Review: Lookout's Free Anti-Virus for BlackBerrys

Lookout's Free Security App May Save Your BlackBerry

BlackBerry devices are known for their security -- in large part because many of them are on a BlackBerry Enterprise Server, and are managed by a knowledgeable BlackBerry administrator. But what if you're a single BlackBerry user, looking to secure your device? Lookout can help.

Lookout is a free anti-virus, remote backup, and security application for BlackBerrys. It is easy to use and helps you secure your BlackBerry data quickly.

Easy to Setup

After you create an account on the Lookout site and install the application on your BlackBerry, setting it up is simple.

When you run the application on your BlackBerry and enter your account credentials, a short setup wizard will describe the security features and enable them. Once the wizard is done, you can choose the Anti-Virus option, and you will be prompted to run a virus scan. Once Lookout determines that your system is virus free, choose the Data Backup option, and all of your personal information will be backed up to the Lookout servers. If your BlackBerry is lost or stolen, you can restore your data to a new device.

Missing Device

Lookout's best security feature is the ability to locate your device from the Lookout website. If you ever misplace your BlackBerry, or if you suspect that it has been stolen, go directly to the Lookout website to locate it. Click on the Missing Device link once you log in, and you will be presented with three options.

Lookout allows you to Locate your BlackBerry, make it Scream, or Nuke it remotely. All of these options require your BlackBerry to be on and have a network connection, so it is best to go directly to the Lookout site when you first notice your BlackBerry is missing.

Locate, Scream, and Nuke

The Locate feature does exactly what it sounds like; it provides you with the approximate location of your BlackBerry.

Once your device has been located, the Lookout site will display the approximate location of the BlackBerry. Once you know where the device is, you can attempt to retrieve it by searching the vicinity, or notify the authorities.

If you have misplaced your device when it is on vibrate or silent, it can be extremely difficult to locate. The Scream function will sound a loud siren on your BlackBerry, no matter what mode it is in, which will allow you to locate your device. The only way to stop the siren is to do a hard reboot on your BlackBerry (remove the battery). This is also a good way to call attention to someone who may have taken your BlackBerry.

While testing this particular feature, we had to restart our BlackBerry (running BlackBerry 6) multiple times to stop the Scream feature. The application does tell you that you need to restart the BlackBerry to stop the alarm, but it should instruct users to do a battery pull because that was the only way we could stop it.

The Nuke feature deletes all of your personal data from the BlackBerry remotely. If you have made every attempt to get your device back, and you have a backup of your data, use the Nuke feature to keep the person who finds (or the person who has stolen) your device from getting a hold of your personal data as well.

If you eventually find your device, you can restore your personal data using Lookout's Backup feature.

Pros, Cons, and Conclusion

Pros

  • Simple to use, free security application
  • The Lookout website is easy to navigate
  • The application has a very easy setup

Cons

  • Instructions to disable Scream on BlackBerry could be more specific
  • Had to perform a battery pull to disable the alarm

Overall, Lookout is excellent for a free application. It would be nice to see some additional features, like the ability to report your device as missing directly to your carrier so that voice services can be disabled. Other than the problem we had with the Scream feature, Lookout performs well and is definitely worth checking out.