers all of those features plus extensive parental controls and monitoring capabilities. There’s no price difference for either configuration. Its comprehensive security features combined with industry leading security control functionality has earned it top marks for overall excellence in mobile security software.
SMobile Security Shield, by default, always runs in the background protecting the mobile device from viruses and other malware programs that can damage or destroy data or make it accessible to unauthorized users. In addition to this real time scanning protection, users can schedule scans to be run periodically or on demand. The mobile device’s built-in memory is protected as is supplemental memory, such as a MicroSD card, if used. Users can also specify scans of the entire device or limit them to specified files. Another handy option allows the program to scan any memory card that is added automatically upon installation. There’s a VirusGuard menu which provides access to scan, virus and monitor logs as well as most recent scan and update information. The mobile security software includes firewall protection on which sensitivity can be adjusted.
SMobile Security Shield even protects the mobile device in the event of theft or loss. If the legitimate user believes that the smartphone could be in the hands of an unauthorized party, the owner can lock the device or wipe all data from it from any remote location that has internet access. Fortunately, data can also be backed up prior to removing it. Providing GPS is activated, the program can be used to locate the device.
For users who choose the parental controls and monitoring option, the ability to monitor just about all activity on a child’s smartphone is available from an internet enabled computer. This includes the rather typical functions like viewing emails and text messages as well as alerts in the event that specified keywords are used. The child’s address book is visible as is a list of all applications installed on the phone. A rather unusual but useful feature in protecting kids is that the program can remotely see any photograph that is taken with the phone’s camera and sent by email or text message. This can be particularly valuable in a time when juvenile sexting has become a prominent danger. The GPS locate feature can be used to pinpoint a child’s location on an online map.
Both versions of the mobile security software offer powerful anti-virus programming and an effective firewall to help keep malicious programs off of the phone. Anti-spamming protection allows users to blacklist phone calls and message communication from undesired senders. The manufacturer notes that the anti-spam feature is disabled for platforms running the BlackBerry and Android OSs because they don’t allow third-party anti-spam applications. Data can be backed up and restored for an added degree of security.
The program version that incorporates parental controls has features that serve both to protect kids from people online who may bully or intimidate them as well as more dangerous predators. They also encourage users to avoid inappropriate behavior since they know that their communications can be monitored. Any third party applications that are being used such as games or social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook can also be viewed.
The program does not serve as an internet filter. The program neither prevents the accessing of web pages nor does it monitor URLs that have been accessed.
Beyond being a great source for remote monitoring, the Security Control Dashboard also provides for unusually simple use of the program. Users have multiple options on the mobile device, but owing to its role as parental control programming, the control of many features is rightly left to the dashboard.
In general, required user interaction on the device is minimal with automatic, over-the-air updates of virus definitions and scheduled scans. In the event that a virus is found during a scan, the user is alerted and has the option to simply close the alert box or to delete the infected file by selecting “Viruses.” The user also has access to a list of all viruses on the device. It can display the name of the infection and the location in which it was found.
This product works on just one mobile device, so if you choose to protect more than one phone, you’ll need a copy of the program for each. You can, however, use a single dashboard to monitor all your phones.
Help & Support
Setting up SMobile Security Shield is simple. The program works for Windows Mobile and Symbian based smartphones and is the only program in our review that also is applicable to BlackBerry and Android smartphones. Installation and setup varies slightly dependant on the operating system but the user manual makes the process simple regardless of the OS. Users have the option to update virus definitions automatically or manually at a chosen time.
SMobile Security Shield is effective and easy-to-use mobile security software. It’s unique in that it offers protection to most smartphone operating systems. We also appreciate the distinction made between the security shield version and the one that incorporates extensive child protection functionality.