App Review: NetQin Security PDF Print E-mail

Years ago, my laptop fell victim to the malicious “I love you” email virus that was doing the rounds at the time. It crippled my machine and, although it happened a good decade or so ago, I am still completely traumatised. 

To this very day, I recoil whenever I receive any declarations of affection via email!

Actually, despite my attempt at humour, there is really nothing funny about viruses, malware and scams. Anyone who has ever completely lost or had a device temporarily incapacitated due to such online security vulnerabilities, will be able to attest as to how serious it can be. Apart from being a major inconvenience, it often also leads to loss of income, documents, other precious data, or identity theft.

Unfortunately, these threats aren’t just limited to our desktops and laptops anymore. While smartphones have conveniently placed the web in the palms of our hands – making it possible for us to access our emails, online banking and social networking on the fly – it has also become a popular target for hackers.

Statistics reveal that cyber attacks on smartphones and tablets have increased by a staggering 150% during the second half of last year, and industry experts reveal that things are bound to get even worse.

While many of the better-known anti-virus software companies are developing and rolling out products especially geared towards smartphone platforms (especially Android, which is reportedly the most attacked platform of all), not much seems to be available to us BlackBerry users yet.

However, as the saying goes: it’s not the quantity that matters, but the quality. I have managed to find the latter in NetQin Security. This mobile anti-virus app for BlackBerry not only scans your device for possible viruses, but also helpfully backs up your contacts and offers an array of anti-lost features.

NetQin uses two different scan engines (one local and one cloud-based) to scan for malicious apps, viruses and spyware on your BlackBerry. The scan takes a couple of minutes to run and you activate it by simply clicking on the Anti-Virus option from the home screen menu. Even though it runs quickly (the cloud scan takes somewhat longer), you can let the scan complete in the background while you access other apps on your device. No need to stare at the screen and wait until it’s done!

Another great feature of this app is its contact backup feature. It will make a copy of all your contacts onto your phone’s SDCard or export everyone in your phone book to the app’s server via your NetQin account (which requires free registration and creating a username and password). Activating this latter feature will allow you to eventually restore your contacts to another device – even one on a different operating system – without a hitch.

In case your phone gets lost or stolen, the Anti-Lost feature will let you protect the data on your device by remotely deleting it, remotely locking it or remotely activating an alarm. In case you simply can’t bear to be without your precious ‘Berry, this feature will also help you to locate your handset. To activate Anti-Lost, you have to come up with a new, numeric password and enter the number of a family member or friend who will then receive the notification text messages in the event of theft.

With NetQin virtually patrolling my BlackBerry, I feel a lot more secure while surfing the mobile web!

This app was reviewed using a BlackBerry Bold 9790, courtesy of BlackBerry South Africa.

Good: It’s free, easy to use and while it conducts the anti-virus scan, you will still be able to use your phone’s other functions.
Bad: I don’t like that you have to come up with a different, numeric password for the Anti-Lock function. We already have to remember so many passwords! Also, for some reason, the Anti-Lost was unable to track my phone’s location during the demo.
Price: Free.

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