Is your smartphone protected from malware?

Is your smartphone protected from malware?

It’s not the first thing you think of when browsing the cell phone specials on your service provider’s website, and it’s probably not something you’d consider purchasing software for after signing up for the latest contract. Smartphone security, protection from malware, and providing a firewall between your smartphone data (and OS) and those with malicious intent hardly cross the minds of smartphone users while they install all the apps they need and start downloading their email and doing their banking on their phones.

This is what you should know about protecting your phone from malware, viruses, and spyware:

How safe are you?

There are people out there whose job it is to create malicious software to harm people’s cell phones, steal their identities and account passwords, and commit fraud. The question then is: should you be accessing sensitive data on your smartphone? Could you be targeted?

What is malware and what does it do?

In the last three to four years, there has been a significant increase in the number of malware attacks on smartphones. From fake phishing sites that collect numbers and passwords for internet banking, to infected apps, spyware, network exploiting, third-party app repositories, worms, and Trojans – your phone can be attacked in many different ways and your information stolen or manipulated for the attacker’s benefit.

Malware could stop or disable your phone, send messages, use data, and access websites on your behalf, as well as steal your information – it’s like PC viruses, except on your smartphone. Malware can be designed to steal bank account details, to launch digital attacks, to destroy phone data, or to lock or “brick” the device and render it useless.

How can you protect yourself?

It seems that more than half of smartphone users are completely unaware of the potential for malware being on their phones. They’ll do their banking on their smartphone, yet do not have any security in place. There are, however, still ways in which you can protect yourself from malicious attacks, such as:

  • Ensure that your operating system is up to date
  • Don’t download dodgy apps from sites you don’t know
  • If you do download apps, always read the customer reviews to get a better idea of what the app experience will be
  • Use complex passwords on all of your accounts (and don’t use the same password)
  • Use a firewall for your phone
  • Don’t leave your wifi and Bluetooth connections open when you’re not using them
  • Don’t jailbreak or root your phone – it makes it more vulnerable to outside attack

Don’t access your banking from a public wifi network – it’s not safe at all!