Android firewall apps will block access to mobile networks and Wi-Fi by IP address only (Linux iptables). I’ve been unable to find an Android firewall app on the Play Store or third-party market that is able to block a bluetooth or GPS connections as well. A downside right now is that Android firewall apps will not allow you to set restrictions on multiple Wi-Fi access points, but they do provide you with additional security and privacy to ensure against data leakage.
Android firewall apps CANNOT block certain apps by specific permissions. You will need an app like PDroid Manager, which allows you to manage privacy settings to do this.
Which Android firewall apps? I decided to test a root and non-root firewall. Visit the Play Store to download and test DroidWall and Mobiwol. DroidWall requires root access while Mobiwol doesn’t. These apps were tested on a Samsung Galaxy S3 running Jelly Bean 4.1.2 with root access and one without. If you use SuperSU, you will need to grant access to DroidWall.
Before you download, install and test these firewalls, it’s important not to run two firewalls at the same time. Always uninstall one before installing the other.
DroidWall – Android Firewall
Now called Android Firewall (has a new developer working on it. You can still pick it up from the Play Store as ‘DroidWall’). This app requires root access (escalated privilege). Download DroidWall – Android Firewall
This firewall as most firewalls use Linux iptables to control app access to mobile network (2G/3G/4G/LTE) and Wi-Fi networks. It is also supported on Android ICS 4.0/Jelly Bean 4.1.x upwards. It also blocks data via the Internet and Wi-Fi by IP address as well as offering the ability to block individual apps. One criticism of firewall apps is that if you block data traffic, the Internet and Wi-Fi symbols still show up as active (unblocked), even though they are clearly not. A minor gripe. Nevertheless it’s a powerful tool, which allows you to create custom firewall scripts (rules). See here for more information.
Mobiwol: NoRoot Firewall
The best aspect of Mobiwol is that it doesn’t require root access. Users can also control individual apps when they are active/not active as well. This allows you to have control of what apps should be kept enabled. Mobiwol uses the VPN Android packaging module to gain access to your apps’s network activities. Download Mobiwol: NoRoot Firewall
Mobiwol has a distinct advantage over Android Firewall – it doesn’t require root and can also block ads. I’ve tested the ad blocking and it does work, which is surprising considering Google recently removed ad blocker apps from Google Play Store.
NOTE: There is a known issue whereby if you are using Android 4.0.4 due to a missing file in the Android OS, prevents the VPN package from successfully opening. It is suggested that users update to Android 4.1, which will resolve this issue.
Final thoughts – mobile firewalls can drain your phone in case you notice your droid device starts leaking battery power! Both the apps mentioned in this post haven’t drained my Galaxy S3 battery as yet in testing though. 🙂
Safe surfing folks!