360 Security is a free Chinese antivirus and speed-up program for Android, Windows, and Mac. The antivirus covers all the basics with antivirus protection from award-winning antivirus programs, such as Bitdefender and Avira, and it goes a lot further with features like a system optimizer and keylogging protection.
Qihoo 360 Total Security’s popularity is evident: it has been downloaded over 200 million times. But while it’s certainly a great free and feature-rich security suite, it does have a few downfalls.
- What is 360 Security?
- Antivirus and clean-up tools – Do you need both?
- How the clean-up, speed-up tool works
- Other useful features
- Identity theft protection
- Pros and cons
What is 360 Security?
It’s a free security and PC maintenance suite from Chinese developer Qihu 360. On top of its own cloud engine backed up by QVM II, it uses a combination of up to five antivirus engines, including Bitdefender and Avira, to detect and remove viruses and malware from your devices.
Along with its antivirus protection, it also offers clean-up and speed-up tools that are handy for keeping your mobile devices running smoothly.
Antivirus and Clean-up Tools – Do you Need Both?
As a mobile-optimized spin-off of Linux, you may think your Android devices are safe. But Android viruses do exist—and experts recommend using an app that has remote data-wiping capabilities as well as the ability to detect and remove viruses and malware.
Cleanup programs have gotten a bad reputation for being little more than battery-draining junkware. Although not entirely undeserved, many great junk-cleaners do exist.
In fact, they can make all the difference for slow-running devices, particularly those with limited internal storage (like our test device). Using 360 Security’s system optimization utility, we were able to free up nearly a gigabyte of space by getting rid of unnecessary app caches and WhatsApp photos and videos.
The bottom line? It’s best to choose a program with both antivirus protection and clean-up functions, and 360 Security offers both.
How the Clean-Up, Speed-Up Tool Works
The PC maintenance tools that come bundled with 360 Security includes a comprehensive hard drive clean-up module and a speed-up feature that allows users to tweak and remove startup items, Windows and application services, scheduled tasks, browsing histories, unnecessary browser plugins, and some key network settings.
While all of this sounds fantastic for optimizing your mobile device and clearing it of junk, one of the downsides to this tool is that it doesn’t actually show you what it wants to wipe. This makes it hard to know whether its recommendations can be trusted.
Other Useful Features of 360 Security
360 Security contains a wealth of additional tools that keep your Android device safe and running smoothly.
We were particularly impressed by the Wi-Fi scanner, which conducts a full scan of the WiFi network the device is connected to. The tool verified that the connection was encrypted and even showed how many other devices were using the same network.
Here are some other handy features:
- Quick, full and limited custom scans
- Sandbox for test-running programs safely and separately from the operating system
- Cleaner tool that wipes all traces of activity from your browser history, Windows history, and Microsoft Office
- Internet protection, with URL and download filtering
- Webcam-hijack protection
- USB scanning tools
- Online shopping protection
- Built-in Wi-Fi security checks
- Installs security patches for Windows, Office, Java, Adobe Reader, Flash, and other vital apps automatically
- SurfEasy package
A Closer Look at Identity Theft Protection
Strong Wi-Fi Protection
Unsecured public Wi-Fi spots are a significant risk for mobile users—and cybercriminals can set up so-called public WiFi “honeypots” to lure unsuspecting users into conducting online transactions through their networks.
While a VPN is our top recommendation for surfing publicly (included with 360 Security’s premium version and some other paid antivirus programs), a Wi-Fi scanner like the one that comes with 360 Security’s free version is good additional protection to make sure the unsecured network won’t lead to identity theft.
Additionally, 360 Security contains a data shredder which is more common in desktop antivirus programs. Simply clicking the “delete” button doesn’t permanently erase data from the device, though. Data recovery tools mean caches from deleted apps could give your usernames and passwords to a cybercriminal.
Photo and Password Protection
We love the private album feature that allows you to protect your privacy (namely, family and private photos) on your phone. 360 Security also allows you to configure password protection for specific applications—and it works flawlessly alongside security features that you may have already configured on the device.
This tool allows you to lock down access to WhatsApp, the stock Android gallery application, and Facebook messenger. But don’t let this fool you into a false sense of security because if hackers are able to capture your swipe pattern to get into the device, they can also get into these locked apps.
Pros and Cons of 360 Security
We took a look at what makes 360 Security a great choice, but also the parts where the program is lacking. While 360 Total Security may lack the strong detection rates to be your only line of defense, you could install it for secondary protection or just to make use of the bundled tools.
- Includes Bitdefender and Avira engines
- Packed with great features
- System optimization allows users to disable unnecessary startup items, scheduled tasks, app services, and system services
- No need to sign up for an account to use it
- Works alongside other antivirus programs
- Doesn’t require a reboot
- Real-time ransomware protection as well as cloud-based technology that stores your important documents safely
- No data wiping ability
- Several false positives
- Average detection rates
- Heavier on system resources
- Contains ads
- Browser extensions aren’t installed automatically
- Slow scans
- SurfEasy package only has 500MB bandwidth per month
- Limited details about what it catches
- Tools are underpowered
- Limited support
Keep your Android Device Safe with 360 Security
360 Security is one of the best free Android antivirus and speed-up tools we’ve reviewed. And we’ve reviewed quite a few. Although this antivirus program lacks a native remote data wiping utility and has average malware detection rates, it contains more than enough tools to secure your device safely if you’re looking for security protection alone.
If you’re looking for stronger protection from malware though, which is on the rise, you may be better off installing a second free antivirus or splurging on a powerful paid one. If you’re happy just to use it to optimize your phone and take advantage of the handy extra features, then the free 360 Security tool will do just fine.
For more information on features, technical support, and pricing, read our full 360 Total Security review.