There’s a trend in mobile app design where developers are breaking their apps apart into bite-sized chunks. Some examples: Facebook, Hyperlapse, and others. The free Qihoo 360 Security could probably benefit from a hatchet, since it packs in antivirus, anti-theft, memory cleanup, app locking, a firewall, call and SMS blocking, and more into one app. But despite a very pretty interface, this app feels overstuffed and falters on key features. Go with avast! Mobile Security & Antivirus, our Editors’ Choice for free Android antivirus, instead.
At Home With Qihoo
360 Security is a very pretty app, and the shimmering colors and the semi-transparent text used throughout the app look great. I also appreciate its animated flourishes and futuristic appearance. But looks aren’t everything, and during testing, I was often confused as to what features were or how to use them. Poorly written explanatory text did not help, either.
I was also confused as to why the app created a second shortcut on my Android’s desktop, a notification tray widget, and a desktop widget without warning or explanation. The desktop widget, which shows the percentage of RAM available, and is a shortcut to the app’s memory cleaning tools, can be deactivated, but this feels like bloatware. Also, the purpose of the widget is never explained; I only figured it out during my testing.
Speaking of bloatware, 360 Security comes bundled with the AppBox store, which is a list of curated games and apps on Google Play. Once you tap on this feature, the apps creates a third shortcut on your desktop.
360 Security has a strong malware pedigree, as confirmed by the experts at AV-Test Institute. In the independent lab’s most recent round of testing, it detected 100 percent of the 2,627 malware samples.
During my testing, I found 360 Security to be remarkably speedy. With a dozen apps running in the background, it completed a scan of my in an overage of 15.2 seconds. That’s a smidge slower than Trend Micro Mobile Security & Antivirus, which can scan a phone in about 15 seconds, but slower than the lighting-quick Bitdefender Mobile Security and Antivirus, which only took 3.6 seconds in testing. Every time you perform a malware scan, the app also scans for junk files it can remove and background processes it can shut down to free up more RAM. Despite all this activity, the scans did not interrupt my Minecraft—Pocket Edition game.
Qihoo doesn’t let you scan specific files or locations. And it can’t be configured to ignore apps it flags as malicious and add them to a white list. If you load a lot of arcane software onto your Android and need this feature, I recommend ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus. But 360 Security does apply hot fixes to known vulnerabilities that have yet to be patched on Android.
I used the EICAR app in my testing, along with the Anti Malware Testing Standards Organization tools. These are harmless files designed to set off Android antivirus apps so you can ensure they are working properly. Unfortunately, Qihoo does not collaborate with AMTSO and only responded to a few of its tests. The app swiftly spotted the EICAR app, however, and provided a wealth of information as to why it was malicious. Removing the suspicious app was a snap, taking only a tap. I couldn’t find a way to schedule scans in the app, but it does include some gamification elements that award points for performing scans each week on days you select. I also wasn’t able to find safe browsing tools anywhere in the app.