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The best Android security apps

Doubtless you've seen that Android malware is on the rise, and increasingly so. It's never been truer that you need to be careful what you're downloading onto your Android handset. For starters, you can check out our guide to spotting Android scam and malware apps – but it's also important to get some good security software on board your smartphone. And that's exactly what we're looking at here, from our favourite mobile security suites through to password managers and VPN apps.

Avast Mobile Security & Antivirus (free)

This completely free app packs in a ton of security features, like remote wipe, remote lock, app management, safe web browsing, a battery manager, and as an added bonus, an anti-virus engine that received top marks from independent testing labs. It's incredibly lightweight, too.

Bitdefender Mobile Security & Antivirus ($10; £6 per year)

Bitdefender has all the features you'd expect in a top-tier Android security app: On demand scans, automatic scanning of each newly installed app, anti-theft tools, app reputation info, web security, and more. But its laser-focus is on security, eschewing time consuming scans and using a superfast cloud-based method.

While the annual fee may be off putting, it's a third of what other big name companies charge (and note that you get a two week free trial). If you don't want to pay, see the above app.

LastPass Password Mgr Premium ($1; £0.60 per month)

A major overhaul to this powerful password manager means that it now looks as good as it performs. With LastPass, you can access your saved passwords, secure notes, and filled forms from your Android device, and you can also create new ones that will sync to all your devices.

The new version of the app ingeniously melds the password manager with a built-in browser, putting the app's auto-login features at the forefront. Staying safe has never been easier.

Mr. Number-Block calls, texts (free)

Sometimes you just don't want people to bother you, and that's where Mr. Number comes in. With this app, you can block calls and SMS messages from specific people, code prefixes, and whole area codes. It can also help you fight back against intrusive calls and texts with an easy spam reporting system.

Orbot: Proxy with Tor (free)

Tor is probably more famous for providing access to the so-called "Dark Web," but it's also a useful way to connect to the Internet while keeping your actions private. Working with a special browser, Orbot connects you to Tor within seconds. However, I did find that it sometimes takes a few attempts to get online.

Hotspot Shield VPN for Android (free)

The desktop version of this VPN service is excellent, and it also works great on Android. With just a few taps, your traffic is encrypted and routed through the developer's secure servers keeping your activities safe from snoopers.

If you need to check your bank account or any other sensitive information over a public Wi-Fi network, this is the way to go (but preferably, you should always avoid doing so if at all possible).