Smartphone security apps were once thought to be a luxury not needed by most mobile users. As smartphone use has continued to grow at a rapid rate so too has the number of mobile viruses. Whether you’re operating an Apple iOS device or the newest Google Android smartphone the download and use of a mobile security app should be a top priority. With dozens of mobile security apps available for each major mobile system we have listed our favorite apps for Android, iOS and Windows phones.

Avast! – Google Android – Top Mobile Security App

Avast! is a free Google Android security app. What is most impressive about the free program is that it doesn’t skip on features despite its no-cost access. For example Avast! offers full anti-virus protection that includes real-time protection, a scan scheduler for added security and SMS scanning.

The Avast! system also provides mobile users with a cool “privacy report” which alerts users to which mobile apps are being used to collect data from their devices. By knowing what information a user is providing to a mobile app a customer can choose whether to ditch an app.

Avast! also includes an awesome anti-theft system that allows users to track their device when stolen, alert users when a SIM card has been changed and even sound a siren to find the phone. The app is operated in stealth mode and is extremely hard to delete or even located on the Android smartphone.

Throw in SMS/MMS control systems for blocking and assigning certain actions to messages based on various parameters and its easy to see why a growing number of users are choosing Avast!

Virus-Barrier – iPhone iOS – Top Mobile Security App

Virus Barrier iOS Virus Scan App

Because of the way the iOS platform is designed apps can not perform real-time scans. To solve that problem Virus Barrier allows users to scan individual files before they are downloaded. For example scan virus.pdf to determine if malware is present.

While Apple has done a good job (so far) of protecting iOS the infected files you store on your phone could later be transferred to your Mac OS X or Windows OS, causing problems for your computer.

Simple choose “open in virus barrier” and let the program scan your file.

This program is uber-simple but at $2.99 why not take the extra step to ultimately protect your computer.

F-Secure Mobile Security – Windows Phone 7 –  Top Mobile Security App

F Secure Mobile App

Much like Avast! this program offers real-time data protection through a virus scan program that is constantly updated to provide full protection. One of my favorite parts of F-Secure Mobile Security is its ability to scan websites for malicious code as they are a constant virus headache.

F-Secure Mobile Security also offers a very competent app scan program which checks for personal data leaks and allows users to determine if the app should be discontinued.

Much like any good mobile security application the program also offers extended stolen device protection including automatic device locking and location based services.

Mobile security apps will continue to increase in prevalence as hackers shift their efforts from PCs and MACs to mobile devices. Are you prepared for attacks against your smartphone?