Tuesday 19 November, 2013
No one in their right mind would start surfing the web on a PC without a security software program in place. But most people don’t realize that as more people use their phones to surf the web, hackers are trying to find ways to install malware on our phones. How worried should you be and what kind of protection should you have?
Android OS Most Vulnerable
First of all, you should know that if you’re using an Android device, you’re at a much higher risk than other users. The most popular mobile OS out there, it’s only natural that it gets attacked the most. In the summer of 2013, the United States Department of Homeland Security said that 79% of mobile malware attacks were on Android devices.
Get the Updates
The most prevalent reason for Android attacks was the users’ failure to upgrade when new versions were released. But this goes for any kind of mobile system. Over time, hackers figure out how to exploit the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of operating systems, software programs and apps. New versions have these weaknesses patched up. This is why you should get an update whenever there is one.
Apps Provide an Entryway
Since every app can have exploitable weaknesses, you should download apps with caution. Read reviews of the app before you download it and make sure that the developer is legit. Delete any apps you’re not using and keep it stripped down to a bare minimum to cut risk.
Don’t jailbreak your phone. Jailbreaking gives you nearly complete control over how your use your phone and eliminates restrictions that are built in. But when you jailbreak, you make your phone much more vulnerable to attacks.
Unknown wireless networks offer another risk. When you sign on to an unknown wireless network, you don’t know who else is there or who is on the other end. In fact, some hackers set up hot spots in order to capture mobile user information.
Just as you would with your PC, avoid downloading software programs or clicking links that are dodgy. Spammers are now targeting mobiles with malware-infested links disguised as official emails or emails from friends. Beware of strange friend requests on Facebook, LINE or Skype because scammers use these apps as well. You can minimize spam emails by setting your privacy settings so that you can’t receive emails from PCs.
Know Your Phone Well
When you first get a phone, play around with its features and understand them well. Turn off any features that aren’t necessary. When you get rid of a phone, make sure it’s wiped clean and that it contains none of your personal data that the next user could access.
Most of all, don’t slip into a false sense of security. By simply being aware that malware can infect mobiles and acting accordingly, you can prevent a lot of bad things from happening.