Recently released crime figures have brought out the fact that in the first 8 months of 2012, 264 mobile phone thefts were reported to the police every day. Ever-increasing research and availability of new added features, every other day, have turned mobiles into SmartPhones. Thefts have been on the high as these new features attract unwanted attention. Their value in the grey market fetches them a handsome amount: the sole cause of such phones being stolen. Despite their ever-increasing size, many mobile phones are still lost when dropped down the back of a sofa or left in the back of a taxi after a night out.

With a gradual increase in the numbers it’s important that people are able to prevent sensitive personal information falling into the wrong hands. There is definitely a growing need for apps that limit the potential damage that can be caused when a phone is lost or stolen.

Thankfully there is a range of apps which have been developed that make it easier for people to take action if their phone is stolen or goes missing.

I’ve been having a look at some of the best security apps currently available for use with the Samsung Galaxy S3.

1. Kaspersky’s Mobile Security App

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This mobile security package can help you determine the location of your phone and contains a ‘Mugshot’ feature which secretly takes photos of unauthorised users attempting to access your phone. Thieves will unwillingly reveal their identity to you, making it much easier for the police to identify who may have stolen your mobile as well as giving you visual clues to help determine its location.

2. Cerberus Anti Theft App

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Cerberus features an automatic photo capture which will take a picture when an incorrect pin or unlock pattern is entered a set amount of times, and also allows you to wipe your phone’s memory remotely, protecting valuable personal information from being exploited. Cerberus makes it possible to control your mobile remotely through a computer, giving you the power to track its location via Google Maps, record audio and even view the most recent calls made from your mobile.

3. Norton Mobile Security

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Norton Mobile Security will protect your phone from potentially harmful malware and viruses, as well as theft. Alongside the ability to remotely locate your device and take photos from your phone, this anti-virus app automatically scans all the files present on your Smartphone. All apps and app updates that are downloaded by you, in order to ensure smooth operation of your mobile, are removed before they cause any damage to your device.

4. Avast!

This security app features an app disguiser, letting you hide the app under the guise of a new name to prevent a thief from removing the app from your phone altogether. It also features anti-virus scans, a firewall to protect your web access, call filtering and SIM card change notification that will lock your phone. It will automatically set off an alarm and send you a notification of the phone’s new number and location.

5. AVG

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Having its origin from the world of Windows and the PC, this anti-virus is present in two versions, the free app and the premium PRO version. This app is getting better and better, day by day. Its UI has undergone a major change. The first scan though has to be manually initiated by you, after installation. Until and unless you start off this scan, the app will show some red warning indicators.

As soon as the first scan is initiated, the app takes into consideration all the settings and works accordingly. AVG is more than just an anti-virus scanner. Inclusion of a task killer, a battery optimizer, real-time protection from unsafe websites and an anti-theft or phone location service makes it stand apart. The free version is packed with 14 days of access to the PRO features. Features such as an App Locker, which prohibits the launch of an App until the password is entered, and the potentiality to provide a back-up of your apps to your phone’s SD card are also included.

6. Lookout

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This anti-virus is also a free or premium offering whose security features are available for free, but to get a taste of everything, you need to upgrade to the premium account. Starting-up is easy as you need to create an account in lookout.com or just log-in if you have one. Once done, you will come across some screens that will elaborate on the differences between the free and premium versions. Done with all this, the automatic scanning of the existing apps starts and so does the missing device service. Automatic activation of real-time protection for apps installation also starts. The free version allows you to make a back-up of your contacts on lookup.com. A noticeable feature present in the missing device service, coined as Signal Flare, automatically saves your gadgets location before your battery expires.

The premium account is incorporated with features like URL blocking, the privacy advisor, remote lock or wipe and the ability to transfer your pictures and call history to a new gadget using lookout. com.

7. NQ Mobile

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This is a free anti-virus app with options to upgrade to the premium account. Automatic system check-up is performed as soon as the app is installed. Information on the latest virus information together with scanning the installed apps is also done. URL blocking is also incorporated and in real-time protection it is activated.

There are several other online features, like backing-up, for which you require a contact at nq.com. The different portions of the app can be accessed by swiping left and right. This feature makes the UI pleasant to use. The left swipe gives access to the tool’s section which further includes an app manager, a network manager and access to the Internet protection subsystem. The premium account has a lot to offer barring the already included ones. Features like sound an alarm, phone locator, phone lock and wipe are present.

8. Zoner

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After installing the free version of the anti-virus, initial scanning of the device together with the ability to enable phone filtering starts. Once complete, a real-time scanning of all the installed apps gets activated which further displays a warning signal about any settings that need to be re-configured. Presence of a permission checker with a task manager is also incorporated. The anti-virus allows you to send encrypted messages to your close ones. This can only be achieved if they also have the anti-virus installed. The paid version includes Ads detection and the feature to store back-up and restore SMS’s and call logs.

9. Ikarus

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Though it is a new entrant it has the potential to be included. Once the app is installed, it automatically updates its virus database and starts scanning the device. As soon as this is complete the real-time scanning feature gets activated. Per day, per second, per week scheduling of scanning of the apps and data can be set for automation as the anti-virus has a USSD blocker. The entire version has galore features and includes anti-theft and phone tracker features together with SMS message black listing. The only glitch, there is no real time web URL checking or privacy advisor.

10. Bitdefender

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You can download this app and run it, but in the free version you need to log-in either with a Bitdefender account or with your gmail account. Once you cross this barrier you get the eligibility to run a full scan. All the installed apps and the files on the phones storage are scanned automatically after that. The free version includes 14 days of access to the PRO features. The PRO version includes real-time web browsing protection and the anti-theft service. There is an annual fee for the paid version instead of a one-time fee.

Making your phone even more secure

Protecting your mobile from vicious cyber-attacks and preventing your prized possession from falling into the hands of the common criminal may be high on your list of priorities, but you should never forget to protect your smartphone from the rigours of everyday use! Prevent costly damage to your phone by investing in a protective case or covering to keep your phone looking its best.

About the author: Les Yates is Marketing Manager at The Snugg, who sell a range of protective coverings and cases for your smartphone or tablet, including the Galaxy S3 Mini case.