Security app HotSpot Shield brings its defenses to Android

by Phil Hornshaw

Malware on Google’s Android platform is an ever-increasing problem, but there are solutions. HotSpot Shield is a new Android app that has seen some popularity on the other side of the mobile divide in Apple’s iTunes App Store.

HotSpot Shield is a security app that brings protection from something like 3.5 million malware programs. Security on Android has been a problem since its inception. Because the platform is free and relatively open, it means more freedom for app developers, carriers and users, but it’s also easier for crooks to slip malicious software into safe-looking apps and uploads. When Instagram made the leap to Android, for example, a copycat app used its popularity as a way to disguise devious code.

Last year, we heard that malware on Google Play, the main Android app marketplace, had more than quadrupled. With smartphones becoming more ubiquitous, there are a lot of potential targets. HotSpot Shield helps reduce the risk, partially by encrypting your connection to either a Wi-Fi hotspot or a 3G data connection, and partially by increasing your privacy when you use your device.

HotSpot Shield comes in two versions: a free edition, which carries the baseline protection against about 3.5 million spam, phishing and malware threats, and a paid Elite edition. The subscription version of the app gets you additional protection against about 2.5 million threats, plus notifications when things like spam, malware and phishing scams are blocked.

The Elite version also provides data compression service, meaning it’ll streamline your 3G data feed in order to help keep your usage down. That can help you keep your data fees down on a cellular data plan, where going over on your allowance can result in some heavy fees.

HotSpot Shield is available for free to download on Google Play. The Elite version requires a monthly subscription of $1.99, or at a yearly rate of $19.99.

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